Sebastian Ingrosso was born to create music. The Swedish producer’s father founded one of Europe’s first electronic dance-music labels, Loop Records. Ingrosso grew up toying around in his dad’s EDM studio, where at a young age he began producing and DJing; he released his first remix at 16. He has known his Swedish House Mafia partner DJ Steve Angello since he was 7 years old, and after meeting Axwell years later, the three teamed up to “Save the World” one tour at a time. On Dec. 16, SHM completed their most remarkable show as the first DJs to play at Madison Square Garden. As he gets ready to kick off his 2012 Wynn Resorts residency on Dec. 30 at XS, Vegas Seven caught up with the passionate and forward-thinking Ingrosso.
You have some crazy fans. One went so far as to tattoo your face on his arm.
When I saw it I tried to connect with him. I felt like he’s got to meet up with me because he just tattooed my face on his body for the rest of his life. He was from Australia, and it took me a month to track him down. I went to meet up with him and had a drink. He was really cool.
Your fame skyrocketed when SHM released its track “Save the World.” What comes first, Sebastian Ingrosso or SHM?
Sebastian Ingrosso always comes first, I think.
Is it easier to produce by yourself or with the boys?
Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not. But with the boys, it’s three heads. And three heads is sometimes better than one. It’s like when you go have a glass of wine. Sometimes you go with your two girlfriends, sometimes you go with your husband—the wine tastes the same every time. I have fun making music by myself and with the boys. Making music is making music.
You also collaborate and help artists on your label, Refune. Do your artists’ projects become like your own?
Absolutely. I spend a lot of my time personally and in the studio with my artists. I give them everything they want and need. I’m there for them 24/7. That’s why I don’t have 10-15 artists, I have, like, two now and a singer-songwriter girl that I just signed. Their music is so precious for them, and that’s all they have so I need to polish and be by them every day.
Some people who aren’t huge EDM fans don’t respect it the same as an instrument-based genre. What do you say to them?
There are so many people out there who are such talented musicians that can play the piano, guitar, bass guitar, drums, but they can’t make a track.
Some people will be like, “I’m a musician, and I play every instrument,” but it’s like, “Where’s your music then? Where’s your content?” It’s the brain. It’s what your heart is saying, and what your brain and your heart come up with together. Then you make it happen and go out and play it on the dance floor and people go crazy and feel emotions; that’s a genius. You can play guitar and do a guitar solo for five, 10 minutes and you’re a genius, too. But when you’re in the club, you don’t remember that guitar solo, you remember those two songs you were singing along to.
What’s house music about to you?
It’s just another level. The first time I heard house music, it was Daft Punk and I died. It’s crazy. It’s just like, “Wow, what is this feeling I feel in myself right now? This is crazy! Like, I’m feeling free.” You dance because you are feeling free. You’re free to do whatever you want. You party, you scream, you jump, you dress up, you don’t dress up, it doesn’t matter. You’re free.