The Rise of Icona Pop


If the name “Icona Pop” doesn’t ring a bell, it should. Their single “I Love It” has dominated radio this summer, giving the Swedish duo a multi-platinum single and plenty of buzz.

Icona Pop, a.k.a. Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, are both natives of Stockholm who met one night at a party back in 2009. Friendship quickly turned to a professional relationship, and the two began writing songs together. Over the course of the next few years, Icona Pop developed their sound, leading to the release of their Iconic EP last August.

Thanks to placement in the HBO series Girls back in January, Iconic’s single “I Love It” began crawling up the charts. Within a week, it cracked Billboard’s Hot 100 chart; a few months ago, it peaked at #7.

Now the girls of Icona Pop are preparing for their first-ever headlining tour, which includes a stop at Masquerade in a few weeks. I spoke with Caroline of Icona Pop about their tour, as well as what fans can expect from this fall’s newly-announced album, This Is… Icona Pop.

You’ll be in Atlanta on August 14 for your Iconic Tour.

Yes, we’re so excited.

I saw you when you were in Atlanta in December with Marina and The Diamonds as part of her Lonely Hearts Club Tour, and I absolutely loved your act.

Really? Oh, wow. Thank you so much.

I remember going home and listening to the Iconic EP, and to see how you’ve blown up with “I Love It” has been fascinating to watch. And now you’re headlining your own tour.

We’re so excited for this tour.

Can you tell me a little bit about what you’ll be doing on this particular tour?

We are actually building everything now. We want to feel our fans into this little Icona Pop world during the concert, and we want them to feel like we feel when we sing the songs or how we felt when we wrote them, and we’re just involved with everything from every little light to the show’s visuals – everything. Right now, we’re building what we call our little spaceship, and it’s a huge table we’re having between us on stage with all our gear. So we’re actually building that right now, and it’s super cool. We’re playing a lot of new songs, and we’re super excited.

What was it like working with Marina?

That was perfect – that was such a fun tour. It was really a girl power tour, and she’s such an amazing artist. We had so much fun, and we love her. She’s so cool.

So for our readers who may not know that much about Icona Pop outside of “I Love It,” how did the two of you come together as a musical act?

We met at a party at my place, because Aino was heartbroken and a mutual friend forced her to come to my party to have a little bit of fun after being in bed for, like, two weeks. I was also kind of down because nothing was working out with the music, and I felt kind of frustrated. And then, when we met, it felt instantly like – WAPOW. We have something special. And the day after, Aino came to my place and we wrote our first song, and since that day we’ve been a band, and we’ve been together every day.

“I Love It” has now gone double platinum in the U.S. It’s been a Top 10 hit. You can hear the song pretty much everywhere. What’s it like having a song blow up this big?

It’s insane. It’s surreal. I mean, the journey that we’ve been through this year is crazy. I looked at pictures the other day, and I was trying to understand all the places that we’ve been to and all the things that we’ve seen and all the venues that we’ve played. We’ve been meeting so many beautiful people, and they’ve been talking to us about what our music means to them. It’s been surreal. It’s been the best year of our lives.

A number of other artists have covered “I Love It,” including Robin Thicke and the cast of Glee. What’s it like hearing all these different versions of your song?

I like that. I mean, it’s so fun to hear your song, but in a totally different way, in a totally different expression and situation. It’s refreshing.

You have a new single, “All Night.” Can you tell me a little about how the song came about, and why you chose it as the official follow-up to “I Love It”?

“All Night,” for me, there’s such a freedom feeling over that song. Recording it, I just felt like “summer festival” mode. I hope people like it. It means a lot to us.

You also released a song last month, “Girlfriend.” How did that song come about?

That was fun, because we were just sitting in the studio, and we were with some friends. We were talking about what Aino and I are going through, and what we mean to each other. We don’t live anywhere, we don’t really need anything, except I need Aino to function and to be able to do this. It fit in so well with the line “All I need in this life is me and my girlfriend,” and so we wrote it, and then we wrote a letter to Tupac’s mom to ask if we could use that. She liked the song, and she said yes.

What can your fans expect on your full-length album later this year?

They will definitely get to know us even better on this album. We’ve been writing this for four years, and it’s so personal. It’s a lot of stuff that we’ve been through, from the first song to where we are today. I think people will hear… It’s not going to be 16 songs sounding exactly like “I Love It.” It’s going to be some sides that people haven’t seen. I hope that people will see new sides of Icona Pop. And we’re super proud of this album. I want to release it now, I’m so excited.

Icona Pop brings the Iconic Tour to Masquerade on August 14, with opening act K.Flay. The show starts at 7 p.m. For more information on the show, visit

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