What happens when two producers who live and breathe pop and dance music set aside the digital bells and MIDI whistles, and sit down at the piano first? That’s what Christian Karlsson, a.k.a. Bloodshy, and Linus Eklöw, a.k.a. Style of Eye, ask themselves every time they hit the studio as Galantis. Since 2012, the Swedish duo has crafted some of the most unforgettable songs in dance pop, and they’ve done it by turning the usual equation—make a beat, then graft a melody on top—on its head. It’s a holistic approach that makes their hooks stand out—and their drops are nothing to sneeze at either.
The two met when Karlsson’s trio Miike Snow hired Eklöw to remix the group’s 2009 hit “Animal,” and the producers found common ground in arcane synths and nuanced songwriting. Both brought serious clout to the table. Karlsson, born in rural Loftahammar in 1975, had penned plenty of pop hits—including Britney Spears’ 2004 smash “Toxic”—in the duo Bloodshy & Avant; Stockholm native Eklöw, born in 1979, had cut his teeth making frisky house and techno as Style of Eye, and in 2012 he had cowritten and coproduced Icona Pop’s “I Love It.” Galantis’ debut album, 2015’s Pharmacy, proved a perfect merger of their skill sets, pairing the filter-swept rush of main-stage EDM with canny chord changes and sly melodic twists.
That versatility has become Galantis’ calling card. In the mid 2010s, as big-room house ruled the festival landscape, they cleverly used EDM’s techniques as a Trojan horse to seduce unsuspecting ravers with joyous, carefree pop songs like “Runaway (U & I)” and “Peanut Butter Jelly.” In the years since, even as dance trends have changed, Galantis haven’t much altered their approach; they’ve branched into tropical rhythms and slinky R&B accents, and fleshed out their own emotive falsettos with guest spots from John Newman, OneRepublic, and even Dolly Parton. But the heart of Galantis remains the same: powerful grooves and uplifting choruses, as elemental as the keyboard’s ebony and ivory.