"People always ask us if there is something in the water and the answer is 'yes,'" she says. "The water tastes like a lick from heaven. In Sweden we have this word that doesn't exist anywhere else in the world: Lagom. It means not too much but not too little -- kind of perfect, or, more in the middle. It's not a positive or a negative word. But I guess that Sweden is a very trend-sensitive country when it comes to a lot of art forms and we do a lot of things very lagom."
Aino Jawo, Icona Pop's second half, adds, "Also its a small country, so if you are good at something then it spreads fast and you get the chance to work with fantastic people. And I guess that when you travel a lot the Lagom meets the crazy things you go through and it becomes a good creative chaos."
Having just released a second EP in October (Iconic), Icona Pop is now taking clubs by storm with its internationally revered hit "I Love It." Contrary to the song's verse ("I crashed my car into the bridge/I don't care/I love it"), apparently there was no actual crash bridge to spark the tune's overall sentiment but the Swedish ladies have a vivid, metaphoric imagination.
"In our minds we have been crashing many cars," Hjelt says. "We were recording our song 'Good for You' in the studio when our friend/producer Patrik Berger showed us a track he did together with Charli XCX. We loved it and could really connect to the song and we where both going through some love drama at that time. We asked Charli XCX if we could use it and we took it to our friend Style of Eye to make it more Icona Pop. We wanted to make it more punk and empowering. Patrik Berger and Style of Eye [did] an amazing job and it came out exactly like we wanted."
As it happens, Charli XCX is featured on one of many creative remixes of "I Love It." And as far as love drama, that is one of the common threads that originally tied Icona Pop together, since both Hjelt and Jawo joined forces under independently heartbroken conditions.
"I remember it so clearly," Jawo recalls of the day she made Hjelt's acquaintance. "I was so empty and had nothing to lose. When I met Caroline I really felt pure love and energy. Caroline always says it feels like it was an electrical clash that night and I totally agree. Pure magic and friendship was born. So guess I have to thank that guy who dumped me. Thank you!"
"We found each other early in 2009," Hjelt adds. "A broken heart and a restless soul got together after one neon-lit night and the day after with a bottle of wine and a laptop we wrote our first song. From that day on, Icona pop was formed."
The duo recently relocated to New York City and has only played a smattering of U.S. shows over the last few months, including the CMJ festival. They said the highlights of their first stateside gigs included a performance on a boat with MTV -- "we felt like Pippi Longstocking" -- and a gig at Brooklyn Bowl during which their gear stopped working.
"We had to figure out a new way of playing things and the crowd was amazing," Hjelt says. "It kind of felt like we were one with the audience."
This December, however, marks Icona Pop's first-ever U.S. tour, supporting Marina and the Diamonds.
"We've been having a lot of shows here in the U.S. but [have] never been on a proper tour," Hjelt says. "We love Marina nad the Diamonds. She is a wonderful girl. It's gonna be a crazy and fun tour. We are so excited."
And even though they're embarking on new territory, the ladies don't feel there is anything to be intimidated by.
"We try to live in the moment. If you think too much you always get a little bit messy in your head and get nervous over things that you really can't control," Hjelt says. "As long as you have fun, [are] proud and love what you are doing, then you can't really take in what everyone else thinks. Well, I guess once you've been down at the bottom you aren't that frightened in the same way."
Since "the bottom" -- which wasn't that long ago -- Icona Pop has come a long way. Their first full-length studio album will be released on Big Beat, a branch of Warner Music Group, early next year.
"We [have] been on a musical adventure and you can definitely hear that in our songs," Hjelt says. "All the traveling, living in a suitcase, writing with different people and also experience has left its mark after three and a half years. We are constantly craving new ways of writing and experimenting with the music as much as we can. We want people to feel the electronic clash we felt that night when we met when people listen to our music."