In early 2014, the first single from Galantis, "Smile," didn't just get released; it was shot out of a canon. Fully formed in their taste and style, the duo of seasoned producers Christian Karlsson (Bloodshy) and Linus Eklöw (Style of Eye), premiered their live show at Coachella 2014 and haven't looked back. A flurry of sold-out club dates, festival appearances, and a string of singles ("You," "Runaway (U & I)," "Gold Dust") have built a strong Galantis fanbase beyond the typical dance music crowd, all before the release of their first LP, Pharmacy, releasing next week through Big Beat/Atlantic.
"'Runaway' was the first piece of music from the real Galantis album," Karlsson says. Since it first dropped last fall, the group has put out two more singles, "Gold Dust" and "Peanut Butter Jelly," released in April. "Forever Tonight," the album's first track and a slice of summer electro disco madness, premiered yesterday. "We're super excited to be putting out all these songs we've been working so hard on."
"If feels amazing," echoes Eklöw. "It feels organic, what's happening as well. We can see that when we tour and we see it online that we're reaching more people every day."
Part of Galantis's ability to reach so many people lies in the group's unshakable faith in pop sensibilities. Sing-along verses are wrapped in slickly produced instrumental choruses, un-self-consciously woven together by two masters of the kind of pop music that even the world's elitists can't help but embrace. For critics and industry heads, Karlsson's work with Bloodshy & Avant and his band Miike Snow represented a credible alternative to the overly saccharine, Max Martin-style Swedish pop sound. Eklöw, meanwhile, earned his DJ stripes by releasing tracks as Style of Eye on labels helmed by Derrick Carter, Claude VonStroke and John Dahlbäck. He even released a solo album last fall amid the non-stop touring and recording schedule of Galantis's coming out year.
Still, to Galantis's fans, all of this is as immaterial as the fact that Karlsson co-wrote and co-produced hits like Britney Spears's "Toxic" and Eklöw co-wrote Icona Pop's "I Love It."
"It doesn't really crossover like that," Karlsson says. "People are really quick into something and there are some that dig deeper but even with Miike Snow no one really knew that me and Pontus [Winnberg] had been in the game producing and stuff. It's the same exact thing with Galantis, you know? Some people know a little bit like Miike Snow and Style of Eye but most people like Galantis and that's it."
"We really feel like the fanbase we have now comes for Galantis," adds Eklöw.
A set of remixes for each single were meant to tide over fans hungry for the duo's highly-anticipated full-length, but it also validated the group's prowess as songwriters who could craft melodies that are durable and transferable beyond their original production. Like Kaskade's Grammy-nominated remix of "Smile" the treatment of "Gold Dust" by CRNKN and Hotel Garuda sidesteps the Scanda-flavor of the original and instead throws down a record in the remixers' own musical image. In proving the group's versatility, in some ways, the remixes are as much a part of the Galantis statement to the world as the original tracks themselves.
Surprisingly, "Smile" does not appear on Pharmacy. Even more surprisingly, amid the set of other bold power pop anthems, flush with electro disco flourish, it's hardly missed. It's a bold move that only producers who know the ins and outs of infectious melody better than anybody. Even on the album's more soft-stepping moments like "Dancin' To The Sound Of A Broken Heart" and album closer "Water" there's an attention to sing-along-ready writing. Unlike many of their festival main stage peers, Pharmacy is not stacked with featured vocalists and Top 40 guest stars from. Karlsson describes the album's singers as "people you wouldn't know" from their own networks of friends and colleagues in Sweden rather than artists chosen by A&R teams from far flung label offices.
"We've been in the studio since we started in this industry," Karlsson explains. "We love all parts of songwriting and production and to finally do it with complete freedom... that is amazing. Especially after having all the tools so you know what to do with everything and you know how to mix, you know how to program, you know how to write. We have a lot of amazing friends that do music who we can invite and do collabs with... all these things come together with Galantis."
"Now we're just excited to get it out there to as many people as possible." he adds. "Everything is just growing and it's going really fast—it's amazing."