When MTV News caught up with [artist id="1531301"]Axwell[/artist] on Tuesday, he was just waking up after a night behind the decks in Ibiza, Spain. Axwell (born Axel Hedfors) had just a few hours earlier been spinning another epic performance with his fellow Swedish House Mafia cohorts — Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello — at their weekly Monday night “Masquerade Motel” party at Pacha. The trio are house-music rock stars, and that likely helps explain why Axwell looked nothing like someone who had just performed into the morning hours.
The beaming Axwell spoke to us about his new hit single, “Nothing but Love.” The star DJ/producer is lined up to play on Saturday at the Electric Zoo electronic music festival in New York, his first-ever U.S. festival headlining gig. And just days earlier he premiered the accompanying video for “Nothing,” an epic clip that traces the journey of a 21st-century Christ-like character.
“The vocal, it sounds like it’s a Jesus kind of a thing,” Axwell said. “With the whole ‘Whatever you do, turn the other cheek’ and ‘I got nothing but love for you, whatever you do.’ So I was like, ‘I really like this idea,’ and it’s going to be kind of hard to pull off with it not being weird or upsetting. I think the idea is that it’s a bit like how we would be if there was a modern Jesus among us.”
Swedish House Mafia also recently released “Miami 2 Ibiza,” their first single since their smash “One” (which, in one version, fatured Pharrell) dropped earlier this summer. In Axwell’s opinion, the new song is the highest-caliber material Swedish House Mafia has made yet.
“When we play this song in our set, it amazes me, the reaction it gets,” he said. “Yesterday, we played it and the whole club just transformed into one big mass of people jumping at the same time. No track in our set comes close. We just surrender to that track. We feel crazy when we play it.”
Both the instrumental and vocal (featuring bars by British chart-topping rapper Tinie Tempah) versions of the song have leaked online, with the instrumental now officially available on Beatport.com.
Axwell promises fans will hear “Miami 2 Ibiza” during his Electric Zoo set on Randall’s Island, an occasion he was eagerly anticipating. “I feel really hyped about it,” he said. “It’s been such a pleasure to come over to the States and play for you guys because there is so much excitement there. The American crowd, when they want to party, they really party. When they put on their party hat, it’s like, ‘OK, now it’s a dance festival.’ They go f—ing crazy, for real! People just go all in.”
Axwell is performing at the two-day festival alongside Markus Schulz, ATB, Armin van Buuren, Steve Aoki and Dirty South, among others. In the unlikely event that he has some free time, he’s already got his eyes on one set in particular.
“I would love to see Wolfgang Gartner out of the guys that are gonna be there,” Axwell said. “Because I have never seen him play and I think that production-wise he’s really interesting. I think that he’s had a massive year.”