By Scott T. Sterling
It’s nearly impossible to turn on pop radio and not hear the distinctive beats of EDM all over it. Led by the likes of Avicii, Zedd and Calvin Harris, songs like “Wake Me Up,” “Stay the Night” and “Summer” are the very definition of EDP, as in “Electronic Dance Pop.” Marrying the 4×4 rhythms of dance music with the song structure and instrumentation of more traditional pop, EDP is quickly becoming the sound of summer 2014.
Back in the summer of 2010, Sweden’s Adrian Lux preceded the current trend with the release of “Teenage Crime,” his signature single that was championed by none less than his fellow countrymen Swedish House Mafia, who were moved to include a remix of the track on their 2010 debut, Until One, after member Axwell took a liking to Lux’s production.
According to Lux himself, the song came to be as something of a lark.
“At the time, I was heavily into producing and spinning techno,” Lux told Radio.com during a recent phone interview while touring the West Coast. “I made that song to be a nice little segment in my otherwise dark, techno mix. A friend of mine I was throwing club nights with knew Axwell (one-third of Swedish House Mafia), and he sent it to him, and he started playing it out. I couldn’t believe it. At that time, Swedish House Mafia was huge, but they were still kind of underground and nowhere near as big as they would eventually become. I always had such a tremendous respect for them, even though I was so deep into techno. For me, ‘Teenage Crime’ was more of an experiment. That taught me a lesson that you just never know what’s going to be the thing that sets you apart.”
Listening to “Teenage Crime” today, it could be said that the track was something of a precursor to the current EDM-meets-pop sound prevalent on radio, an assertion that Lux readily endorses.
“There are definitely a few tracks that I know are influenced by that song,” he said. “There’s one group in particular who openly said that their biggest track was influenced by ‘Teenage Crime.’ Tommy Trash played me a song recently that he said was basically him mimicking it.”
For Lux, the song was all about creating something that was bigger than just a song, but something for people to latch onto in their own individual ways.
“Ariana Grande will always have a bigger song, but for me it was important to do something that people could take and make their own memories around it,” he explained. “Not to make it about myself, but to give this piece of music to the world. So many people have their own stories about it, people getting tattoos of the lyrics. I even had this guy write me from prison saying he was regretful of what he’d done to get there, and that he listened to ‘Teenage Crime’ every day as an inspiration to change his life when he got out. That really felt good to hear.”
Not one content to ride on past glories, Lux is currently touring the States in support of his recently released Make Out EP, which features a track titled “Lauren Conrad,” named after the former star of popular MTV reality series The Hills turned author and fashion designer.
“She mentioned in an interview that she was using ‘Teenage Crime’ as one of her workout tracks. A bunch of people sent me a link to the story, which I thought was pretty cool,” Lux revealed. “I was working on the track, and just named it ‘Lauren Conrad’ as like a working title. As time went by, it became the actual name of the track. My friends would tell me, “oh, I love that Lauren Conrad song.’ It just stuck. I haven’t heard any response from her about the track yet, so we’ll see. Maybe it can be on her honeymoon soundtrack,” he added in regards to Conrad’s impending fall nuptials.
The Make Out EP also includes the track “Wild Child,” a collaboration with fellow Swedes JJ that Lux said was inspired by his love for late ’60s psychedelic rock bands like Jefferson Airplane and features the guitar work of Joakim Berg, a member of the band Kent, who rank was one of Sweden’s biggest rock outfits (“It was a real honor to work with him”).
The Chainsmokers are another act that Lux has collaborated with on new music, with their musical relationship predating the duo’s breakout success with the song, “#Selfie.”
“I’ve known the guys for a long time. I’ve always liked their more indie kind of vibe. When they first started sending me songs, I was immediately impressed,” he recalled. “Now they’re more known for that ‘#Selfie’ song, but I’m more a fan of their lesser known tracks and remixes of acts like Two Door Cinema Club. We became good friends, and we started working on the track about a year ago. It’s still not done or set for release yet, but I play it out a lot. People go kind of crazy when they hear it.”
When it comes to crowds going crazy, Lux revealed that as far as America is concerned, his favorite audiences tend to be found where they might not be expected: the Lone Star state of Texas.
“I think Houston is probably one of the most fun cities to play. It seems like people in Texas are a little crazier than anywhere else in America,” he said. “I’ve always gotten such a good reaction when I’ve played places like El Paso. Houston and El Paso are always have the craziest crowds, and I love it.”
Adrian Lux has created an exclusive DJ mix for Radio.com that features “Lauren Conrad,” a remix of “Wild Child” and more. Listen to it below, and download it for free right here.
Here’s the tracklist for the mix:
Adrian Lux – Lauren Conrad
Adrian Lux – Wild Child (Lars Aar Remix)
Adrian Lux & Lune vs Awe – The Rain vs Crystals
NAPT – Always Be Together (Chris Lake & Nom De Strip Remix)
Hunter Siegel – Waiting Up
Autoerotique – Aspyxiation (Botnek Remix)
Jose Gonzales – Step Out (The Chainsmokers Remix)
Adrian Lux feat. Kaelyn Behr – Sooner or Later (Nora En Pure Remix)