At just 21 years old, Alesso is quickly becoming one of the hottest DJs and producers of dance music. Working with guys like Sebastian Ingrosso and Dirty South, and playing the main stage at Ultra Music Festival this year (weekend 2), his tracks have become anthems easily recognized out on the dance floor, that are hard to miss. We caught up with Alesso down in Miami during Miami Music Week, where he talked about everything from new music coming this year to his new residency at the new Las Vegas nightclub Light to what his own city of dreams is. Check it out:
How was the first weekend of Ultra?
Insane, it’s my first Miami Ultra ever. You’ve seen the shows they have there. It’s incredible and super massive, and the production is insane. So I was a little bit nervous to be honest, but it a good way. And it was definitely better than I expected to be honest. Like, the Miami crowd this year, the crowd, I played at the stage called “Mega Structure,” it was just, the vibe, and the energy level was insane.
And this weekend you’re doing the main stage? Are you excited?
Yeah. Super excited!
Can we expect any surprises from the last set?
Yeah, I mean I’m going to change the set a little bit of course. The lineup is already kind of crazy, you know. It’s a lot of big names on just that day, and I have Dirty South before me, and Swedish House Mafia after me. And funny thing, I’ve done a record with Dirty South, “City of Dreams,” and then I’ve done “Calling” with Sebastian Ingrosso. I think there are going to be a few of their records that are going to be played, but then of course I’m going to introduce new music. That’s what I think you should do, or what people actually do. They bring the music for 2013, and they premiere it here. So it’s going to be very interesting and I’m very excited.
Since it’s your first Ultra experience, what has been the highlight for you, in Miami, so far?
The highlight so far has been Ultra, and just that everybody is here. That’s the most amazing thing about this week, everybody is here. And everybody is supporting everybody’s shows. The first night I was playing at LIV, and the second night, it was Steve Angello playing, and we went there, and yesterday we were at Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak party. So that’s the coolest thing, and I guess that’s my highlight.
Speaking of Sebastian Ingrosso, and Axwell, and Steve Angello, and all those guys, what’s in been like working so close with them?
Well I haven’t been working that close with Steve and Axwell. We’re good friends, but it’s mainly Sebastian Ingrosso I’m working with. And we have a great relationship, we’re like brothers. We complement each other. He always has some good parts, and I have some good parts, and we work back and forth, and everything just fits. That’s the best thing about it. We’ve been working now for two years, and that’s not that long to be honest, and we have a great team around us. And he’s so experienced as well, you know. He always lets me do my thing and work my way, but he lets me know to learn from my mistakes basically. And I think that’s really good. I think you really need to know a few things before, or when you start in this kind of business, because there’s so many things to think about. It’s not just releasing records, I wish it was that easy, you know just release records and everything will be fine. But you need to have a great team, and you need to be surrounded by good people that really supports your music, and really wants to work with you. I wouldn’t work with Sebastian because he’s Sebastian Ingrosso. I work with him because we can and we’re a great team.
What is your favorite part about touring?
My favorite part about touring is that I get to play my music for different people, and in different cities and different countries. It’s an amazing feeling to meet fans, and travel the world. Do smaller shows, big shows, you know it’s life for me. That’s my life right now, and I love it. One thing, I don’t like to complain, but the traveling can suck sometimes, you know, you don’t get much sleep!
Tell us about Light in Las Vegas?
Well, basically it’s a new nightclub that is opening up in Las Vegas. I think they have the opening week in the beginning of April, and the nightclub – it’s a nightclub, but it’s so the opposite of a classic typical nightclub. It’s like a show. It’s Cirque de Soleil, they’re the guys behind it. And the cool thing about it is that, it’s going to be a nightclub, but it’s an experience. It’s going to be something so different that you don’t even want really want to call it [a nightclub]. I would say it’s a show with drinks. Every night is going to be different too. I have a residency there now, Sebastian has a residency there, Skrillex has a residency there, Axwell has a residency. And even though we play at the same nightclub, every night is going to be different. I’m going to have my theme, Axwell is going to have his theme, and it’s going to be different every night for every DJ that’s there. And that’s awesome. I’m just so excited to go there because I’ve seen what they can do, what they will do. And I actually spent a lot of time working with the guys that [are] running the club, and doing all the production. So I’ve been working pretty hard with them, and it’s [been] a lot of meetings, but it’s going to be incredible.
Your sound is a little bit versatile. You have the more hard electro-type tracks like “Clash” and even “Raise Your Head,” but then you’re remixing Keane, and now the One Republic track. Do you prefer one over the other at all?
I’m going to be honest, I’m a little bit more of the melancholic, like emotional side. I’m a little bit more that. But I still love doing the other stuff as well. For me it’s like night and day a little bit. The emotional records, they tell me something, while these other, very banging, hardcore, “Nillionaire” – they’re cool too, I love that it makes me want to party when I hear those songs – but maybe it doesn’t send you, like a really special message if you know what I mean. They send you the message that you’re going to party, and you’re going to have fun, but if you listen to the One Republic song I’m going to be releasing pretty soon, it’s got a message that’s pretty deep. And that’s the cool thing about it. I like to make music that you get goosebumps from. That’s basically why I love making music because that’s an amazing feeling. You can really touch people in that way. So people can dance and sing, and you know, maybe think about something when they listen to it. Maybe they remember a memory, “Oh I remember this song when I was there.” That’s an amazing thing I think.
What is going on in the studio right now for you? Are you working on anything?
I just finished the One Republic thing. I finished it after New Years, so it’s really fresh, that song. And then I have a bunch of new stuff. I’ve been working on a record with Avicii for a while. You know, it’s hard to find time to actually be in the studio, because he’s always traveling, I’m always traveling. But we’re going to find time now, here in Miami, try and jump in the studio here. And then I have, of course, I have a new single coming out. Hopefully I’ll be able to release it before summer starts, or maybe during the summer. Hopefully during the summer if I’m lucky.
Will we here any of that in your Ultra set?
The Ultra set, no. I don’t like to premiere anything – I do sometimes but I try not to play anything when it’s not 100% done. Because I’ve played a few records, I remember I played “Clash” about a year ago I think, on a Pete Tong Essential Mix. And I released it almost a year after. I understand, it’s kind of frustrating sometimes for people, but that track wasn’t ready. If you listen to it on that YouTube clip that’s up, and you listen to the final version, it’s the same melody and the same concept, but the mix down and the sounds are much better.
Well, you have your track with Dirty South “City of Dreams.” If you had your own city of dreams, what would it be like?
A little bit like Miami. Right now I think this is kind of the city of dreams. It’s just parties everywhere, everybody is very beautiful here, everybody is nicely dressed, and everybody is nice, everybody is having a good time. So I would say Miami is pretty close to that!
Photos by Nicole Mastrogiannis