On the Record With Former Swedish House Mafia DJ Steve Angello

Swedish House Mafia DJ Steve Angello Audemars Piguet
Steve Angello is wearing the Audemars Piguet Survivor Royal Oak Offshore All Black. All photography by Mike Ho.

We decided to begin a series of articles on DJs and watches to see what connection exists between the DJ world and the horological world. To our surprise, we discovered one of the most incredible watch collections of any musician.

You’ve most likely heard of Sweedish House Mafia DJ Steve Angello—if not his name, at least his music. The international DJ rose to fame as one of the three original members of Swedish House Mafia, and has since moved on to a very successful solo career, producing and remixing some of the largest hits of the last few years. After seeing him perform during Swedish House Mafia’s final bow at Ultra Miami last year, we sat down with him to talk about the watch that was on his wrist that night, and found out he had quite a few more. For the first time ever, he reveals his entire watch collection.

DN: How did you first become interested in watches?

SA: I was pretty young when I first became interested in watches. At the time, it was viewed as one of the few accessories acceptable for a man. My first watch was a vintage Rolex GMT with this amazing rounded crystal. I purchased it at a store in Paris. This was the beginning of my collection of Rolexes. I would look for different faces, limited edition pieces. Since DJing required that I travel often, I would find stuff that was not seen everywhere.

DN: What is your favorite watch brand now?

SA: I would have to say that now it’s Audemars Piguet. I own 19 of them… A watch is a reflection of your style; it says a lot about who you are, and it defines you as a person. Every man should have a great watch. It does not have to be very expensive. But it should say something about you.

Today, when I travel, I tend to dress comfortably. In that setting, wearing a nice watch speaks to who you are as a person and what your tastes are. If you wear a watch blinged out with diamond, versus a watch with many complications, you are two different people.

I have learned to love Audemars Piguet watches, and it has been a journey for me. I have been to the Audemars Piguet factory, and have seen the work and passion that goes into each piece. That is one of the reasons I love this brand. The company is one of the few independent brands; independence appeals to me as an artist.

Swedish House Mafia DJ Steve Angello Audemars Piguet

DN: Nineteen Audemars Piguets—that’s impressive. How do you decide which watch to wear?

SA: I find that I wear certain watches for certain occasions. I have my everyday watches and then I have special watches, which I may wear for special occasions, like an award show—not necessarily more expensive, just nicer, [perhaps] with different materials or colors. And when I am feeling more creative, I may choose a different watch. Watches really can be a reflection of my mood.

DN: It seems to me that watch brands and DJ superstars are natural partners because their hands are shot a lot on camera. Have you noticed an increased interest from watch brands in electronic music?

SA: Yes and no. Electronic music is still being established. It’s not like with athletes that are proven from a marketing standpoint. If you think about it, electronic music is still relatively new. I find that it’s the smaller brands that are approaching DJs more than the bigger brands. But I really don’t think it will change until DJs start to think more like artists and are viewed more as creators of music as opposed to [just music players]. As that happens, and it will, interest will increase from everywhere.

DN: Is there any particular DJ who introduced you to watches or made you sparked your interest in watches?

SA: Actually no, I developed this interest on my own. Watches were not very big among DJs when I started. I fell in love with the story of watches, the craftsmanship, and the history; that was the hook for me.

DN: Time is such an important part of DJing; does that have relevance as to why you are interested in watches?

SA: No, but it might be a travel thing; time is very valuable to a DJ and we spend a lot of time on the road. I also value the mechanics of it. In a digital world, a mechanical watch is a completely analogue machine. And you value it much more because of that. Diamonds on a digital watch may cost the same as a mechanical watch, but I would not value it nearly as much.

DN: Hip-hop stars have gravitated to flashy watches with diamonds; world leaders seem to gravitate towards understated, elegant watches. What watch type or brand do you think is or will be representative of DJs?

SA: When I started collecting, I did not see many nice watches on DJs, but now I see a lot of APs in matte black, not the show-off flashy kind. Those or steel Rolexes, I would say, are most representative of DJs now.

DN: I can’t help but notice the amazing Takashi Murakami piece in your home; can you tell us what interests you about most about the art you collect?

SA: Art is bold, beautiful, or both. Sometimes when music doesn’t inspire me I turn to art. I’m a visual guy and most of the times I need my artworks finished to compose the music. I need to visualize the way the music will sound.

DN: Who are the artists that interest you the most?

SA: Murakami, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Tyler Shields. Four very different artists that speaks very well through art.

Swedish House Mafia DJ Steve Angello Audemars Piguet
Rolex and Audemars Piguet from Steve Angello’s collection.

DN: Do you see a relationship between your interest in music, watches and art? How do they influence each other?

SA: Absolutely. Music is an art form that needs to be inspired by the world around you. I don’t usually leave the house when I write music. It could be months. So I need to have that inspiration at home where I have built my own world.

DN: What is your dream watch?

SA: I still don’t own my dream watch. I did see a Rolex GMT, Arabic edition, with a beautiful domed glass; I don’t know exactly which one it was, but it was made for a royal gulf family. I can’t seem to get it out of my head, so I may try for one like it. Also, I owned an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Carbon Concept Tourbillon that I sold for some reason. I would like to buy it back; I will at some point.

Steve Angello’s latest album, “Wild Youth”, will be released on an independent label at the end of the year.

Swedish House Mafia DJ Steve Angello Audemars Piguet

 Photo Credit: Haute Time. For more information, please visit the official Steve Angello website.