Icona Pop Talks New Single, Partying, and Rooming with Alicia Vikander
Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, the two halves of Swedish electropop duo Icona Pop, have been making music for nine years, so it's only fitting that they'd finally write a song about each other. "It was about time!" Hjelt said on a visit to InStyle HQ Monday afternoon. "You have to be a little bit weird to hang out as much as we do," Jawo added. The resulting single, "Brightside," is a love letter to the pair's friendship, set against a mellower beat than previous club bangers like "I Love It" and "All Night."
ICYMI, the BFFs talked more about the new release, partying around the world, and their favorite Swedes in the entertainment biz during a live broadcast on our Facebook page. Hit play to watch the full video below, and read on for the full Q&A.
VIDEO: Icona Pop Tells InStyle About Their New Single, Partying, and Rooming with Alicia Vikander
How did you two first meet?
Caroline: We met at a party at my place. Aino was heartbroken.
Aino: One of our mutual friends forced me to go to a party after laying in a bed for two weeks. The first person that I met was Caroline—she opened the door. And we started to talk and found out that we actually went to the same school five years before that, but we didn't really know eachother.
Caroline: We knew of each other.
Aino: Yeah. And then it was like magic.
Caroline: It was love at first sight.
Aino: So we were like, "Hey, we should do something together—we should try to write." That's usually something you say but it doesn't often happen—it's usually the wine talking. But the day after we met up and we started to write and we were like, "Hey, should we start a band?"
Caroline: A very stormy night in Sweden.
Aino: Our two babies were born!
Who chose the name "Icona Pop"?
Caroline: We were looking for a name for a long time. It was stressing us out. We reached out to all of our friends and family, and we couldn't think of any more names. Then my mom went to a dinner with her Italian friends and they were talking about what they do and they said, "Oh, they're going to be the next pop icons." In Italian that's "Icona Pop." So she sent it to us as a suggestion among some others that we didn't like, so thank you, mom!
Aino: She's proud. She's like, "I came up with the name!"
There seems to be a strong contingent of Swedes in the U.S. now. Do you all hang out together?
Caroline: We have so many friends that are just rocking what they do right now, like Tove Lo and Elliphant. Swedish girl power! It's such a small country, but it's a lot of music.
Aino: We're very proud.
Is it true that you used to live with Alicia Vikander, too?
Aino: Yeah! And Tove Lo. We lived with Alicia in a little apartment in London.
Caroline: On Portobello Road.
Aino: The address was really nice but the apartment was horrible. We had rats and we were all sharing a bed.
Caroline: We shared a mattress on this nasty floor and we were sleeping with our winter clothes on because it was so cold and we stole food from the market. It was not fancy at all.
Aino: But it was a very beautiful time. We became such close friends. We saw her doing her stuff; we supported her, and she was supporting us.
Caroline: She'd come in and be like, "Girls, please, can you DJ with headphones? I'm trying to rehearse my lines."
What city has the best nightlife scene?
Aino: New York is amazing. We love New York.
Caroline: We love New York.
Aino: It's our second home.
Caroline: But Paris ...
Aino: Paris is dangerous.
Caroline: We will always have something for Paris; it's so romantic.
Aino: Such messy nights, but in a beautiful way.
Caroline: A lot of wine and just very spontaneous. I start smiling just talking about it.
How was collaborating with Justin Timberlake on "Can't Stop the Feeling!" for the movie Trolls?
Aino: We're huge 'N Sync fans and we're huge Justin Timberlake fans, but when we met him, we felt like we'd been friends forever.
Caroline: We came in and introduced ourselves, and minutes later it felt like we were in the studio with a friend. He's really that awesome.
What's your favorite 'N Sync song?
Aino: There are so many! "Tearin' Up My Heart."
Caroline: And "Dirty Pop."
Aino: Then they became proper men. That was the only boy band I actually liked, except Blackstreet.
Your music has been used in a ton of movies, TV shows, and commercials. What has been your favorite so far?
Caroline: I loved Girls. That was such an epic moment. We were in Sweden at the time, so we were a little bit behind timing-wise when it aired here and we started seeing all of these tweets and things online. We were like, "What's going on? We need to check this out!" We knew of the scene that was going to happen, we just hadn't seen it yet.
Aino: Pitch Perfect had a few songs. Our friend was in that film, so we went to the premiere, and we were sitting and suddenly they started to sing acapella.
Caroline: We were like, "We know this song." It's always so weird when you don't realize, because it's out of context.
Aino: One Direction fans are really intense. They follow you to hotel rooms; they're at the gym. It's their biggest love.
Caroline: They're also so nice. We haven't had any bad experiences with any of them. On the Miley tour, it was girls with buns and bathing suits, then on the One Direction tour, it was girls crying, because they didn't know what to do with themselves.
Aino: It was beautiful, both of them. Marina and the Diamonds was our first experience warming up. She's such an amazing artist. I remember it was a beautiful feeling to see people crying when she performed. She meant so much to her fans.
Listen to "Brightside" above, and buy the single for $2 on the iTunes Store.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.