Identity Festival's Eric Prydz on Collaborating with Pop Stars: "It's Not Really Where I Come From or What I Set Out to Do"
|Photo by Lawrence Watson|
Before even being given the go-ahead to speak with Eric Prydz, the London-based Swedish DJ-producer, we are told that any questions about his fear of flying are "off the table." This is somewhat disappointing, considering his phobia is well known. It is perhaps what's kept him from delivering a live performance in North America since 2007.
That's why when Identity Festival announced Prydz as this year's headliner, it made for really big news, followed by plenty of skepticism. Would he get on a plane and make the journey from London to the States? Or would he cancel? After all, he's described the ordeal of flying to DJ Mag as "akin to being put in a coffin and buried alive."
Rest assured, though, Prydz is already on U.S. soil, traveling across America with Identity while also promoting his first proper album, Eric Prydz Presents Pryda, a disc of unreleased material that characteristically mixes the underground with the mainstream, whether teetering into trance territory or blending electro and progressive house.
And if there is one thing that Prydz has been able to do as a mainstream act, it's keep his cred as a serious artist intact. While electronic dance music continues to infiltrate the mainstream, peers like Swedish House Mafia, Tiësto, and Deadmau5 have all been called "sellouts." But talking to Prydz, it's easy to understand why he's still so beloved by the underground.
Despite the current wave of pop divas and hip-hop superstars looking to established DJs for source material, Prydz doesn't seem all that interested. "I get approached all the time," he says. "It's been happening since I put out my first record ten years ago ... I always do what seems right to me at the moment. And to be honest, I haven't really been that interested in collaborating with artists from other genres. It's not really where I come from or what I set out to do."
That's not to say he isn't keen on working with other people, just don't expect his name to be plastered all over the release. He's sticking to what he does best, simply producing music. "I can't tell you names right now, but I'm producing and writing for other people at the moment, which I always think is a fun thing to do. I like being in the background, you know, writing and producing ... and not really performing. That's something I didn't do five or six years ago."
Prydz has always preferred to let his music speak for itself. So when the infamous "Call on Me" video (featuring buxom beauties doing aerobics and pelvic thrusts) was released, he wasn't too pleased.