Five years before his record-breaking single “Call on Me” hit #1 on charts in the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, and his home country of Sweden and eventually sold 4.5 million mixtapes, Eric Prydz was flat broke.
It was 1999, and the 23-year-old who would soon be known under at least 10 different monikers, and as one of the most in demand EDM producers in the world, locked himself in a studio in Stockholm with a few of his friends to learn production software like Logic and Cubase, and to make electronic dance music.
“I do remember at one point when I kind of said to myself, ‘You know what, this is the only thing I want to do. I don’t care about anything else,’” he says after a thoughtful pause.
“We took baths out of a bucket, but we didn’t care. We were just there making music.”
A year and a half later, he signed with EMI, set up camp in London, and began rolling out the hits and remixes, bringing Balearic beats back to the Billboard charts along with more hit singles and Grammy nods. But to the humble producer, who grew up immersed in the Swedish techno underground and gave a large portion of “Call on Me” sales to charity, the hits mattered much less than the dozens of releases on his own two explorative labels. He started Mouseville Records in 2003 under the alias Cirez D for harder techno tracks, like 2009’s “On Off.” Pryda Recordings was for progressive house, the songs of which he released under an alias of the same name.
“I had just had enough of all the major labels and record companies telling me how my music should sound and how my artwork should look and the way they were promoting the music before release. I wanted to have my own forum where I could do exactly what I wanted, promote it how I wanted,”
“and just do my own thing.”
Now, as a resident behind the turntables at Amnesia, the hallowed nightclub in the dance party mecca he loves most, Ibiza, Prydz has come a long way since his days of bathing in buckets to afford records.
Though many focus only on Prydz’s hits, so much more music came out of that decade. His latest three-disk album, Eric Prydz Presents Pryda, is a showcase of these sounds, and an ample one at that: the deluxe edition boasts a staggering 37 tracks.
“Disc #1 is the actual album, with all the original music on it,” he explains. “The second and third CDs are retrospective albums to show people what I’ve been doing over the past 10 years on Pryda, and it worked out really well. Most of the album is fantastic.”
Due to a fear of flying that makes him nauseous (as nauseous as he must get with press asking him constantly about legwarmers), Prydz hasn’t ventured to the US since 2007. With his upcoming appearance at Identity Festival, he couldn’t have picked a better time, or a better music festival.
“EDM really hit America in a big way over the past two years,” he says. “It’s kind of peaking right now, and I think it’s great.”
“For the first time in, well, ever, dance music is probably bigger than hip-hop and R&B in the States, and that’s amazing.”
For Identity Fest, the first mobile electronic music festival, Prydz joins the likes of Wolfgang Gartner, Excision and Noisia, headlining at venues in 15 major cities across the US. Venues once reserved for rock icons will now be filled with thousands of dancing kids who will receive some proper education from a legendary EDM producer.
“I’m really happy to be back in the States, and I’m really excited to see everyone out on the dance floors all over,” he says, before going back to the one thing he loves most: making music while looking out windows of trains.
“And it’s going to be a really good summer.”
IDENTITY FESTIVAL 2012
WITH ERIC PRYDZ
PRESENTED BY IHOME
885 MAIN ST.