90min Meets: Axwell /\ Ingrosso Talk 'Crazy' Zlatan Stories, New EP, Europa League Final and More

Chris Deeley

​Axwell /\ Ingrosso are always on the move. In London this week for a flying visit after setting Ultra Music Festival in Miami alight on Saturday, the Swedish DJ duo - two thirds of the much-missed Swedish House Mafia - are gearing up to perform at the opening ceremony of this season's Europa League final at the Friends Arena in their home town of Stockholm. 

Ahead of an unusually intimate show at Kamio on Thursday night,  Axwell and  Sebastian Ingrosso  sat down with 90min this week to chat football, touring - and Zlatan stories.

Ingrosso immediately reveals himself as the more anorak-y presence of the pair, running off a list of teams he follows from 'every league' around Europe - admitting that he's paying a lot of attention to Borussia Dortmund at the moment, and explaining: "For Alexander Isak! He  went from AIK to Dortmund, I'm following him across.

"His sister went to my school - the same age, but in another class. And of course United at the moment, now that Zlatan is there.  We send him some music from time to time; I want to go and see him, I haven't seen him playing for Manchester United."

It's pointed out that the pair could be, essentially, Ibrahimovic's opening act at the Friends Arena when they perform at the Europa League final, with Axwell interjecting: " What's funny about that is that when they asked us to do it, Seb said 'we should do it, because Manchester United will be in the final'! That was like six months ago. Very good prediction."

"It's close now," his partner admits. "They're going to be there, trust me. They're a little bit too good to be in that competition."

Conversation leaps rapidly from one topic to another with Ingrosso in particular bouncing around - his  laid-back, Swede-cool demeanour belying  an active  football brain. He talks about his first match, a derby, recalling: " Yes! It was AIK against Djurgården. Or maybe it was Hammarby...I don't remember the game - but I remember the feeling. It was amazing."

He adds: " When we did Alexandra Palace once in London, I went to the Champions League final - Manchester United vs Barcelona. Barcelona won, it was amazing. Messi was all over the f*cking field, like *mimes buzzing action* at the top of his game. I couldn't even see his legs move, it was so fast. It was crazy."

New single I Love You dropped six weeks ago, with Axwell noting: " It's still growing, but a great response both live and streaming-wise, great response on American radio so we're very happy about that. And we just did a massive show in Miami, which was crazy.

"Now this week in London, it's the opposite. Sometimes it's good to do massive shows but also the little intimate ones, it was fun to interact with our fans here a little bit and do special invites. We're only here for two days, but we're back again in May for the Steel Yard. So we're going small-big-small-big!"

With the new single almost certain to make the setlist for the Europa League final at the Friends Arena, he adds: "For us it's kind of cool, because we've been there before and it's the national arena of Sweden. So coming back before this sick game, and we're hoping that Zlatan will be playing in Sweden for the first time in since he left the national team. It'll be a special day for everybody."

The mention of United's mercurial Swedish striker leads Ingrosso down memory lane, reminiscing: " I saw him in Stockholm once and he's telling me 'give me some music!'  So I give him a USB with music when we had coffee - came back to Sweden after a trip to LA and I had like 80, 90 texts on my phone and it's like what the f*ck? What's going on?

"Then I landed and I saw all the headlines in the Swedish newspapers saying 'Ingrosso behind the victory', and it turns out Zlatan's scored to beat Denmark for the first time in forever [ note: ending a four-match losing streak] and he said in the interview afterwards 'I want to thank Ingrosso for the music we were playing before the match'.

"That's the crazy Zlatan story I CAN tell you...the other crazy Zlatan stories I cannot tell you, I'm so sorry."

Moving reluctantly away from the tantalising prospect of Ibrahimovic-based debauchery, the pair tried to put together a 5-a-side side of fellow DJs, with Ingrosso musing: " Otto Knows is really good at football. Salvatore [Ganacci] too, he actually played..."

"You and me!" Axwell adds. " I think Sebastian is probably better...b ut I can surprise!"

Dutch DJ Sunnery James rounds off the team, while Ingrosso backs Dani Alves and Alexis Sanchez to cross over in the other direction - with an admission that Ibrahimovic may not be 'that talented' musically. 

Axwell quips: "Maybe he can become a DJ then," with Ingrosso chuckling " Or a rapper - he would fit as a rapper, he'd just diss everyone."

There's no time to mentor the United star though, with Axwell walking through a packed schedule over the next few months. "Apart from following up this single, which is going to do its thing for a little bit," he says, "we're going to release an EP of four tracks soon I think, in April somewhere.  Then it's the Europa final, then London, and then...it's the rest of the world. The festival summer starts."

"We're going to Thailand, Tokyo, Chicago," Ingrosso adds. "Then after Japan in May we go back to Europe, then in August go back to Japan again. It sounds crazy, it is crazy, but we still love it."

For more from Chris when he's not writing on 90min, follow him on Twitter at @ThatChris1209

Axwell /\ Ingrosso
Axwell /\ Ingrosso

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