Icona Pop goes to Gotland
Join Swedish popstars Icona Pop on Gotland – the island where they come to breathe fresh air and dance the pain away.
”We’ve almost spent more time on Gotland this year than home in Stockholm,” says Caroline Hjelt. The I Love It duo have just wrapped up an intense week of filming TV show Så Mycket Bättre in the southern part of the island and are looking forward to a rare weekend off.
Gotland is where you come to unwind. And the largest island in the Baltic caters to all versions of unwinding: dancing all night, open-air yoga by impressive limestone sea stacks, or exploring the island’s ancient history sites.
To Icona Pop, a vacation on Gotland means exactly all that (and then some).
”We’ve had so many great party nights on Gotland,” says Aino Jawo. ”I remember this one show we played in the harbour: after the show we rushed off stage and out to the parking lot, where we hid in a car, recording background vocals for a new song.”
Icona Pop’s music seems to always be created on the run. Coming off the adrenaline rush of a live show, or inspired by the euphoric after hours of a long and wild party night.
The air is so fresh, and people are full of energy and freedom. Nothing compares to Swedish summer.
”We don’t really need fancy studios to make good music. We’re actually at our best when things are a little grimy,” says Caroline Hjelt and recalls another fond Gotland memory:
”I used to have a summer house on Bungenäs [on the northern tip of the island]. We brought some equipment out on the porch and recorded music. We had been holed up in the studio for so long, so making music under the Swedish summer sky felt magical.”
”Sweden is like a different world in summer,” says Aino Jawo. ”The air is so fresh, and people are full of energy and freedom. Nothing compares to Swedish summer.”
We start our Gotland getaway in Visby, the island’s main town, known for the medieval wall surrounding the centre, its cute cottages and cobblestone streets. Oh, and for the unbeatable summer party scene. And by coincidence, Icona Pop has created the perfect soundtrack for summer’s never-ending nights. Their latest single Girls Girls hints of both tropical and deep house, and relies on the duo’s trademark ‘I just have to dance to this song!’ sound.
CAROLINE: ”We wanted to celebrate all the amazing girls we know. Women who stand for something, who make their voices heard. We talk a lot about how important it is to feel alive. To do things that make you feel alive and to not be judged by it. Whether it’s dancing away a heartbreak or making a 2am booty call. We want to say ‘good for you! Be proud of those things.’”
AINO: ”We all have different ways of dealing with things. There is nothing wrong with going out dancing to get over something.”
WHEN DO YOU FEEL THE MOST ALIVE?
AINO: ”On stage! It’s one of those rare moments when we are absolutely present in the here and now.”
CAROLINE: ”You can’t be up on stage thinking about what you’re having for dinner tomorrow.”
From Visby we go north. Up to Fårö, the tiny island where filmmaker Ingmar Bergman famously lived and died. The nature is overwhelming. Long stretches of pebble stone beaches shattered with giant sea stacks, or raukar as the locals call them.
CAROLINE: ”Fårö is so exotic, the landscape so austere. And then there are amazing beaches, and all these super cosy cafés.”
AINO: ”I love the silence here.”
ICONA POP’S GUIDE TO GOTLAND
HOW TO GET THERE
The ferry from Stockholm takes three hours. If you prefer to go by air, it’s a 30-minute flight from Stockholm.
There is a 5-minute ferry ride connecting Fårö to Gotland.
WHAT TO PACK
A pair of really nice bikini bottoms. We prefer to sunbathe topless! We always pack lots of shirts. Use your shirt as a throw-over at the beach, or tie the ends into a knot and wear it to a party. This summer we also love crop tops. Pair with high-waisted jeans and you have the perfect combo of glam and rock ‘n’ roll.
WHERE TO BEACH
Gotland has so many great beaches, especially at Fårö. Pebble stones are great because you don’t get sand everywhere, but sandy beaches feel a little more sexy.
WHERE TO EAT
"In Visby we love Supper – great food and the vibe is amazing.
Don’t miss Kutens Bensin on Fårö, it’s an old gas station that houses a crêperie. The crêpes and desserts are to die for. And while on Fårö, stop by Sylvis Döttrar for the best cardamom rolls."
WHERE TO DANCE
"Kallis, Kallbadhuset in Visby. But you have to be prepared to go all in! Do one night at Kallis, and then you’ve had your dose of partying."
WHO: Aino Jawo, 30, and Caroline Hjelt, 29
LIVES: The duo spend most of their time in Los Angeles, but they still call Stockholm home
MUSIC: Girls Girls will be followed by new releases after summer, and eventually by a third studio album
PHOTOGRAPHER Emma Svensson
STYLIST Ellen Pålsson Norberg
HAIR Joanna Rask | MIKAS Looks
MAKEUP Veronica Lindqvist | MIKAS Looks