When a young Swedish producer called Eric Prydz burst onto the scene back in 2004 with his chart-topping ‘Call On Me’ cover of Steve Winwood’s ‘Valerie’ (Winwood liked it so much he personally re-recorded the vocals) Mixmag immediately snapped him up for a covermount CD.
He’s since sustained his career with his many guises (Pryda, Cirez D) and become a globe-trotting superstar DJ rocking clubs all over with his big-room house (which helped carve the electro house sound of today). Maybe it’s because, like us, he’s also got an arena at Creamfields or maybe it’s because he’s headlining multiple nights on the Mixmag Terrace at Cream Ibiza that, after a couple of years of chasing him, he’s finally checked in with us again.
Interview by Craig Torrance. Originally published in Mixmag in September 2010.
We’ve been chasing an interview with you for a couple of years now but you’ve only just relented. So what’s changed?
I’ve always been a bit press-shy. It’s not that I have anything against the press. I just like to let the music do the talking. Sometimes you need to use the press as you can tell people how things are. It’s a great way of reaching out to your fans.
You’ve got a Pryda arena at Creamfields this year. How does it differ from programming a club?
It’s the first time I’m doing an arena and I’ve tried to get a good mix of different DJs. You don’t want six playing the same sound, that’s boring. I wanted to hand pick DJs that I like who have their own style, like Joris Voorn or Sebastien Leger. Keep it interesting and fresh. Funk D’Void is also doing some amazing stuff, we’re glad to have him.
Will you play early and build it up?
I will play in the evening. I just want to give everyone enough space so they can do their own thing.
Do you play differently at festivals?
Yes! Festivals have all sorts of people with different tastes and so I will definitely play a more big room set. Some tracks work well in a club, but not an arena. You can’t build it up, you need to entertain straight away.
You’re currently in Ibiza preparing to play the Mixmag Terrace at Cream. What do you love about Ibiza crowds?
It’s a mixture of English, New York, Spanish and even Swedish crowds because everyone comes to Ibiza in the summer from all over the world. They’ve been planning to come for months and they just explode.
Any plans for a big live show, like Daft Punk or Deadmau5?
There should be something coming towards the end of the year so keep an eye out. I haven’t got plans to do a live show, I prefer to DJ. There’s more flexibility. Expect something spectacular.
Any plans to work with the Swedish House Mafia?
We’re all close friends. I just got off the phone with Sebastian [Ingrosso] before I spoke to you. I’m probably closest to him. No plans to work with them though as musically we’re in different places right now.
Do you have any rivals in the business? Or people who you’re really into?
I don’t really see it like that. I do my own thing and create my own path. I have my own sound. It’s not a competition. I make music because I love it and I’m not trying to compete with anyone. The people I mentioned before like Joris and Sebastien, that’s why it’s great to have them for Creamfields.
You’ve made some of the big summer tunes over the past few years. Do you have a formula?
I have absolutely no idea. I make music all the time. Sometimes a track I make is loved by ten people, sometimes by ten million. It’s hard to tell, there’s no formula. You can hear if someone has tried to make a hit record and it’s not for real. I just start out playing with beats and drums and then other sound and then the melody forms. It just happens.
What’s currently big in your sets?
The recent Pryda went to number one on Beatport. It’s called ‘The End’ and there’s a big buzz about that. That’s an underground record but it’s exciting. I have some stuff in the pipeline that has potential.
Is there a certain element of euphoria in your big tracks?
Definitely. I like to make music that touches you more than just a kick drum will do. I love to play around with melodies and create some hands-in-the-air moments.
Your 2005 track ‘Aftermath’ is one of the original tracks that pioneered the current electro house sound. Would you agree?
Yeah? Thanks man. I haven’t played it in years, maybe I’ll dig it out and play it tonight.
Which of your musical personas do you prefer?
All of them are my favourites. I like to play and produce a wide variety of styles so recording as Cirez D or Pryda means I can step into someone else’s shoes and do something different. I can make something and then the next day make a banging techno record.
Are you still based in Sweden?
No, I’ve been living in London the last few years, in Clapham, but I’ve recently moved to Chiswick, which is west. It’s a bit quieter and also I wanted to buy. I found this old factory that’s been redone and I fell in love with it and bought it. It’s good because it’s central.
Is your fear of flying still an issue?
Yeah, it’s the main reason I moved to the UK. It’s easier for me to travel to gigs. I fly sometimes when I go to the USA. I flew a few weeks ago back to Stockholm. I had a show to play for 100,000 people for Princess Victoria of Sweden. I couldn’t say no to that so had to fly.
Do you have any methods? Have you tried anything like hypnosis?
I eat shitloads of pills – tranquilisers – to help knock me out and then hopefully I’ll wake up and I’m there. I’ve seen doctors but nothing else has really worked for me.
Has anyone ever tried to spike your milk like BA from the A-team?
Ha ha, no, it’s been suggested but I’m strongly against it.
When was the last time you played or picked up a vinyl record?
I stopped playing vinyl five years ago. When I started it was 100 per cent vinyl, but then I started using CDs with new material I wanted to try out. We still do vinyl for all my labels, but it’s just so hard travelling around with the vinyl. I use only CDs, with lots of different music.
Have you considered using software like Traktor?
All I hear are horror stories about computers crashing at gigs. Then people say ‘bring spare CDs’ but the whole point is that you don’t take CDs. So not right now, but maybe in the future.
You’ve used samples in the past. Is there any record you would never sample?
Anything by Depeche Mode. I’ve made my own edits but I would never sample them and make an original track, that will never happen. I’ve been following them since I was a kid, since their ‘Speak And Spell’ album. They played a huge part in the music I make and are a huge inspiration for me.
What do you get up to in your spare time?
I don’t have that much free time but when I do I try to go home to Sweden and see my friends and family. And do normal stuff like go to the movies and have people round for dinner. I cook, my special is Penne Prydz.