Steve Angello is easily one of the most iconic DJs, producers and label heads in the electronic space today. For the past three years he has been a staple at Wynn, and has packed XS Nightclub and Encore Beach Club in a way that few can. With his first solo album since the dissolution of Swedish House Mafia imminently being released along with the debut of the album’s first single “Wasted Love,” we thought it fitting to catch up with this iconic maestro before he closes out his Wynn residency Labor Day weekend with an August 30 performance at Encore Beach Club.
Tell me about “Wasted Love,” featuring Dougy from the Temper Traps. It seems built for mainstream radio.
Yes and no. It could be more radio. I get that the label wanted it to be more radio, but I wanted to create a hybrid between where I am and where Temper Traps are. It’s really easy to just work with an artist and just throw them on a big-room dance song and be like, “Yeah, this is the template of how to create a dance song.”
I respect Temper Traps and I respect Dougy as a singer, and I would never put him in a song where I would strip him down of what he’s known for, because I love Temper Trap. It’s a hybrid: It’s dance yet indie, with guitars and strings. The sound build and mix of the song is dynamic, and that makes it different from dance songs. Because if you look at it spectrum-wise, it’s like an indie song, but it has a dance rhythm.
Is that the theme for the album?
The album will be everything. It’s deep—big, small, thick, dark, moody and melancholic.
Is it true you laid down the album in the middle of the Swedish woods?
I just believe in isolation. That’s the way great music has been done since the ’50s, when recording artists were rock artists. They went up to a house somewhere in the middle of the woods and they just came up with something. It took two months to truly create.
Then they went through processes of mixing and adding and changing. But I believe in that process, and that’s how I make music right now. I firmly believe in the old rock way of writing songs and records where they write something and then they tour it. They have separation: “OK, now we make an album. And now we start to tour.”
You’re not just making music, though, but also running a label and managing yourself.
If you just have great people around you, you can manage to do it. It’s hard, but I try to do a lot of stuff on my own. I have great people around me whom I trust to take something and run with it without me having to worry.
And your record label, Size, turned 10 this year.
When I started, first and foremost, it was my goal just to release music in general. But then the further we came into the game, I realized that we could actually do something great here, because we had a great output and we had a great opportunity to introduce music to the world. Several years in, I started to sign more artists and really get into that, and then realized that we were in a position to actually break a young artist.
How do you identify the next big thing?
I have a system where we filter [out] a lot, and we go through everything very carefully. … We have folders for submissions, like, “OK, this is deep house, this is tech house, this is this.” Then we have a massive data bank, and we go in and I sit there—and I can sit for two days and listen to them. Sometimes I go through thousands of submissions.
It’s hard because a lot of people are [still] learning, and a lot of people are copying things that they’re looking up to or are passionate about. It’s just hard to be yourself and create your own sound, but those guys who do, they usually break through the walls.
Follow @SteveAngello on Twitter to find out about Angello’s next moves.