Bright Lights, Bladee City | GQ

Benjamin Reichwald, the Swedish musician generally known as Bladee and a founding member of the very-online music collective Drain Gang, is nice at sending memes. In response to his pal and countryman Jonas Rönnberg, who additionally performs as Varg2™, Bladee sends one of the best memes of anybody he’s ever recognized.

“Each time Benjamin sends me a meme I’m like, ‘Nah, for actual.’ As a result of the factor is, he’s so fast,” says Varg. “We are able to have a dialog within the studio after which one hour later I’m in mattress smoking and I’ll open my telephone and Benjamin sends a meme, which is an entire low-blow on precisely what I used to be speaking about. And I’m like, ‘Goddamn. How the fuck? The place do you retailer this?’ That’s one thing that interprets effectively with us making artwork and making music. That’s the identical quickness of Benjamin.”

Benjamin Reichwald, a.ok.a. the Swedish musician Bladee, in Manhattan.

Bladee met Varg by Stockholm’s tight-knight music and graffiti scenes, which additionally produced the rapper Yung Lean and his musical crew Sadboys, in addition to Bladee’s childhood classmate and fellow Drain Gang member Ecco2k. All of those artists have racked up thousands and thousands of streams with their hyper-processed, phantasmic music concerning the boring distress (and occasional magnificence) of rising up in Sweden—which carries worldwide attraction, given the boring distress (and occasional magnificence) of rising up in most locations.

Although Drain Gang shaped in 2013, their recognition skyrocketed throughout the pandemic, when out of the fiery brimstone of Reddit, Discord, and TikTok emerged a brand new era of Drainers, largely stereotyped as bored teenage and 20-something boys. For Drain Gang, Unhappy Boys, and their ilk, what started as sharing difficult, pitched-up songs on Soundcloud grew to become, within the shadow of Abba, Robyn, and Max Martin, a continuation of the nice Swedish custom of creating English-language pop music loved the world over.

Bladee himself appeared on two tracks with EDM famous person Skrillex earlier this yr, and now appears to be on the sting of real-deal pop-star success—or at the least as shut as any freaky artist can get within the streaming period. However when Bladee and Varg’s labels requested them to report an album a yr in the past, they began portray collectively as a substitute. Now they’ve snagged a joint present in zeitgeisty gallery The Gap’s Tribeca basement.

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