There are many ways to measure an artist's impact on the industry in which they work. While many methods may be arbitrary, those that are measurable like monetary earnings, chart performance, radio play and polls seem to dominate the dance culture power grid. But sometimes, the most powerful forces are those that we can't measure, those that we might not even have known were there. In the case of Galantis, it's just that: there was a void in dance that we didn't even know was there until Christian Karlsson of Miike Snow and Linus Eklow of Style Of Eye got together to make music.
What they've done in their short time working together as Galantis since late 2012 is to open up a new voice in electronic music, through the melodic intricacy of the Galantis EP release this year. It's a voice that their fellow producers have taken notice to, with artists like Kaskade and The Chainsmokers avidly shouting their fandom early on. What's been so reassuring that this is something that we dance listeners needed is the quick action fans took to show their support for the guys: after a debut performance at Coachella this year, the demand for Galantis's music and live shows is something that we usually only see from artists with veteran, firmly established fan bases who have rare releases and touring schedules. Earlier this month, we chatted with Linus and Christian about their new group and the promise of the fact that this is just the start of the guys' career together, with much more on the horizon.
EARMILK: How did you meet and decide to get together to come up with the concept behind Galantis?
Christian: It grew organically just from being friends. I asked Linus (as Style of Eye) back in 2009 to remix my other band Miike Snow's first single, "Animal." From there, we started to hang out and spend time together in the studio and listen to music. And that's where we started to make some beats, which slowly grew into something that we thought we should really do something with under a name.
EARMILK: How did you come up with the Sea Fox as your icon?
Christian: The Sea Fox – we knew that we had a little bit of an idea of what we wanted the visual to be for our band, but it took a long time to find the right thing. So we collaborated with a digital artist named Mat Maitland, a UK based guy who we worked with a lot until we found the sea fox.
EARMILK Each of you personally had your own respective careers before starting Galantis – as one third of Miike Snow and as Style of Eye. How did you know that you were ready to start on this new project and were ready to totally rebrand yourselves?
Linus: When we were listening to the music that was being released at the time we got together, we felt that there was a big void in songs that we really wanted to hear and that we really wanted to play. That was the platform that we started with when we started making beats together and writing songs. We wanted to try and fill that space up with something else that was great.
EARMILK: Linus, as Style of Eye you were working as a solo artist – was being in a group or duo a new thing for you?
Linus: No I've been in groups before, just nothing that has been quite as focused as this. I've always wanted to do a project like this with someone else, and when I met Chris it felt really organic to make something that would take my attention into this project.
EARMILK: Now working together, are there specific things that each of you brings to the table to your music?
Christian: We both have a lot of tools to bring into the studio from being in this industry for a long time. Of course you fall into the things that you feel that you're good at, but we like to do everything together and not just do what feels comfortable but to really challenge ourselves and bring ourselves into new ways of writing music.
Linus: I think it comes very easy for us to work together and I'm not really sure why, but that's the reason why we are able to make a lot of music. It's never big egos or a lot of competition in the studio, it's more about what's best for the song. And that's easiest to do with someone that you like working with.
EARMILK: How would you describe what you've done so far?
Christian: That question is always so hard to answer. And I don't really like to explain music, even other people's music. I always feel like the explanation feels corny. But I think our music is just a combination of our backgrounds and music that we've been inspired by. Of course there's a big chunk of dance in there, but we really focus a lot on the songwriting. We actually start every song from the song and not from a track (which isn't really the common way to work in this type of music).
EARMILK: What have you learned about each other since working together?
Christian: We're both so weird. Linus: Now we can both be super weird because we know we're freaks.
EARMILK: Has there been a time when you've had to separate yourselves from your previous projects in order to really focus on this new venture?
Christian: It comes naturally. We're in Galantis mode. When we hear music, we go straight into the Galantis thinking and everything goes through a sort of Galantis filter. Linus: And it's about commitment. We know that we want to make the best out of this and the songs that we're making, so we're spending all of our energy on this right now.
EARMILK: Because you have such clear thinking and a vision in what you've done with Galantis so far, it seems that effort is mirroring in the response you're getting from fans. How has that been for you?
Christian: It's been amazing, especially so early. Playing Coachella as our first show 10 days after our first release and having 10,000 people coming to the show and singing along, it's unreal and mind-blowing. It gives us even more fire to continue and keep making better music.
EARMILK: From my perspective, like you said, it's been such a quick and huge response from listeners that says a lot about what you're doing. What else do you have in the works for this year? I mean you just had your first big statement that you've made with your EP release and mini tour. Are you feeling any pressure or just continuing to move forward?
Christian: It's good to have pressure. To me, something that you're going to put your name on as compared to writing for other people or doing something else, this really has the most pressure because this is your name on it for forever. But it's fun. We're in the studio every day, working on an album that we've already got the body worked out.
EARMILK: This might be jumping the gun since your brand is so strong right now as Galantis, but is there anyone you'd dream to collaborate with?
Christian: We are actually getting approached by a lot of people that we are fans of. There will definitely be a lot of collaborations outside of the album. It's amazing to have it happen this early, that people are already hitting us up to make music together. It's cool.