How Galantis Turned a ‘Box of Ideas’ Into Their New Album ‘The Aviary’

Galantis break down the process behind creating their new album 'The Aviary.'

Image via Getty/Santiago Felipe

Galantis' proper follow-up to their 2015 debut Pharmacy is finally here, as the celebrated Swedish electronic duo shares its sophomore album, The Aviary. The 12-song project features collaborations with the likes of Wrabel, Hook N Sling, and Poo Bear, along with surefire anthems that have been ringing off at festival appearances across the globe. It's a great time to be a part of the #SeaFoxNation.

"I think we are even more nervous than the first one because we actually have people expecting something," Galantis member Christian Karlsson told Complex shortly before The Aviary was released. That pressure made diamonds, and fans can look forward to something special planned for later this month.

Read on for our chat with Galantis below. You can purchase The Aviary on iTunes here.

You guys found a nice formula with your debut album Pharmacy when it came to balancing the melodies with vocals. How did you choose the vocalists this time around?
Christian Karlsson: The Galantis way to do this is, we don't really choose the vocalists: we choose the songs, and the songs come about the way they come about. So far, it’s only been whoever is in the studio with us singing the song.
Linus Eklöw: A very organic way.
Karlsson: We actually have tried to change it, but it never really works, to be honest. I'm not saying it doesn't work for other people; it just doesn't seem to work for us. And I like to take what you got and make that into something. Usually the original vocal doesn’t matter—because we do so much tweaking with the vocals—so in the end, there's no recognition of what the original vocal was anyway. This time around, there are a few vocals that are a little bit more untouched, but we don’t really do it that way where we go looking for who is going to sing this song.

One of my early favorites from the album is “Written in the Scars” with Wrabel​. How much of a hand did you guys have in the songwriting process?
Karlsson: Well with Wrabel, we have been in the studio and we have also tried when he sends something. “True Feelings” is also with Wrabel, I don’t know if you know that. "True Feelings," we wrote with Wrabel in the studio, and “Written in the Scars” was an idea he sent to us, so there are two different ways. We are huge fans of Wrabel​, he’s an amazing writer and an amazing artist.

Were there any songs that didn’t make the album that you may release later?
Karlsson: We always have a box of ideas. There were probably over 60 songs recorded for this album, and the ones we picked aren’t like, "These are the best 12." They are the 12 we figured out how to finish. Of course, we wouldn’t put it in the box if we didn’t think it should be on the album, but there is a lot of... we couldn't quite find all the puzzle pieces, so they go back in the box. That’s the way we approach writing music. Like on the first album, “Peanut Butter Jelly” was something I wrote over 10 years, but it was just an old snippet and I couldn’t figure out how to put that into a song. It's not a song yet, but it's a piece, so you would never throw any pieces away.

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What would you say the mission statement behind The Aviary is?
Karlsson: The big change for us this time around was having fans and having a following and people supporting our music. And we have been on tour, so it's been a traveling situation which has been a really cool and new experience for us, to not be in that safe environment of the studio, which actually brought out a lot of new flavors. That’s the main change for this album. People think you go out and look to change the sound; that happens because you live and breathe the music. I don’t even know that the music has changed until somebody has told me it has changed. We are making music everyday, and whatever you experience in those creative moments changes what you put in and what comes out in the studio or the writing process. That’s the big change for The Aviary compared to Pharmacy.
Eklöw: We definitely are showing a diversity of styles on this album that we didn’t get to show on the first one. We have always been writing those types of songs, but on The Aviary, I think this was a better window for that than the first album.

Do you guys have any plans to do a remix pack for any of the new songs from the album?
Karlsson: Yeah, we are going to try and do as much as we can. Every single that we release gets that. That’s the thing that we enjoy. You meet a lot of talented producers and DJs, you revisit friends and ask them if they want to do a remix, that’s one of the beauties in it right now: hearing different versions of our versions and just being able to put those out, as well. 

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