Roughly six months ago, the music world was introduced to Galantis, with the release of “Smile.” Their debut single was infused with fresh and unique vibes, yet also felt comfortable and catchy. At that point, no one knew quite what to expect from Linus Eklow and Christian Karlsson, but in the time that followed the buzz surrounding the duo steadily built, culminating in a triumphant Coachella debut.
“We’re in that bubble [in the studio] 24/7 and the first time we actually saw that people were into our music was when we stepped onto the stage of Coachella. Which was 2 weeks after we released our first EP,” Karlsson told Joonbug in a recent interview. “So, of course we were blown away. We were like, ‘This is amazing.’ 12 days after we released our EP. People singing all of our songs. We were stoked.”
It’s a rare feat in the music industry to achieve such instantaneous success, and all signs point to one thing: this is only the beginning. It takes more than a cool name and mascot to reach the top, and it appears these guys have a lot more going for them. The industry buzz is there, but their next big leap is coming in hot. Let’s run down five reasons why Galantis and their trusty seafox are primed to take over:
Karlsson and Eklow have both achieved success in music already, and being veterans brings with it a long line of experiences of what works and what doesn’t. Perhaps most importantly however is that their musical abilities are now finely tuned – a strong foundation to build off of creatively. Karlsson hit it big with Miike Snow and previously produced as one half of Bloodshy & Avant, a project that dates back to 2001. As Bloodshy, Karlsson cut his teeth producing hits for artists like Christina Milian, Rob Thomas, Madonna, Kelis, Kylie Minogue, Jordin Sparks, Jennifer Lopez, Maroon 5, and Britney Spears, including (a little mind-blowingly) the Grammy Award winning “Toxic.” During the same time period, Eklow was building a following with his genre-hopping ways as Style of Eye. Originally producing techno and releasing records through underground heavyweight labels like Dirtybird, Eklow continuously reinvented himself, leading to a pair of recent hits – “Kids” and “After Dark.” In summary, this is not their first rodeo.
Label-mate Kaskade has been their most ardent supporter so far, and having one of the biggest names in dance music go to bat for you exposes millions of people to your sound. Kaskade’s edit of “Smile” proved to be the first springboard for the duo, and he has continued to show the love through social media and even hopped on stage with them during Coachella. Watching the three wrap their arms around each other, jumping up and down, all smiles, was as genuine a moment as you’ll find. If that level of support wasn’t enough, Tiesto has climbed aboard with twoloud to remix “You.” Diplo has supported them on his radio show. Even trap master Brillz has released a remix of the track, bringing Galantis’s sound to his fanbase as well. If this hot start is any indication, their whole EP may be remixed by some of the biggest names come summer.
3. Pop Sensibilities
From “Toxic” to “Paddling Out” to “After Dark,” these guys know how to make a catchy track. That’s half the battle, but what Galantis brings to the table is a little more substance as well. As dance music in its popularized form matures, fans are beginning to tire of “put your fucking hands up” and the similar repetitive lyrics of recent memory. Galantis provides music that feels more like full-fledged songs, not TV-ad jingles with a few words attached. And if you can provoke deeper emotion in your listener, while also throwing down a danceable earworm, you’ll get fans that truly connect with your music and songs that have a longer shelf-life than your average pop-EDM hit.
4. Live Performances
Their Coachella-rocking performance showed that these two have a solid understanding of how to engage a crowd. Knowing full well that most of the early-Galantis-adopters in the crowd would have heard of them through dance music avenues, the set included a smattering of electrohouse to pick the crowd’s energy up just as tension in the tent began to fall. The crowd built over the course of their set, and I'd wager they brought in a lot of previously-uniniated people just walking by due to their sparkling performance alone. They also got people talking by their use of the overheard camera that allowed Galantis to literally give their fans a different perspective of them, frequently gazing up to smile and wave, endearing the two to all in attendance. A tip of the hat is also due to the marketing that took place, as seafox masks were handed out prior to the show – it’s the little things like that which will make you stick out in people’s memories, not to mention the free advertising that took place as the mask-wearing crowd dispersed across the festival grounds. In all, the live performance felt finely-tuned, as if it was their 500th instead of one of their first.
Any professional investor will tell you that a great idea is nothing without timing. If you talk with a lot of EDM fans, they’re clamoring for an evolution in the popular sound. Your ears can only take so much run-of-the-mill big room before it grows stale. On the other hand you have a lot of people who are being exposed to EDM for the first time and need a gentle segueway into the sound. There is currently a void in dance music, a vacuum where a lot of indie-pop-flavored songs can go. If you look around, we’re on the cusp of a natural evolution in popular dance, which is a rise in more subdued, more lyrical tracks. We’ve seen what Avicii has done with a dash of country, Afrojack’s collaboration with Thirty Seconds To Mars, Tiesto’s uber-poppy “Red Lights” and “Wasted.” We watched Disclosure blow up like crazy by dialing back the intensity and shining a spotlight on quality vocals. Galantis provides a satisfying cross between EDM and pop, but most importantly, it doesn’t sound forced or formulaic. They don’t simply add one plus one and get two. Galantis is adding one plus one, throwing some exponents in, dividing by irrational numbers, and getting 46. They’re innovative, they’re exciting, they’re accessible, and they’re exactly what the industry needs at this very moment.
Above all, they’ve made some fantastic music. It’s not hard to envision the success that’s about to follow.
Check out their stellar debut EP below: