Heroes – Finding Role Models in the Music Industry

We could be heroes.
May, 2015

Long story short, Alesso dropped his debut album today, and I’m ecstatic for him.
I’m excited for us. We could be heroes.

Let’s get this out of the way quickly, I’m going to geek out here. No two ways around it.
I have a strange affiliation with music and more curiously, those who create it. As a visual artist, I try (and more often than not fail) to visualize what I feel within a song. As artists release more and more work you start seeing a progression and reflection of their life within these tracks. So seeing another artist reach this milestone, the culmination of their lives, whether it’s Childish Gambino, Logic, Big Sean, or Jamie xx, it’s always gratifying.

Alesso, 2013

I think Alesso first came on my radar with the track Years. I don’t particularly recall the circumstances, but I was in my final year at the University of Glasgow, my final year as an institutionalized student. The song really resonated with me.

My hands were tied but now they’re mine. So grab on to desire and run away. These will be the years Alesso Ft. Ft. Matthew Koma

And then I saw the music video. Wow

The trials and tribulations we artists endure in order to create. Bottom line, I really really liked the song. Enough to create a typography piece of my own and offer a wallpaper download.

A few months earlier, David Guetta had hosted a music video competitions for some of his tracks from the album Nothing But the Beat. He introduced three up and coming young artists on that album back in 2011, Alesso, Afrojak, Nicky Romero, and Avicii. The track with Avicii went on to be nominated for a Grammy. All these artists, save Nicky Romero, have gone on to release their own debut album since.

Quick note: EDM artists seldom put together a complete album. Up until recently I think only David Guetta really dove into full length albums. Typically EDM artists will have EPs, compilation albums but more often than not, singles upon singles to their name, as well as remixes. It was a different culture, and now that culture is shifting.

I approached Darren (the cinematographer who first introduced me to the concepts of f-stop and ISO.. all the techy stuff) along with the team at Production Attic with an idea for a music video. I directed, edited, and entered the competition. We didn’t win, but the video was a finalist. It’s now accumulated over 1.7 million views on Youtube.

Fun fact: The kid featured in the video is now a DJ producing his own music. The three of us shot a music video during a recent trip back to Glasgow. Go check it out.

Apparently all the DJs are doing the modeling thing now. Avicii, Calvin Harris..

With Alesso, it’s a little fascinating. I know nothing of him other than how I’ve interpreted his work. I started following him on Instagram about a month ago actually because I noticed something. He’s grown into himself. Not only has developed a killer look, but his live shows have also benefited from this progression. If you watch or listen to his earlier live sets from the yester-years he appeared very timid. Would seldom speak to the crowd. Simply got on stage, did his thing, wonderfully I might add, then got off. Now watch his set at Ultra 2015. He’s fully immersed in the crowd.

Admittedly this could also be a result of the language barrier. (I’m speculating here) but perhaps as he progressed in his career he became more confident in his grasp of the English language. But even then, take a look at his early posts on Instagram. Do a search for his photos 2013 and earlier. He was always this kid among giants. Simply a shadow among legends like Ingrosso of Swedish House (his mentor), Calvin Harris, David Guetta, etc. So much so that BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix in March 2012, introduced him as:

So, are you ready for two hours of the latest Swedish sensation? I can feel the fever rising. We’re talking about Alessandro Lindblad, who in the space of less than 24 months has become one of the hottest properties in dance music. […] He’s gone on to work with the likes of David Guetta, Avicii and of course label mate, Seb Ingrosso on the monstrous Calling. He spent the first part of 2012 conquering America. And he touches down at the Swedish House mini festival in Miami, this weekend. Please. Would you welcome Alesso.

And still a year later, back on BBC Radio 1 for the New Years Eve 2013 Mix:

So. We have got Alesso next. Now I don’t know much about Alesso, but all I know from this year is that massive track Years, which I’m kind of obsessed with. Yes (chimed in the second speaker). He’s a protégé of Sebastian Ingrosso from the Swedish House Mafia, he’s like his little project book out of that, and without any association with the Swedish House Mafia he has blown up this year and become a massive newcomer in dance music..

He’s no longer that little project though. To see this for yourself, simply compare one of his earlier videos to his latest.

2012. Alesso – Years Ft. Matthew Koma

2015. Alesso – Cool Ft. Roy English

Enough Said

It’s actually fascinating. Avicii, Alesso, Afrojack, Porter Robinson, Hardwell.. All within the last three years have enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame, and are now regarded as one of the top DJs in the world. All have dropped albums. All are 25 years of age. Give or take one or two years.

Except for Porter Robinson. He’s still 22.

My Playlist

If you have only 5 minutes.

If you have 15 minutes.

If you have 45 minutes.

If you have 2 hours to passively listen.

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