When does a genre of music evolve from scurrying around underground scenes to rocking out for mainstream audiences? When dads like it. Y’know, like the Wu-Tang song. DREAM: “Dads Rule Everything Around Me.” Because if one thing’s clear after Axwell /\ Ingrosso’s sold-out show at Terminal 5 on Saturday, March 18: Dads are now a staple of the crowd, and not just rave dad:
But real dads. The kind that eye you up and down when their daughters introduce them to you. And soon-to-be-dads, millennials in their late 20s and early 30s that are in long-term relationships but will still make friends with you and then insist you “jump with them.” True story, can’t make this shit up.
The rationale here is that if Axwell /\ Ingrosso, and EDM as a whole, have passed Dad’s test, they’re here to stay. For the simple reason that dad’s usually the first line of defense while mom’s the first line of support. Of course it’s not always like that, especially in NYC, but we’ve all seen it play out enough to understand.
GI-Generation dads resisted their Baby Boomer kids going to Woodstock in the 60s like Generation-X dads resisted their Millennial kids going to EDC. But everything changes when that one group achieves such breakthrough success that even parents know it’s legit. Am I saying Axwell /\ Ingrosso are moving culture like Elvis, Led Zeppelin, and N*Sync? Mmm… yeah.
Of course it wasn’t always this way. Here’s what Axwell had to say when he took the mic during the duo’s headline set at Coachella 2015:
“Ay yo party people, I want to say something tho. You know, there’s a lot of people in this world of music today that think the music you came here to see, and the music that we play, isn’t right. Some people think it’s not clean or credible enough. Some people wanna hold us down, and they wanna hold you down. Are you gonna let them hold you down?”
The fuck I won’t, Sven. I got the dads on my side.
Major plot twist: Axwell /\ Ingrosso are the dads now! It all makes sense! I mean… argyle sweaters on stage, joking about how the city of New York planned its snowfall to make the swedes feel more at home… these guys are dads AF. And you know what? That’s totally fine because they helped birth this EDM wave.
Their rise began in 2009, during simpler times. Back when Seb’s biggest concern was getting his own car to Ultra so he wouldn’t get distracted from his DJ set, and Axwell’s was getting women to say the word “insert” in Miami elevators.
Avicii even sights Axwell’s breakout hit “Feel The Vibe” as one of his main inspirations for venturing into producing dance music. And if you were in NYC during SHM’s “One Last Tour” you’ll have known the hysteria surrounding those shows. Top that off with them closing out Ultra Music Festival for the past four years, and you’ve got a truly landmark group.
The two used to bicker like brothers. Axwell would tease Ingrosso about keeping the booth monitor at a reasonable level, because “it’s not just on and off, there are some levels in between.” And while SHM was a side project for the three jockeys, Axwell /\ Ingrosso appears to be getting Axwell and Ingrosso’s undivided attention. From consistently releasing quality of singles, to acting in their music videos, the dedication is clear.
Could this be because they’ve become such dads? Axwell /\ Ingrosso have been fathers since SHM’s final chapter, with Ingrosso saying “I miss my family right now and the summer hasn’t even began” before their summer 2010 run. And at this point, they could just live off their nest egg. SHM’s ‘One Last Tour’ sold a million tickets to its 50 dates across the globe. So clearly something larger is driving them, as illustrated in their lyrics “We belong to Something New”
They’ve graduated from handing their demos to DJs, to having DJs hand them their demos, to now paving the way for the next generation of producers by showing just how much longevity you can have in this industry. Pretty much exactly how Jay-Z brought his core fans with him as he and his fans matured into fatherhood.
The show on Saturday further cemented their trailblazer status. From a new light show, to original mashups, they brought the fire. It began with beams of light shooting out of the stage like a helicopter’s main rotor blade to the sound of racing kick drum, giving us the illusion of a literal lift of and ended with them fusing the intro riff from Sweet Child O’ Mine with the main melody of Calling (Losing My Mind).
Suffice to say they left the crowd wanting more.