people behave that way. Is it out of bad habit? Is it because they don’t know any better? Or is it because they actually want you to feel smaller?” Jawo continues: “As a woman, I feel that sometimes you have to be twice as good as a man to be considered a ‘good’ performer.” Consequently, the necessity to query others moves through Icona Pop’s entire vision. It’s vital to have success on their own terms and being rulers of their own destiny. Their bold blend of pop may be packed with attitudes from an expressively feminist perspective, but Hjelt and Jawo are also the bosses of clothes, artwork and videos. They have a strong determination to not delegate artistic decisions and not repeat past mistakes of that nature. “When you start out as an artist it’s easy to think that if you just get signed you’re safe, you’re fine. You don’t realize that’s when the work starts. Also, you don’t ask enough questions because you don’t want to come off as stupid or inexperienced, and can end up blindly trusting people,” says Hjelt.
Over the years they’ve both come to accept possibly being annoying. Saying they’d rather leave a meeting having asked a million questions again and again and knowing exactly what they’re up against, rather than being paralyzed by fear and ending up clueless. There’s a multitude of grubby hands out there trying to get in on the action and it’s important to Icona Pop to know why and when to fend them off. “When you make sure you know everything, you can trust your own guts and make an informed decision. Asking questions is so important. We want to know, we want to learn. We want to be better at everything we’re doing, not just ride along. That’s not our style. We all make mistakes, that’s how we learn. It’s okay to not always have it together, as long as you’re doing what you want and what you like.” Or, as Hjelt concludes it in her trademark matter-of-fact way: “If you try to please everyone, you will end up destroyed.”