Swedish House Mafia and the EDM Movement

I chose to watch the recently released documentary about Swedish House Mafia. Swedish House Mafia: Leave the World Behind (2014) is a documentary that follows the trio around the world for their final tour as a group. The trio consists of three of the most famous house music producers in the world. Axwell, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso are all superstars in their own right, but when they formed Swedish House Mafia in 2007. In June of 2012 they announced they were going to break up, and that they would do one last worldwide tour before splitting.

The film does more than showcase the lives of these three Swedish superstars. It is a great depiction of how popular electronic dance music has become in the last ten years. There is an electronic dance music movement occurring worldwide and there is no telling of how big it will become. Ten years ago you would have to go to an underground rave club in order to go to a house music concert. Now the same DJs are selling out the biggest venues around the world. It only took a week for Swedish House Mafias One Last Tour so sell a million tickets for fifty worldwide shows.

The beginning of the film talks briefly about why the group is dividing. The main explanation the three would provide is that they have essentially already peaked as a group. As a group they know that they will never be able to be as good as they have been for the past five years. Just like the old saying goes, they would rather quit while they were ahead.

Of course there are other reasons for the group to break up. All three men are married with one young child. They have families that they need to take care of and it is hard to produce music and tour the world every year when you need to be with your family. They explain how when they were younger it was easier because they were single with no attachments and they were free to party and do what pleased them. Now they are grown up and need more personal time.

There is a part of the documentary that shows the group getting together at a house in Australia for five days in order to produce “Don’t You Worry Child”, the track that would eventually be #1 worldwide. They were unable to finish the song during that Australian visit because of their animosity towards each other. Steve Angello would leave the studio randomly and would come back to Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso trying to produce the track. They got mad and ended up leaving Australia without a finished track.

Christian Larson does an excellent job directing and editing the film. I would say that the film is slightly biased in certain ways. Swedish House Mafia deserves all the respect in the world and was a major component of the electronic dance music movement that is taking over the world. Larson also does a great job of showing how each individual of the group had their own downfalls. Although they are three of the biggest superstar DJs in the world, the film shows how they are not perfect and neither is their friendship.

I chose this topic because it is something that I am passionate about. Having been to three Swedish House Mafia concerts in the past three years, I can say that they are the most inspirational music group that I have seen. I was fortunate to be at two of the shows that are featured in this documentary. The show in Madison Square Garden and their final show ever which was at Ultra Music Festival in Miami. It is hard to put words together to explain the experience of seeing them live. For that hour and a half that they are on stage is euphoric.

In order for me to research this topic more I would have to continue to follow the three individuals and how they continue to live their lives. Axwell, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso are all extremely talented house music DJs/Producers and will continue to be successful individually. I will continue to listen to their music as much as possible.

Whether or not you are a fan of electronic dance music of any kind, you can see the impact that the group had on the world through the music they produced. Selling out the world’s most famous venues, DJing in front of thousands and thousands of fans, you understand how much the music means to the people that are there. When watching their concerts in the documentary, you see the love that the world has for these three.

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