There’s commercial-mainstream dance music, and then there’s dance music that, despite its commercial aims and mainstream appeal, steps outside critical naysaying. Galantis—a.k.a. Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklöw—achieve this by writing, recording and performing music that trades cynicism for open-heartedness.
For instance, the track “Smile” is innocently upbeat, with a pulsing beat and fantastical melody that defies whatever bad mood might be brewing in your anxious brain. “Smile” is made better by its controversial, NSFW music video, which depicts lots of skin as bodies of all colors and sizes caress and smash into one another—but in a joyous, not prurient, way.
“Unconditional love remains a solid ingredient in our music,” Karlsson says. “We just create music as we hear it. If people feel it like we feel it, then we celebrate along with them.”
Fans have been celebrating with Galantis ever since the duo emerged from the EDM scene in 2012. The acclaim has been immediate, and it’s easy to hear why. The thumping, synth-flickering “The Heart That I’m Hearing,” for instance, is a product of Karlsson and Eklöw’s sonic experimentation with recorded human heartbeats. “We worked on the beat of that track for a long time,” Karlsson says. “We insisted on only using different types of heartbeats. One thing led to another, and ‘The Heart That I’m Hearing’ was the end result.”
Indeed, Galantis are experts at mixing organic instrumentation with EDM. Another cut from their self-titled EP released in April, “Help,” begins with beautiful piano chords, followed by a piano interlude mid-song.
“We don’t distinguish between genres,” Karlsson insists. “Linus and I are always blending analog and digital when we make music together. The piano is the third member of Galantis, so of course she’s in there making a statement every time.”
Galantis performs at 7:05 p.m. Sunday on the Huntridge Stage.