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Ones to Watch: Icona Pop


The Swedish duo, BFFs, and self-proclaimed warriors, are poised to conquer America. But aren’t they sick of each other yet?

Photography by George Harvey

Sweden's latest music sensation is the bombastic female pop duo Icona Pop. Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo describe their chance meeting at a party as "love at first sight," and listening to them speak, one can see just how profound their connection is (ask them a question and they're bound to finish each other's sentences). On the heels of their infectious fist-pumper "I Love It," one of the best tracks of last summer, they're about to release their (still-untitled) debut album this fall.

What does it mean to be Icona Pop?
CAROLINE HJELT: Everything. That glimpse of euphoric excitement mixed with dark feelings. We're two strong girls with a lot to say and we have a lot of fun.
AINO JAWO: Icona Pop to me is freedom and love. I see Icona Pop as two warriors. We've struggled through so many difficulties. We always manage to get through everything.

Do you ever worry about working so closely together?
AJ: No, we are a perfect combo. I feel very much alone when I'm not with Caroline.
CH: We could just work Monday through Friday, but that wouldn't be Icona Pop. When you're standing there in the airport and your luggage is lost and you've missed your flight, you can just laugh because the other person is there.

Do you think your "fuck it" attitude represents the new era of girl power?
CH: We can only relate to ourselves. We aren't trying to be a movement. Our songs are our own little diary.
AJ: You can't always be afraid of what people think; that stops you from trying stuff. You can't find yourself by doing only what you know --
CH: [Interrupting] It's when you change direction that you find your way.

What do you want to get out of making music?
AJ: I just want to share my music, the biggest love of my life.
CH: Hopefully we can release a greatest hits album when we're 95 years old.

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Brett Edward Stout