Back Tracks - Icona Pop

The Swedish chart-smashers on the tracks that shaped their lives.

Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, aka Icona Pop.
© Frederik Etoall

The half-sung, half-shouted anthemic call of 'I Love It' launched Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo – a.k.a. Swedish synth-pop doyens Icona Pop – into the international arena. An unforgettable slice of aural swagger that practically demands listeners to punch the air in support, the song is nevertheless only one facet of the duo’s richly addictive sound.

The two, who met at a party in Stockholm not too many years ago, spent the better part of 2013 touring and popping up at festivals – including a memorably energetic turn at Lollapalooza. In between gigs we grabbed Caroline to talk about the tracks that shaped her life and influenced their sound.

The first track that made me want to make music was… 'Black Or White' by Michael Jackson

"I think it was because such a powerful pop song. Even though I was really young when I first heard it, I really felt what it was all about. I guess at even such an early age I knew that I wanted to be making music, and I can thank Michael Jackson for that.”

The soundtrack to my first romantic fumble was… 'My Heart Will Go On' by Celine Dion

"That song got played a lot at school discos when I was a kid. It would, of course, be a much different song if it were happening now. Actually, I was in Finland a couple of years ago, and they still had that thing at discos where they had a slow dance -- maybe I should go there then!”

My karaoke track of choice is… 'The Thong Song' by Sisqo

“I always do 'The Thong Song' by Sisqo, it’s a classic. I know the words and I know the rhythm, so it’s kind of a safe choice for a karaoke bar. It’s such a fun song, and karaoke is all about having fun.”

My ultimate Friday night anthem is… 'I Wanna Be Your Lover' by La Bionda

“I would like to say 'I Wanna Be Your Lover' by La Bionda. It’s just so good. It might not feel like the most boom-boom-boom party track to get you going, but it really does get you moving. It’s a great one for starting off a big night – you want to build it up and that song is a great place to start.”

My comedown classic is… 'The Killing Moon' by Echo and the Bunneymen

"It’s pretty dark, but I love it, and I think it’s perfect for a Sunday. If I’ve been out all weekend having fun, I want to spend Sundays with my friends. I don’t feel like Sundays are necessarily too dark, but I think Echo and the Bunnymen suit the mood.”

The track I would play to shock my parents is… 'Aenima' album by Tool

“I was listening to a lot of Tool when I was younger, especially the album 'Aenima.' My mum didn’t really appreciate songs with lyrics telling people to ‘fucking die.' She didn’t like it, but she was a good parent. She knew it was important for me to express myself, so she learned to live with it."

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