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Monday, Oct 20, 2014
Arts & Music

Icona Pop happy to ride ‘I Love It’ wave into Tampa


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When Icona Pop signed on a year ago to play the South By Southwest music festival last March, the Swedish DJ duo was still a relatively unknown act. Clubs and alternative stations played “I Love It,” back when it was just a digital download last autumn.

By the time the song was released by Atlantic Records earlier this year, “I Love It” was racing through the stratosphere and Icona Pop was a must see act in Austin.

It’s easy to see why the song broke the duo. “I Love It” is a catchy, bouncy tune that has a subversive edge to it. “I Crashed My Car Into a Bridge/I Watched It /I Let It Burn/I Don’t Care/I Love It.”

“It’s been amazing watching that song take off,” Caroline Hjelt said. “It’s been incredible.”

It was only four years ago that Hjelt and her co-conspirator Aino Jawo formed a sonic alliance in their native Stockholm.

“It didn’t take long after we met to take the next step,” Hjelt said. “We started writing and had songs within a month. It moved along very quickly. We had a natural connection. We’re best friends. It’s helped being so close from day one. When we started out we didn’t know what direction we would go musically ”

The tandem connects with its audience. During one of its many performances in Austin, Icona Pop stole the show from the evening’s headliner, the Joy Formidable. Fans, many fueled by free beer, danced and banged into each other throughout Icona Pop’s 45-minute set. The fans erupted upon the first notes of “I Love It.”

Hjelt and Jawo fell for “I Love It,” which was written by Charli XCX, as quickly as fans did for the relentlessly catchy song. “When we heard a rough version of ‘I Love It’ we just felt like it was our song,” Hjelt said. “We just took that and made it more Icona Pop. It took awhile to nail it but we did it.”

The song has become a summer anthem spilling out of cars along the beach and stores. “I Love It” has become as ubiquitous as a Kardashian.

But Icona Pop is more than a song which has gone double platinum as single. “We have a lot of great music on the way,” Hjelt said. “We’re definitely more than one song. I appreciate how well ‘I Love It’ has done but I think it’s just the start of things for us. But I’m fine with the fact that the song just won’t go away.”

The next stop for “I Love It” is “Sesame Street.” The Cookie Monster recently recorded a parody of the song “Me Want It.” The furry little monster sings about his insatiable appetite for a certain desert. “Me Want It/But Me Wait.” What’s next? A take on the tune by Weird Al Yankovic?

“The song is off and running by itself,” Hejlt said. “We can’t do anything but make more songs and be thankful for how things have gone with ‘I Love It.’ ”

Try to arrive early to catch opener Sirah, who is a provocative rapper, who has a hit to her credit, “Bangarang.”

“This is an amazing opportunity to go on tour with Icona Pop,” the Long Island, NY native said. “It’ll be great for me to get this kind of exposure.”

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