When we caught up with Dutch dance-music producer Tiësto just before Winter Music Conference earlier this year, he said he was most excited to see "rock stars of the scene" Swedish House Mafia perform. N.E.R.D mastermind Pharrell Williams recently stopped by MTV News headquarters and used the same words to describe the Mafia gents (house-music stars Sebastian Ingrosso, Axwell and Steve Angello).
"I see those guys as rock stars," Williams said, seemingly affirming the shift in the way dance music is being received by not only major players in hip-hop (French producer David Guetta can certainly attest to this), but popular music in general.
Swedish House Mafia recently signed a record deal with EMI (complete with a hilarious "thank you" video message to the label), a partnership that will bear an upcoming greatest-hits album and DVD documentary. Their first official release, "One" — a part sinister, part euphoric house-music summer anthem — dropped in late June. The song leaked earlier this year with Williams' vocals, titled "One (Your Name)," though when asked at the time, reps for Swedish House Mafia called it an "anonymous bootleg."
"I wanna know your name," Williams coos. "You just killed me/ Could you at least do that?/ I wanna know your name/ Or, better yet, stand there and just do that."
When we spoke with Skateboard P, he gave us some insight into how the song came together more than a year ago and how his vocals were intended for another song, before finding their way onto "One (Your Name)."
"We just kept seeing each other at festivals," Williams said. "We were doing a show and they did this beat that they played in their set, and I was like, 'Man! That beat is crazy!' Finally, he was like, 'Look, just one of these days, can you drop by the studio and just do something?' I played a couple of chords and sang, 'I wanna know your name.' It was really quick and really simple. So those guys just chopped it up and just used it as they did. They are really talented guys."
This week, SHM premiered videos for "One" and "One (Your Name)" online; visually, they are virtually the same. The clip prominently features Teenage Engineering's OP-1 controller/synthesizer, taking the viewer from what would seem to be an ordinary home-studio recording session to an all-out SHM house party, complete with writhing hotties and even a mouse.
With SHM on the verge of crossing over to pop, Williams — who is not featured in the video for "One (Your Name)" — underscored their relevance in music today.
"The rock stars are the dance DJs, because they ultimately know how to go in and make people move by rocking their turntables and their sounds," he said. "We have a huge admiration for that. Music is music, and at the end of the day, if you can do something that moves people, you are necessary!"
Do you think it's just a matter of time before Swedish House Mafia are household names? Let us know in the comments!