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5 Minutes with Swedish Sensations Icona Pop

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5 Minutes with Swedish Sensations Icona Pop

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The Governors Ball on Randall's Island in New York City last weekend could be accurately described as a muddy mess with a side of great music. The torrential rain may have put a damper on the first day of the festival, but when we rendezvoused with the Swedish electro-pop duo Icona Pop early on Saturday, the skies — and the mood — couldn't have been sunnier. Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, best friends who met at one of Caroline's "epic" house parties (her word, not ours!), have amassed a huge stateside following this year, thanks to their hit "I Love It (feat. Charli XCX)," which has been featured everywhere from HBO's Girls to Glee. When they performed on Saturday afternoon inside of the SKYY Vodka tent, the crowd was so large that people spilled out on all sides, dancing energetically in the calf-deep puddles. The ladies took a few moments before their set to sit down with MC to chat about music festival fashion, girl power anthems, and their style icons. Spoiler alert: they include the Spice Girls.

What’s your favorite aspect of music festival style?
Aino: I think the only thing you need are sunglasses, and then you feel that you immediately have like, superpowers!
Caroline: And wellies or something.
Aino: Festivals are more about music, but it becomes so "fashion," because people are so relaxed. You just wake up and you look more like a rock star. You look more gorgeous the last day.
Caroline: People can do whatever they want to and I like that. We’re not good at following trends, we just like the side of fashion where you express yourself. And when it comes to festivals, it’s all about the music and expressing yourself. But I think sometimes when you see that someone has been like spending hours on makeup, hair, and putting their clothes together, it’s not rock star. I like when you see that someone’s hair is a little bit fussy, and you’ve been sleeping in a tent and you’ve been putting on your favorite shorts, and it’s all about the music.

What do you guys admire most about each other’s style?
Aino: I think we have kind of similar style, because we share everything 'cause we travel so much, but I think everything looks so different on each other. I mean, I love the shorts thing Caroline has going on, she fits so good in a pair of shorts, and I don’t.
Caroline: I mean it’s weird, Aino can put on anything and it looks cool. That’s her superpower. It’s true!

Are there any other female artists whose style and careers you really look up to?
Aino: I think Patti Smith has the coolest look. She looks amazing with the feminine-meets-masculine thing. She’s always wearing shirts, that’s amazing, and hats.
Caroline: Prince! I know he’s a guy, but he’s wearing high heels, so I think I can mention him. Always looking stunning. And the ladies… P.J. Harvey, she’s so cool. But when we were growing up, we were jumping around in inflatable backpacks, silver coats, and very 90’s clothes looking up to the Spice Girls. Also, No Doubt. No Doubt was so cool.

Your song "I Love It" is such a great girl power anthem. Do you guys have a particular song that you put on when you’re feeling down on yourself?
Aino: There are so many! Lately I've been listening to "Breezeblocks" by Alt-J and "Psychic City" by Yacht.
Caroline: When it comes to girl power, I'd say Tina Turner.

Your hit song came out of a bout with heartbreak. What advice do you have for women who might be going through a hard time, or trying to go for a dream they have and are struggling a bit?
Caroline: Trust your guts. Your stomach will tell you what you want to do and what you should do. And then throw yourself out there even though it’s scary and dream big. Even though you hit some bumps, you will get up there. Just continue, even though people might tell you that you shouldn’t. Surround yourself with people who give you energy, not take your energy, because that’s the sign of something that is not right. You should be around people who encourage you to do what you want to do. There’s a lot of snakes in the music business, and girls should stick together as well. Girls, we’re so strong together, and we have so many girls at home and everybody is just helping each other out. So many into music, we do collaborations all the time, it’s fun, or you know, you get energy from each other instead of trying to fight each other.

Photo Credit: Kathryn Wirsing

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