Axel Christofer Hedfors, better known by his stage name Axwell, is a Swedish DJ, record producer, remixer and owner of Axtone Records. He was a member of Swedish House Mafia along with Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello. He is a two time DJ Awards winner and in 2013 he was placed 19th on the DJ Magazine Top 100 DJ Poll.Early life Axwell’s interest in music appeared at an early age, having taught himself to play the drums by age nine. Four years later, the 13-year-old exchanged his drums for a computer so he could create each element of his music independently. Axwell released limited copies of a techno/hard trance EP on vinyl under the name OXL in 1995. During the mid-90s, he was also active in the tracking music scene under the moniker Quazar, releasing acid techno tracks made with FastTracker 2 and NoiseTracker.Career2004By late 2004, Axwell released “Feel the Vibe”, which was re-released through Ministry of Sound in 2005 with new lead vocals from Tara McDonald who also wrote the song as “Feel the Vibe (‘Til The Morning Comes)”. McDonald’s voice and writing helped secure the track as a radio winner and this track became one of the biggest cross over dance records of 2005. It was a breakthrough record for both Axwell & Tara McDonald. It peaked at #1 in UK Dance Singles Chart and #16 in the UK Singles Chart.
It’s been a long journey since your breakthrough release, Feel the Vibe in 2005. Was DJing always on the cards for you?
I never thought of myself as a DJ, I used to only produce music. It was after four years of constantly releasing tracks and remixes that people started asking me to DJ to. I was apprehensive initially, but I took on the offer. My very first gig was cancelled because of an electricity outage. The next few were at small clubs in Greece playing to crowds of about 300 people. I was really scared. Though I had produced tracks I never learnt to mix. I am one of the few DJs who learnt to mix on the job rather than at home. When I Iook back at those gigs… Ugh
You’ve been releasing music for over 20 years. How do you think the EDM and house movements have changed?
The trends and tastes changed, and then at one point dance music became super popular. The music moved so fast and things got a bit cheap in some cases, but I think that great music still exists in that world, you just have to look harder for it. The most important thing I continue to look for is music with feeling and identity. So long as those elements remain, I think the music will live on.
How has your sound evolved over the years?
I think my sound has just evolved towards what I have found interesting over the years. It’s always been important that what I do is fun for me and it doesn’t become a senseless machine. Back in the days everything was very club focussed, but now there’s the opportunity to work with songs and really open the door to more people.
How do you take the criticism that comes with producing music electronically?
It’s easy to take for granted how people who aren’t totally familiar with dance music see it. Advancement of technology in music always comes with its critics and dance music relies on these advancements so much. Sometimes it’s frustrating to hear misconceptions, but at the same time it’s our job to show people how much work goes into it. We need to lead by example rather than complain about it.
Do you remember a moment when you thought: “I want to do this for the rest of my life”? If so, when was it?
Everyone has that ‘thing’ that they’re good at. For most of my life, music has been that ‘thing’ for me. As time progressed, it became obvious that I might be able to do it full time, and I’ve worked night and day to make sure that is the case.
Was there one specific moment when you thought ‘wow? how did i get here?’
Playing Milton Keynes Bowl and Madison Square Garden. I mean… who wouldn’t?