I went to see the Swedish House Mafia documentary, “Leave the World Behind” last night with a dear friend and one of my favorite Bad Kids (thanks for taking me I love you!) I remember the first time I got into SHM was when I was studying abroad in Milan in 2008. Heard “Show Me Love” featuring Robin S. and pretty much lost my shit. Those female vocals, to this day, get me every single time. If you know me, you know EXACTLY what this means:
Stop everything I’m doing, throw one arm up in typical “Andi formation”, bring them down slowly into what I like to call the “arm-spread” motion, which sometimes turns into a point-at-you-for-no-reason move. Then comes the lip-syncing, which typically scares everyone in sight, the one eyebrow raise and then the casual drop to the floor on one knee with mic in hand to help somehow project my terrible singing – no more lip syncing for the high notes, lets just attempt / fail to hit them – is typically my train of thought!
Here, it’s easier for me to just show you:
1. The 'stop-everything-I’m-doing-and-throw-an-arm-up' move.
Anyway, the point here is that SHM has been in my life for a long time, so seeing their documentary was rather exciting for me. I wanted to get a better understanding of what goes on behind-the-scenes for mega DJs like that and what could have been so bad that caused their break-up. I don’t want to give the film away in full but here is the high-level overview:
The festival / show shots were out of this world. Literally, there were points in the movie where I was about to cry due to extreme over-stimuli. I was getting so amped up for festival season the shit-eating grin on my face was permanent during every rave scene. At one point there was a videographer walking about the theatre, I noticed he was filming me just sitting there smiling – getting beyond excited for all that is to come this season. Jeez, just thinking about it here is getting me so excited!
The clips of what was going on in the crowd vs. what was going on behind the deck was outstandingly cool. The vignettes of the build-ups, the drops, the energy was so awesome and powerful. The part that got me actually quite emotional was seeing the different crowds from all over the world when SHM was traveling for One Last Tour. No matter where SHM went, no matter what show they were playing, no matter what stadium or festival-ground, no matter what the audience was like – the overall vibe was still the same. It was simply - we are young, we are living life, this is our one shot to say we did it all, lets have the best time in the world and celebrate all that we have been given. The movie really showed how dance music is a part of us, an emotion, a way of connecting with one another. It was truly powerful to see all different cultures, no matter where in the world, connecting over our love of music and our love of this specific movement and moment in music history. It was simply beautiful to watch.
There was the other part of the movie however, that was much darker and that was the relationship between the three guys. I have always had a crush on Ingrosso, but now I’m seriously am digging him – this guy is HILARIOUS. I was dying laughing at whatever he said and he’s is also super cute. That's besides the point. I always thought SHM was amazing because you felt the love between the guys. You felt their synergy and you got the sense that they were three best friends, having the time of their life and doing what they love most – making music. But the movie turned that perception around pretty quickly. Sure, it was like that in the beginning, but towards the end of their time performing together due to lack of communication, commitment and passion to the group as a whole, the guys lost touch. Seemed as though as time went on, their solo careers became the focus and the group was becoming a memory of the past. Best friends one minute, and hardly speaking the next. It's crazy what fame can do to people and relationships. They basically rose to the top out of nowhere. They were producing music for how long before they got famous and they just didn’t plan for it. They never talked about what came next …
So what I took away from the movie was this: Dance music is a powerful thing. Of course I always knew that from personal experiences, but seeing the worldwide impact really reinforced this concept. It is a universal language of peace, love, unity and respect. But the bigger takeaway for me was, cherish your friendships. Tell those you love most how much they mean to you every day if you can. Remind people that they hold a special place in your heart because one day, it might be too late. Remember what matters at the end of the day, and never leave your friends behind.
Thanks SHM for all the memories, wishing you the best of luck in your personal pursuits, you have changed a lot of our lives for the better.