It’s been a decade since powerhouse Swedes Icona Pop released their debut album, This Is Icona Pop. But Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt have just released their hugely anticipated follow-up, their sophomore record Club Romantech. The multi-platinum duo were catapulted into success with their Charli XCX-featuring single I Love It in 2013, taking them from underground DJ sets to the top of the charts. The dance-pop duo talk to Headliner about meeting in Stockholm, the creation process behind the new record while they were both pregnant in the studio, and the critical messages behind these new bangers.
Jawo and Hjelt attended the same Stockholm music school, but they fittingly met at a party in their city in 2009, forming a close bond and subsequently their musical partnership. They began DJing as a duo across Europe while writing songs together, before the first Icona Pop single debuted in the form of Manners, in 2010, receiving big praise from the UK press.
In their pivotal year of 2012, Icona Pop were working with Swedish producer Patrik Berger (who has helped craft hits with everyone from Robyn to Taylor Swift), who presented them with an early version of I Love It with Charli XCX. Seeing huge potential in the song that the British singer had decided to pass on, Jawo and Hjelt had the idea to take the “cute” sounding demo and give it a rougher, punkier edge.
And the rest is history; riding the heady wave of 2010s EDM, Icona Pop and Charli XCX’s combined attitude-laden chorus, “I crashed my car into the bridge/I don't care, I love it” immediately connected with people across the world, with 10 million sales and one billion global streams to date. The release of their debut album prompted Pitchfork to remark “Like most great party music, the Swedish duo’s euphoria is mixed with a twinge of apocalypse.”