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They Love It: Icona Pop is taking time to reflect during the pandemic


By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski, College Times

Icona Pop’s Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo have spent the pandemic doing all they can to stay connected to fans.

“We can’t play live right now, so we’ve been trying to do as much as we can online to keep in contact with the fans,” Hjelt says. “We love performing and sharing our music.”

One such way is through “Live from ASU,” an ASU summer concert series created by President Michael Crow to keep students and the community engaged during the pandemic. From 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, July 10, Icona Pop will perform via livestream and answer questions posed by ASU students who use the hashtag #ASULive.

“You can definitely expect a different kind of show,” Jawo says. “It’s a very high-energy, high-tempo show. There’s a lot of love spreading. People need some positivity and that’s what we’re going to give up.”

Jawo and Hjelt met at a party in 2009 and were determined to create “the best band ever.” Three weeks later, they hit the stage for the first time.

The duo’s breakthrough hit was 2012’s “I Love It,” which sold more than 2 million copies in the United States.

“When we play it live, people go mayhem,” Hjelt says. “That song has a special energy. We still love playing it live after all of these years. We just love the energy it brings to people. Of course, you always hope a song will travel and get a big life, but this was beyond our expectations.”

Other Icona Pop hits include “All Night,” “We Got the World,”

“Girlfriend,” and “Let’s Go” featuring Tiesto. They’ve since toured with Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and One Direction.

To keep things fresh during the pandemic, Hjelt has been performing “spa raves.” The virtual series features a robe-wearing Hjelt doing facial treatments and grooving to bass-heavy beats.

“It’s awesome to see how people really appreciate our rave spa,” she says.

Most importantly, during the quarantine, Icona Pop has been reflecting on its success and lives.

“We’ve been a band for 11 years,” Jawo says. “This is the first time we’ve been in Sweden for this long in 11 years. It’s beautiful and very good for us to take a little pause. We got very creative.”

Hjelt adds, “When you work a lot, you’re just on autopilot. You don’t reflect. You do things the way you’ve done it the last couple of years. You have to stop and think sometimes. It’s a good opportunity to change patterns, to do things in a different way. I hope we will take some good things with us.”

Jawo says it’s easy to get anxious during the pandemic, and she’s doing her best to stay calm.

“I’m trying not to have anxiety for taking it easy,” she says. “I try not to think I should do this or do that. It’s OK to take it easy. It’s good for you. It’s good for the creative person you are inside.

“To be able to connect with people this way is so cool,” Jawo says. “We have Zoom meetings and we meet fans on Instagram. It’s super cool to see how we can make this work.” CT


“Live from ASU/Icona Pop”

6 to 7 p.m. Friday, July 10



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