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Icona Pop interview

The Swedish duo on fashion, emulating the Spice Girls and not being defined by ‘I Love It'

Best friends Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt, better known as Icona Pop, first burst onto the scene in mid-2012, when the pair’s effervescent dance-pop behemoth ‘I Love It’ became one of the year’s success stories. Following the release of their eagerly awaited ‘This is... Icona Pop’ LP, the Swedish duo speaks to us about fashion, emulating the Spice Girls and not being defined by ‘I Love It’.

It’s been a busy two years for Icona Pop. First there was the ‘Iconic’ EP, then the eponymous Sweden-only debut LP, and now, ‘This is… Icona Pop’. How does it feel to finally have a record out worldwide?
Aino Jawo: It’s nice to finally have our baby out there. For people to actually know a little bit more about Icona Pop the band and not just Icona Pop from ‘I Love It’, I think that’s amazing.

What message would you like fans to take away from your music?

Caroline Hjelt
: We are two regular girls writing about stuff we go through, which are things most people experience as well. I think people can relate to our music that way.
AJ
: You can actually hear messages of empowerment on a lot of our songs. For example, ‘I Love It’ is about bouncing back from heartbreak. We call it the ‘fuck it’ feeling.

Your songs are definitely high on Girl Power. Do you see yourselves as the next Spice Girls?

AJ
: That’s the thing – there are only two spices here! [Laughs]
CH
: I’m happy when people say that because we are two girls who feel really strongly about a lot of things. Especially in the music industry, where it’s a lot of guys; we feel that when we speak people can hear us. With the immense buzz surrounding ‘I Love It’, were you both worried that ‘This is... Icona Pop’ wouldn’t live up to the hype created by that hit single?
AJ: I’m very happy about all the success ‘I Love It’ received, but we are still very fresh and new to the world. We have so much to give and we are very proud of the album. So the answer is no.

Aside from your music, you have also carved out a reputation as fashion icons.
AJ: We always say that different art forms go very well hand in hand. We like to mix things up: a little punk mixed with preppy, feminine or masculine styles. When we are onstage, it’s very important for us to feel like Prince or David Bowie and not feel like, ‘This skirt is not nice.’
CH
: Because people can see [the discomfort]. We need to go out there and feel super strong. That’s the most important thing: clothes with super powers.

‘I Love It’ was featured on ‘Girls’ a while back. If you could have your songs featured on any TV series, which show would it be?
CH
: ‘Cheaters’! Have you seen ‘Cheaters’? That is the worst TV show ever.
AJ
: Okay, I have one more: ‘X-Files’.
CH
: Definitely! Okay, maybe ‘Twin Peaks’ or ‘X-Files’.

The pair’s latest LP, ‘This is... Icona Pop’, is now in stores. www.iconapop.com

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