A Sneak Peek at the Swedish House Mafia Doc ‘Take One’

Yesterday, just before Swedish House Mafia’s documentary, Take One, debuted inside one of the screening rooms at William Morris Entertainment, a busty Beverly Hills brunette not attending the preview stopped SHM member Steve Angello on the street. “Are you in Swedish House Mafia,” she asked sheepishly, before explaining that both she and her boyfriend were “huge fans.” Sure, this kind of thing happens to rock stars, but DJs from Sweden? Not so much. Expect Angello and his two bandmates, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso, to start getting recognized more frequently in 2011, as all signs point to the ascendant act becoming EMI’s next Daft Punk, minus the crippling fear of recognition.

“DJs are the new rock stars,” Angello said before the 45-minute-long documentary played to friends and media. “We’ve done venues bigger than U2. It’s amazing to see that people in America are picking up on what we are doing,” he added. Not only are U.S. fans flocking to SHM shows (they have high profile Halloween engagements in Miami and Las Vegas this weekend), but they are buying the act’s just-released disc, Until One, which is expected to place high on Billboard’s Top 200 chart next week.

The trio, who are being tipped as a potential Coachella dance tent headliner in 2011, are hoping their new mini-movie will help hook American fans on their brand of euphoric, crescendo-heavy house, which has already won over Europe and Scandinavia. The film is an interesting insider look at the hectic lives of Angello, Axwell, and Ingrosso as they tour the globe.

Yesterday, friends and even a few buttoned-down WME talent agents seemed genuinely enraptured at the end of the hilarious and engrossing doc. Imagine a cross between Soulwax’s 2008 film, Part of the Weekend Never Dies, and Madonna’s classic Truth or Dare, and you’re getting close.

Documentaries such as SMH’s latest are not new for electronic music fans (see Justice’s mildly amusing but self-indulgent 2008 U.S. tour documentary). But director Christian Larson smartly keeps Take One moving briskly, with tight edits, black and white footage, and an honest look at what it’s like to be one of the world’s most in-demand electronic music acts. We’re talking private jets, gratuitous clips of under-dressed female fans, more gratuitous shots of one of Angello’s exotic sports cars, footage of endless gigs before tens of thousands worldwide and, of course, the inevitable clichéd close-up of fist-pumping crowds.

But the best moments of Take One are the quieter ones when the trio is between gigs, just being themselves. Especially engaging are the in-studio shots of SHM actually making music, something rarely captured on film or given proper respect amongst electronic music purveyors.

Larson (who confirmed my suspicion that the inspiration for the character in his fantastic clip for SHM’s “Miami2Ibiza” was in fact Lindsay Lohan) filmed the three DJs in the studio during the creation of the opening hook for their track with Pharrell “One (Your Name),” and it’s the most thrilling three minutes any real music fan will likely see on film this year. The magic is in the genesis of a hit, and Larson filmed the moment masterfully. “It’s about what we do,” Angello said of documentary. “Not only about the shows and the preparation for our shows, but also showing everything about us. This is our rock band.”

Take One will be released on DVD November 29th. Check the trailer below.

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