There’s been no shortage of chatter over another possible Swedish House Mafia reunion since Ultra released their , Angello confirmed to a fan in a DM that he is booked for gigs in Asia during the latter part of March. Second, when Billboard speculated a 2018 SHM return, the group’s longtime manager Amy Thomson categorically denied the news via Twitter. Third, while a possible SHM reunion seems inevitable, right now just isn’t the right time. While the group remain good friends, let us remember the trio originally disbanded five years ago because they felt what they were doing was artistically empty. As Angello told HuffPost,
“I think we felt like it had become a very big machine. I think the pressure … It just wasn’t having fun anymore. It was this humongous monster. We felt like tired.”
Thus, the possibility of an SHM reunion seems inevitable on the longer horizon. The moment can and will happen when Ingrosso, Angello, and Axwell collectively feel creatively compelled to create something substantively meaningful — sans any big anniversary line-ups, financial motivation, or commercial gain. As art should be.
So then, what’s the big surprise?
Several fan hypotheses have popped up on r/UMF over more practical predictions as to what we might expect from a twentieth anniversary line-up that says to “expect the unexpected.” First, there’s been speculation over long time friend Alesso joining Axwell and Ingrosso for some sort of SHM offshoot performance. Another possibility is the return of Avicii, as the star made his meteoric return to dance music just this past year. Additionally, Jack Ü is another likely performance to expect, since the duo comprised of Diplo and Skrillex made their debut at Ultra 2014. With Hardwell and Armin van Buuren’s huge b2b performance as Two Is One taking place at Amsterdam Music Festival 2017, hopes have also been high over a follow up performance among Ultra fans.
It’s difficult to determine the many possibilities Ultra has in store for 2018. While the evidence to a SHM reunion seems bleak in the eyes of some, yet hopeful in the eyes of others, we find that speculation leads to expectation, and expectation leads to disappointment. To let go of expectation is to be content with whatever outcome Ultra Music Festival has in store for their 20th anniversary festival.
Photo credit: Jordan Lloyd