Friends Like These: Icona Pop and Sofi Tukker

The electropop artists discuss how they created their collaborative single 'Spa', making music in quarantine and their first-ever live shows

A chance encounter between four of electropop’s greatest masterminds – Icona Pop‘s Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo and Sofi Tukker‘s Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern – earlier this year served as the catalyst for one of 2020’s most irrepressible bangers, the delightfully filthy ‘Spa’.

Meeting for the first time in a lift in New York, the two duos hit it off immediately. “I felt the energy!” Hjelt recalls, with Hawley-Weld adding: “We were [already] big fans of Icona Pop. I think in our first conversation we were like: ‘We have to work together! The energy is so good here, let’s do something!’”

Jawo picks up the tale: “A month after that, we met up in LA and jumped in the studio. It was very cool because the whole session was so organic… we connected for real, and we’re so happy that we made such an awesome song.”

“We just started talking about what kind of music we love to listen to,” explains Hjelt of the collaborative process behind ‘Spa’. “The track felt so good. We were like: ‘We just want to dance to this!’. We also talked about how we all love to party, we love the clubs, we love playing live — but we’ve been working hard, and it felt like it would be very nice to go to the spa!”

The transatlantic divide between Icona Pop and Sofi Tukker — not to mention the coronavirus lockdown — meant that the shooting of the music video posed its difficulties as the two acts couldn’t film the clip together.

Icona Pop headed to a disused spa in their home city of Stockholm to shoot their part. “We had so much fun with a super-small crew – and we were literally spaing, it was like the best video shoot ever!” the duo recall. “We were jumping in the pool from the ceiling, freaking out and doing things that you usually cannot do at a spa. But we were just like: ‘Oh my god, I wish [Sofi Tukker] were here!'”

Sofi Tukker’s part in the ‘Spa’ video (which also stars mutual friends Jordan Firstman and Mia Khalifa) was filmed in Miami, as Hawley-Weld elaborates further: “We were at our house and living with the person who was filming, so it was just the three of us in our backyard.” Halpern adds: “We tried to make it look as spa-like as possible!”

For this latest instalment in NME’s Friends Like These series, the ‘Spa’ collaborators also chat about what motivates them as artists, making music while in quarantine and their first-ever live shows. Check out the full video above.

Icona Pop and Sofi Tukker’s ‘Spa’ is out now.

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