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As PAPER magazine points out, Swedish House Mafia’s success was both a marker of the outsized impact electronic music had on the popular music landscape of the mid 2010s and undeniable proof that the four-on-the-floor beats plus an inspirational bromide formula the trio perfected was a near-universal crowd pleaser. Songs like “Don’t You Worry Child,” “Save the World” and “One” dominated airwaves and filled booming club speakers from Miami to Ibiza, bringing heaps of fame and money to the three DJ/producers who made up the supergroup. After parting ways in 2013, fans were left wondering what the three members would do next, and whether their tried and true music making method would live on through their respective solo careers.
For Steve Angello, one third of the former group and a producer, remixer, and label owner in his own right, the answer to that question remained just as unclear. After making Wild Youth, a concept album that traced his journey from youthful ambition to adult success (and excess) and deviated from the EDM blueprint he and his crew had popularized, the producer faced a personal crisis as to the next direction he would take.
Having lost himself creatively and no longer making music, Steve Angello returned to his native Sweden after 13 years of living abroad. He says that on a drive one day, he stopped into a local church and sat there for hours, contemplating his inner world and what would become of his life. “I had a huge epiphany and somehow found inner peace,” he says, “something I’d never had before amongst all the fame and money.”
From that moment on, he says, Steve Angello felt free to create music unhindered by the pressure to make dance hits or meet unrelenting charts and sales numbers. The result of that work is the 21-track album HUMAN, split into three parts: Genesis, Inferno and Paradiso. Features from artists like Pusha T and Sam Martin bring the project to life, and the lengthy catalogue gives Steve Angello room to bring a refreshed perspective to the sound he’s so known for.
PAPER MAGAZINE caught up with Steve Angello to chat about what he’s been up to, where he’s headed, and why he’s in a different place now. Read the chat here and see the visuals for “Nothing Scares Me” featuring Sam Martin premiering on PAPER below: