Originally from Stockholm, Sweden, electronic music producers and DJ’s Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklöw sold out Hammerstein Ballroom for two consecutive nights this weekend in the heart of Manhattan. Known as Galantis, the duo has been collaborating since 2009, solidifying the direction of their music together in 2012.
To quote Karlsson himself, “We keep the song naked, and when we feel like we have the right one, we put some clothes on it and see how it feels.” This allows for a completely different approach to playing an electronic music show. Their songs are a template for creativity, if you will. There is never a moment where a new instrument or vocal chop cannot be done live.
The opening DJ, Anthony Maniscalco, better known as Hook N Sling, has been a long time friend of Galantis since his inception. Producing funky progressive house music and remixes with a fresh future twist, Hook N Sling crafted the perfect environment to get the crowd grooving for the set to come. Dropping his latest track, “Open Your Eyes” featuring Sam Feldt, Anthony was testing out some of his latest sounds with the early birds. Steering towards more heavy bass music, it was clear the crowd was ready to transition from a hip-shaking house into an energetic bounce.
A short break ensured the energy was maintained for the Galantis set. As the lights faded to reveal the rearranged stage, the crowd was presented with an array several percussive instruments and keyboard synthesizers. This was all in addition to the typical Pioneer CDJ setup you would find at a show of this nature. Having come fresh off of the Main Stage at Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Florida, the group was ready to tear up Hammerstein with some of the latest dance music and their ever-so uplifting beats.
Beginning with a very mellow melodic introduction, the boys pranced around stage waving flags bearing the logo of their group, “The Seafox.” As the music sped up and song progression began to take shape, the crowd knew no more time was going to be wasted building up energy. “No Money (MOTi Remix)” dropped and even the most concrete surfaces could be felt resonating with each kick drum..
The ballroom was heating up but Galantis’s production team had a quick solution on the second drop of “No Money.” CO2 shot out of several cannons spread along the edge of the stage, and the sub-zero temperatures rapidly cooled the room from just a few short blasts. Transitioning into “In My Head,” the melodic drumming now ensued. Karlsson slammed notes on his keyboard while Eklöw jumped on the drums setup behind their mixers. Next, “Theme O” by Madison Mars, the group grabbed Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and laid the a-cappella of the chorus on the build of “Theme O.” This invoked the first of many sing alongs of the night.
Alesso’s “I Wanna Know (Deniz Koyu & Alesso Remix)” was up next with Galantis slamming his cymbals to hype up the build. This song was quickly transitioned into Galantis’s collaboration with Hook N Sling, “Love On Me.” Hook N Sling appeared alongside the duo as the crowd grooved along. “Seafox” made a brief appearance at this time and helped bring on the next wave of fresh new beats. The rest of the set featured music stemming from the roots of electronic music through to today. Galantis’s remix of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” into “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs curated a perfect time warp from the present to the past.
The set bounced between the synths of progressive house, future house, and even some bass music. More often than not in electronic shows it is typical for DJ’s to select tracks that they deem fit despite not owning nor being on the same record label. This can be attributed to the tightly knit community amongst producers. Collaborations over singles hit the charts the second they are complete, and remixes of popular top 40 tunes are taking the radio by storm. Galantis’s most popular track for example, “Runaway (You & I)” kicked off their claim to fame when it was released back in 2014. It hit the radio and streaming services in full force just a few months later, and it set the stage for their debut album, Pharmacy. Naturally they concluded their encore with this hit, but Karlsson and Eklöw used only the crowd and their drums to play it out. All 3,500 people in Hammerstein shouted the lyrics as confetti and CO2 filled the atmosphere for the final time. The chorus was continued by the fans even after the duo walked off the stage and disappeared into the haze.
Galantis’ set lasted about 1.5 hours but featured well over 45 tracks both new and old alike. Many will be released in the months to come, but if this set is any indication of the future of their music, it is heading in only the right directions with a positive reputation to attract new and improved following.
Photos and article by Daniel Stein