Eric Prydz: The Revolutionary Who Keeps Trying to Escape Fame, But It Always Catches Up With Him

Hardly anyone achieves massive popularity in the Balkans if their name or surname contains letters you can’t find in our alphabet. That said, hardly anyone is as big as Eric Prydz.

14. March 2023. — Author: EXIT

Big hits can be a heavy burden, especially for electronic music artists. Often, for one reason or another, a song sticks with people and radio stations or becomes a cult video, after which its performer is usually pushed into a particular drawer, and their entire life’s work is measured by that one song. Prydz experienced something similar with his famous hit “Call On Me,“ but through his later work, he managed to stand out and become one of the biggest music stars of the 21st century.

If you look closely, you’ll see that Eric’s music encapsulates the history of popular culture. Born in Sweden in the 1970s, he was exposed to various musical trends that he managed to implement in his sound. And so, the 1982 pop-rock hit “Valerie” by Steve Winwood became the song “Call On Me” some 20 years later. The brilliantly selected and polished sample became an unprecedented global hit, and even the song’s original singer loved it, although he admitted that the music was not his cup of tea.

The song undoubtedly became a hit, but that’s nothing compared to what happened with the music video. It became an absolute phenomenon. The internet had not yet entirely taken off. Bandwidths were lower, and an internet router was not yet a mandatory item in every household. However, even in such a time, “Call On Me” managed to “break the internet.

In the video, a group of women performs aerobics in a highly suggestive and erotic way. It had two versions, a slightly cleaner one and one that was a bit dirtier. Everyone, literally everyone, saw it at least once during those years. Even the British Prime Minister at the time, Tony Blair, had an opinion. Vice named it the “Sexiest Music Video of All Time.” The title was well deserved.

After that, Prydz could, in football parlance, hang up his boots and live off the royalties or milk the song’s fame to exhaustion. However, he does a complete U-turn and kind of distances himself from the whole thing. He is grateful for all the love that this song has received but does not play it at shows.

Eric keeps digging up iconic pop-culture moments and releases a new major hit, “Proper Education,” sampling the timeless anthem of youth rebellion, “Another Brick in the Wall,” by the famous Pink Floyd. The song becomes a big hit, and the video popularises parkour with its constant airing on music TV stations.

He was also a member of the so-called Swedish electronic music national team, better known as Swedish House Mafia, but only initially. He quickly separated from this famous trio (Axwell, Ingrosso, Angello) and continued on his own path, although he did, sporadically, in the further course of his career, collaborate with each of them individually.

Why did he do that when the “house mafia” could have been a quartet performing worldwide and making unprecedented amounts of money? Because he had his own plan of how and what he should do, another step forward compared to the electronic music of the time.

Eric Prydz presents Pryda” was released in 2012, three years after he first gave the world a new type of beat called Pryda, which has since been used by many great house, trance, and EDM artists (particularly Martin Garrix and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike come to mind), to mark a song’s progression. Eric Prydz presents Pryda was his first album, comprising as many as three discs, featuring new tracks, but also old ones in a new guise.

The revolution in his music did not stop there. The live performances kept getting bigger and bigger, the visualisations were out of this world, he received an award for the best live mix of the year, and then he opened up a new world once again, creating his cult album “Opus” in 2016. It’s hard to imagine that the same person behind the sexy aerobics video “Call On Me” made this album, which Spin magazine put on its list of the best releases in the last decade.

The famous British producer Four Tet also made sure that everyone knew Eric was not only a pop hit DJ from the early 2000s but a name that we must pay attention to and talk about in superlatives, with his remix of the song “Opus.“ With that gesture, he forced the “too cool for school” section of the hipster world to pay attention to Eric, and the two of them became very good friends in the meantime. Furthermore, Erik delivered the audio-visual spectacle “HOLO,” a show that leaves audiences speechless with one of the most production-heavy presentations today.

We could say that the sky is the limit for the moment this electronic music giant enters the massive Dance Arena in front of 20,000 people. Still, even that wouldn’t come close to describing what could happen and what we will feel that night, the 7th of July in Novi Sad, at EXIT festival.

Written by: Miloš Dašić