By John HoodW“Where are you?”
“At The W.”
“What are you doing?”
“Just finished chatting up Crystal Method for ADANAI.”
“Cool. Don’t move. We’ll be there in 15 minutes.”
The cat asking ‘bout my whereabouts, Oscar Sidebo, is a gentleman among men who possesses a style and grace becoming more and more rare in this mad brash dash of a world. Considering he’s also ace handler of one of the most ubiquitous names in current Pop and has pretty much navigated their meteoric rise without losing an ounce of either his style or his grace only makes him all the more remarkable.
It also makes it superfluous to ask who “we” might be.
See, Oscar is the man who keeps the skyrocket in flight for the delightful two-piece unit called Icona Pop.
Sure enough, 15 minutes later a black SUV pulls up in front of W South Beach and out pops Caroline Hjelt, one half of the rousingly renowned duo.
“Hey, John Hood!”
And by the time we can hug out a proper Hello, a presence behind me says, “Get in the car.”
It’s Oscar, of course. He doesn’t have a knife and he doesn’t have a gun (not that I see anyway). Then, he doesn’t need one. Because when the cat who makes sure Icona Pop continually has a chance to be all that tells you to do something, well, you do it. Or else, why bother?
Aino Jawo awaits me inside the vehicle, and within a matter of seconds I find myself a veritable Icona Pop sandwich.
In other words: I’ve just been Hoodnapped.
In the front passenger seat is a lensman named Felix, on board to shoot the proceedings. Once the gals and I get through the preliminary how-have-you-beens and I’ve actually wrapped my numb skull around the fact that Icona Pop has actually just snatched me up, Felix asks me to start talking.
Now, I get to get with a lotta très cool folks, and as blessed as I am by all the collidings, I still kinda remain my own favorite subject. So to ask me to talk about myself on camera is like asking a lion to roar for the crowd in front of a giant mirror. And boy, did I comply.
I shan’t bore you with the details; I will say I didn’t shut up till we crossed over to the mainland, doubled back and landed at the foot of a mansion on Hibiscus Island, one of four exclusive enclaves between Miami proper and Miami Beach.
And what a wowsome scene we smash into. Floor-to-ceiling Swedes of the keenest coolest variety dancing, drinking, carousing and, yes, frolicking in the bayfront pool. There is beauty, there is sexy, there is joy, and from the looks of things, there isn’t a cool kid left in all of Stockholm.
Being with the country’s reigning stars of course gives me a certain cachet. So does the fact that I happen to be the only cat in a three-piece suit, tie and hat. No matter what I’m wearing though, Icona Pop gives me the juice.
And that’s no accident. Sure, the gals are talented (très talented) and, yes, there’s obviously a certain amount of luck that plays into having a song that becomes the de facto theme for an entire year around the whole wide world. But Icona Pop have worked it, and worked at it, as hard and as relentlessly as any determined to live their most picturesque dreams.The gals and I first met when they debuted at Ultra in 2013; we then re-collided when they hit Miami’s Grand Central on their subsequent summer headlining club tour. In between, they’d done Jimmy Kimmel, Good Morning America and, likely, likewise in every country they set song.
They’d also followed the choice placement of “I Love It” in Girls with equal footing in The Vampire Diaries, Dancing with the Stars and Glee.
Now they’re back, doing something so top secret they won’t even tell me, their theoretical captive.
“C’mon, Oscar. You’ve got me here. I can’t say anything to anyone that you won’t know about. What are you guys doing in Miami this Music Week?”
“Okay, since you’re in our custody I guess we can tell you what’s up.” he replied. “Tonight we’re guest starring on the Main Stage at Ultra with Tiesto.”
“Wow! That’s fantastic! You’re doing ‘I Love It,’ I’m guessing?”
“Yes, and a new song too!”
“What? Two songs with Tiesto on the Main Stage at Ultra during prime time? That’s beyond fantastic! What’s the new song?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“Huh? What do you mean you can’t tell me? I’m here, with you. I’ll hear it in a few hours anyway.”
“Then you’ll hear it in a few hours. We’re sworn to secrecy, and we don’t break our word.”
As disappointed as I was to not be privy to the scoop, especially considering my proximity, I was more impressed that Icona Pop wouldn’t break their word. Talk about style and grace. They’ve got so much of both, it informs their ethics!
Even better, later, when I heard Icona Pop perform “Let’s Go” with Tiesto, the thought that they wouldn’t even spill the beans to their kidnap victim only deepened my respect for the gals — and for their handler Oscar.
There’s a damn good reason why Icona Pop has become a household name. It’s because they’re cool, they’re keen, they’re fun, they’re diligent, and they’re one of the few in the game called Pop who retain that singular ingredient: integrity.
How can you not love it?!?