The Swedish duo of Axwell and Ingrosso are facing a lot of flack lately for comments in a New York Times article from April 1. The article by Chad Batka frames a now infamous quote like this:
“As for accusations that the group is selling out by dumbing down its sound, Ingrosso defended mass appeal. “Underground dance music — in the nicest way possible — it’s amateur,” he said.”
While the article doesn't shield Ingresso's posthumous response, the duo has been defending their direct quote in the article (which has been quite negative) with plenty of Twitter rebuttals. Now, they've issued a statement:
[pull_quote_center]Listen up! The amount of bashing we’ve been given throughout the years for being commercial has been on a record level. and then a rather positive quote about “our” underground music gets put out of context – we are condemning underground music as a whole, and bashing where we come from ? seriously? We were merely answering the question – so what do you guys think of all the underground people bashing people like yourself for moving into the mainstream as opposed to our early music… which we answered from our standpoint – ie. underground music if that’s what people label our early releases as – for us – was our amateur stage – amateur the way we translate it from English to Swedish means when we were trying things out, as a hobby, a lovely hobby, a happy time, after a while we started moving into mainstream more as our music came more successful- or perhaps the mainstream crowd got to our music – which i guess took it from the underground to mainstream. And we were clear to say that if people liked our music great, and if they didn’t, that ok. This was about our own releases, not other genres as a whole or other artists. We had nothing bad to say about anyone, this is a super happy time for us right now. Anyways, we love all forms of music , underground or mainstream, and if you know anything about us you know very well we’ve paid our underground dues enough, and for us to be “bashing” and condemning where we come
from is just ridiculous. It’s a bit disheartening to see the amount of publicity this has gotten and the fact people seem to like to find something negative to focus on – when in fact nothing negative was meant.”[/pull_quote_center]
While the article didn't help frame the duo in a positive light, the comments have surely been blown out of context at times by its readers.
The term “amateur,” which generally means “not professional” or “not paid,” is not a popular word among producers. Because of such a level playing field with technology these days, being “underground” is a title that requires certain intention and sensitivity. In America, we are generally consumed with different expectations of “underground.” An amateur, presumably, doesn't get paid and is presumed in this case to mean “inferior act.”
However, these comments from Axwell Λ Ingrosso were meant to refer to their underground roots earlier in their career. Obviously tired during the interview, they seem to be more concerned about staying out of the limelight and having a less hectic celebrity status. The interview itself was held in an Apple Store in SoHo with an obnoxious crowd surrounding them (according to the source).
Some would even say that underground music is dead, like Tommie Sunshine once said on Facebook, “Can we all agree there's no such thing as an underground DJ anymore?” In hindsight, Axwell and Ingrosso probably could have expressed their sentiment in a way that fans could relate to better. However, the debate of whether “underground” artists are closer to being amateurs or professionals on the level of Swedish House Mafia or Axwell and Ingrosso is a debate for another day.
Make sure to read the full article for more and decide for yourself.