Alesso Gives a Track-By-Track Breakdown of His New Album ‘Forever’
The Swedish house prodigy explains each song on his new Def Jam LP
In 2011, a hungry, up-and-coming bedroom producer named Alesso started remixing tracks from his favorite artists and uploading them online. Somehow the then 18-year-old caught the attention of Swedish House Mafia’s Sebastian Ingrosso, who took him under his wing and got him signed with ATM artists, also home to Axwell Λ Ingrosso. If the video for Alesso’s 2012 hit “Years” is to be believed, the young producer placed a demo on the windshield of Seb’s black SUV, which resulted in instant EDM super-stardom. While the actual story may be less romantic, Alesso’s skyrocket-like trajectory to the top of the charts can’t be denied, as he instantly broke through with remixes for David Guetta, Avicii, Swedish House Mafia, LMFAO and most notably OneRepublic with “If I Lose Myself.” With other chart-topping hits such as “Calling (Lose My Mind)” with Ingrosso, “Under Control” with Calvin Harris and most recently “Heroes” with Tove Lo, Alesso has spent a lot of time at peak hour on big room DJ’s playlists.
Today, Alesso releases his Def Jam debut solo album, Forever. We spoke to the humble producer about the record, and he gave us the background on each of its 14 tracks. — DJ Pizzo
“‘Profondo’ is the intro for my live shows. I just thought, what could be more real than putting the actual intro on the album? It just felt real to do that, rather than just starting with another track or your biggest track. That was the main thought behind it.”
“‘Payday’ is an aggressive rave track. It’s energetic and up-tempo, yet it has its cool, mysterious feeling to it. The break kind of gives you a ‘religious’ feeling. But mainly it was to create the song for this video game, Payday. They asked me if I wanted to do this collaboration, and I’m a big video gamer myself, so that was a dream to do something like that. When I started making the track, I was playing the game and got a bunch of ideas. I wanted to create something for the dancefloor and the actual game, so that’s how that track came about.”
“Heroes” (feat. Tove Lo)
“I had heard about Tove Lo through my label like two years ago, before she put out “Habits” and all that stuff. I loved her songwriting and thought she was amazing, and I just said, ‘I want to work with this girl, I think we can do some cool shit together.’ Not long after we jumped into the studio and made ‘Heroes.’”
“Tear the Roof Up”
“I hadn’t produced a track like that for a really long time. I had been putting out singles, and it had been a long time since I put out something that was very rave-ish and underground, really. So, I kind of just ordered that song myself, like, ‘I need to make a song like this.’ I started making crazy beats and eventually that track came about. I love that track a lot because it’s very different than all of the other songs that I produced before.”
“Cool” (feat. Roy English)
“I wanted that track to feel really happy and have that summer feeling to it, yet write something that kind of says the opposite. It’s about love and how you can’t control it, how it brings you up and down. It’s a two sided track; it’s happy, yet the message of it is not that happy. It’s the first time I worked with Roy, and I had an amazing time making it.”
“Scars” (feat. Ryan Tedder)
“I started working on that idea about a year ago. I had worked with [OneRepublic’s] Ryan Tedder before, so I always thought of him when I was listening to the little demo I had. I sent it to him and said, ‘Listen man, I think you could do an amazing job on this one. It really fits your voice and your style.’ He loved it and eventually we finished it. It took longer to finish that record than our other one, because he’s a touring artist and I am as well. But we’re both really happy with the result.”
“The Sweet Escape” (feat. Sirena)
“‘The Sweet Escape’ is probably the easiest track. It’s not a track that makes you say, ‘Oh, what’s this?’ It’s very easy for people to like that song, because there is nothing really crazy going on. It’s just a great riff and good chorus. My fans heard me play the rough idea of it a year ago and the reaction was insane, so I was really happy to finally give it to them now.”
“‘Destinations’ is an instrumental song that I started making when I was in Tokyo. I wanted to make a song that kind of described where I am and how much I travel and all of these beautiful places I get to visit. I wanted to make a track dedicated to this incredible journey that I have been fortunate enough to have; meeting people, experiencing different cultures. It’s a track that is meant to be listened to when you are on the road, in the car, on the way, or just by yourself. It’s a very chilled out record.”
“If It Wasn’t for You”
“‘If It Wasn’t for You’ is probably the most emotional song on the album. It has kind of a heartbreaking feeling to it. I wanted to write a song that was about how nothing matters if you are not sharing it with someone. You can have the most amazing life, but if you’re all by yourself, it doesn’t really matter. Really, as the top line says, ‘I’d be nothing if it wasn’t for you.’ That means not just someone you are in love or in a relationship with, but also friends and family and how important that is. You can be super rich and successful, but if you are all by yourself, does that mean anything then? No, I don’t think so.”
“In My Blood”
“‘In My Blood’ was an idea I started working on three years ago. It was something that I wasn’t 100 percent satisfied with and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it. When I started making this album I thought, ‘I really need to finish this.’ So I brought in John Martin because I thought he could really write a great top line.”
“Under Control” (feat. Calvin Harris & Hurts)
“‘Under Control’ is a collaboration I did with Calvin Harris, who is a friend of mine, and Calvin’s good friend Theo from Hurts. We’d both been fans of each other’s music for a while and supported each other, so we just decided ‘Let’s make a record together and have fun.’ It’s still one of the best songs in my DJ sets. People go absolutely nuts and have an amazing time when they listen to it at my shows.”
“All This Love” (feat. Noonie Bao)
“‘All This Love’ is probably the sweetest track on the album. It’s different, it’s cute. Noonie Bao did one hell of a job with her voice on this one.”
“If I Lose Myself (Alesso vs. OneRepublic)”
“‘If I Lose Myself’ started off as being a remix, but then it became an original. I spoke to Ryan Tedder before I started making the remix and said, ‘Listen, I think I can do something really cool with this,’ and he said, ‘Okay man, go ahead!’ I came up with the arrangement, the drop and the melodies and it got very supported. It’s great to have it on the album. I put it on the album because it was a big record for me in my career.”
“I’ve always been a fan of classical music or orchestral music and songs that are played in movies. I always wanted to try to do something like that because my dad used to play a lot of that kind of music to me when I was younger. I just wanted to give it a go and not end the album in the most obvious way. I wanted to end it with something that I felt was powerful to me and to describe through the music my journey. You go through good and bad things in life, but in the end time heals all wounds.”
Alesso’s Forever is available now on Def Jam Records.
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