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Icona Pop: How Swede it is
MUSIC Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2013-07-30

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Icona Pop. Photo by Fredrik Etoall


Icona Pop have set the charts on fire with a single called "I Love It" (featuring Charli XCX) that recently went double-platinum. The single was featured on HBO's Girls and was covered by Robin Thicke and Florence and the Machine.

The duo—Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo—both grew up in Stockholm, Sweden, and formed as a music group at a party. In a short amount of time their music is everywhere and heads to Chicago to be heard live and in person.

Windy City Times talked with Aino Jawo shortly before the duo's arrival.

Windy City Times: Charli XCX wanted me to tell you hello!

Aino Jawo: Where did you meet her?

WCT: I interviewed her earlier this week.

AINO JAWO: She's amazing! If you see her again before me, give her a hug and say hi back to her.

WCT: Tell our readers about your history together as Icona Pop. You are both from Sweden?

AINO JAWO: Yes, born and raised in Stockholm. It is amazing how such a small country like Sweden has so many actors, producers, and, musicians all over the world now. When you go over to the States then you get to visit them.

WCT: Where did you meet your partner-in-crime, Caroline Hjelt?

AINO JAWO: We met four and a half years ago. We had a mutual friend and she forced me to come with her to a party. We talked at the party and decided to do something together. That is usually something you say when you are a little bit tipsy but she gave me some sort of energy.

I just decided to call her one day and knew it would shock her that I actually did. She invited me over to her place with a bottle of wine and a computer. We just sat down and we started to write. We actually wrote one song in a couple of hours. We thought about starting a band. It was very simple and very natural. It can be kind of scary to write with new people. It is a very creative process. If it doesn't work it can be very uncomfortable. When it does work then it is pure magic. Now four and a half years later we are still doing the same thing.

WCT: Did you watch the show on MTV Snooki & JWOWW where "I Love It" debuted?

AINO JAWO: I have watched it a little bit but I don't watch TV that much anymore because I never have the time. I have watched it a couple of times and I think they are crazy. The song fits them so well because they do not care!

WCT: Charli said this was just a little song that turned into a big success.

AINO JAWO: It has been an amazing year. Charli is a sweet girl. We actually performed the single together at a club and we just asked her to perform it with us.

WCT: Are you ready for Lollapalooza?

AINO JAWO: I am so excited. There will be so many good people there that I am looking forward to see. That will be the biggest stage we have ever played at. We have a lot of friends coming. I have never been this excited about a festival. I'm scared at the same time!

WCT: You will be at the pre-show called Nelarusky at Metro with such popular acts as Imagine Dragons.

AINO JAWO: We are just honored to be part of the pre-show. I have friends that are playing at Lollapalooza a year ago and that was the coolest thing that could happen and now we are standing on the same stage basically. The pre-show will be a party, which I think will be bananas. The lineup is amazing.

WCT: We want the LGBT community to come out to the pre-show.

AINO JAWO: That would be so cool!

WCT: I listened to your EP Iconic. "Good For You" sounds like a trademark sound for you.

AINO JAWO: Our sound comes from where we grew up. The new album that is coming out in September will really let people hear the journey we have been through. We will have our slower songs but there will be some uptempo punky songs. I think it will be an honest album. You will get to know us.

Definitely, "Good For You" is a part of who we are—and also "Manners" and "Ready For The Weekend."

The Icona Pop sound is very chanty so everyone can sing along. You don't have to be a singer, you can just scream!

WCT: Will you be playing new songs at Lollapalooza?

AINO JAWO: We are not going to play a lot of new songs but definitely some from the new album. There will be guitars and synthesizers. It is going to be great. I am super-excited. You will definitely hear some nice new tracks.

WCT: On the Iconic Tour in the fall are there supporting acts already planned?

AINO JAWO: There is a girl named K. Flay who is awesome. She is cool and you should check her out.

WCT: Do you like being on the road and touring?

AINO JAWO: I love touring. We are going to have a tour bus now. We have done tours in Germany and Sweden of course but in America this will be the first time we have had a proper tour bus. We used to carry everything on our backs! It will be nice to have a cozy tour bus for once with a crew of old friends. It will be great to have people come to see us in small and big places. This is our first headlining tour in America and it feels surreal.

Look for Icona Pop at Nelarusky (a pre-Lollapalooza show benefiting Special Olympics) Wed., July 31, at Metro and at Lollapalooza Friday, Aug. 2.

Details can be found at www.pledgemusic.com/projects/nelarusky and www.lollapalooza.com .


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