It’s been 10 years since Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo — the duo known as Icona Pop — released their debut self-titled album, which became omnipresent on airwaves with their breakout hit “I Love It.”
Now the group has returned with “Club Romantech,” their third studio album, which is being released on Friday and offers their fans even more up-tempo, electro-fused fare.
“I feel like this album has been such a journey for us,” Hjelt said backstage on Sunday in Los Angeles ahead of the Streamy Awards, where they performed “Fall in Love,” their new single. “We almost had our album ready before the pandemic, and we were supposed to release it, and then the pandemic hit, and we were like, ‘Oh, my god, what are we going do?’ And we started going to the studio every day.”
The duo left Los Angeles and returned to their native Sweden, where pandemic safety protocols were not as restrictive as in other parts of the world, and the isolation manifested into a creative space. “We said, ‘Let’s just write, let’s have no rules, let’s have fun, and really explore where we want to go.’ And the more we started doing it, we also started talking about this sweet escape of ours, ‘Club Romantech,’ a place where we wanted to invite our fans, and just all the good things we know about dance music,” Hjelt explained.
“We kind of always laugh because this album is so electronic and also so dance-y,” said Jawo, adding, “It’s so weird how we wrote that album during [my pregnancy] and there was no party happening in the world. That’s when we felt the club music in our veins.”
Much like the looks seen in the music video for “Fall in Love,” they revisited similar boxy menswear-inspired blazers with raver twists for their Streamys red carpet arrival. The jackets were custom designed for their tours.
“We love to mix,” Jawo said. “We love contrast, like playing with masculine and feminine,” Hjelt added. “I think the core is always going to be like, a little bit dressed, but then we just love to mix it up, mix it up with different more unexpected things like today for the performance. Swarovski custom-made two pieces for us, and when we saw the pieces, we’re like, ‘Wow, this is a lot.’ But when you added that to the outfit we’re wearing today, it just made a really cool mix.”
As a duo, Jawo and Hjelt aim to maintain their individuality while remaining synchronized when it comes to their looks. Their outfits for the red carpet and the stage were prime examples. For the performance, Jawo wore a Swarovski crystal-embellished top with latticework sleeves over a tan bralette and high-waisted green stretch pants with thigh cutouts, while Hjelt coordinated in a black corset and matching biker shorts overlaid by a Swarovski crystal-embellished latticework belt.
“We decided to be a little bit more classy on the red carpet,” Hjelt said. ”I have a dress from The Attico with cutouts and little shoulder pads. But then I wanted to be a little bit more rock ‘n’ roll, so I picked a pair of shoes from Ottolinger with studs.”
“And I have a vintage Givenchy glitter dress,” Jawo said, “and then I have my Maison Margiela split toes shoes.”
Jawo calls Hjelt’s style “punk-glamourous” and Hjelt describes her bandmate’s style also as complementarily “punk,” but “not too ladylike” due to her tattoos and penchant for grills.
“It’s so weird because we usually, without talking, make it look like we’re matching,” Hjelt added. “We might not wear the same stuff, but it’s in the same world, and somehow it just works really good together — maybe that’s because we’ve been a band for 14 years.”
The Streamys also featured a performance by Armani White. Hosted by MatPat, the 13th annual show recognized outstanding achievements in digital content creation. Winners included MrBeast for Creator of the Year, Kai Cenat for Streamer of the Year, Mikayla Nogueira won honors for beauty content and Wisdom Kaye won in the fashion and style category. The full show is available to view video on-demand on Streamys.watch. Dick Clark Productions and Tubefilter’s Streamy Awards is part of WWD’s parent company, Penske Media Corp.