No compromise for DJ star
SWEDISH superstar DJ Avicii admits he’s ‘‘completely super sick’’ of some of his big hits – but that won’t stop him from dusting them off for January’s True tour.
The 24-year-old Stockholm native (real name Tim Bergling) has only been massive for a couple of years now but has already amassed a grab bag of tracks he’s almost contractually obliged to play: think Levels, Fade Into Darkness and Silhouettes alongside recent radio staples Wake Me Up and Hey Brother.
‘‘I met so many artists that can look at that as something negative and that (hit) track becomes something that just follows them for 10 years,’’ he says.
‘‘But to me it’s really an honour so even if I am tired of hearing some of the songs that I made a long time ago – and I am obviously completely super sick of them – I never get tired of the reaction they get.’’
Ranked No. 3 in the world by DJ Magazine two years running, Avicii’s rise has been nothing less than astounding, thanks to his club and dance festival friendly tracks including the Grammy-nominated Levels, Bromance and My Feelings For You. Earlier this year he took a bit of a left turn on his debut album True, home to finely crafted songs – featuring acoustic guitars, folk and bluegrass – with collaborators including Aloe Blacc, Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Mac Davis (who wrote Elvis’s In The Ghetto). His folkinfluenced Wake Me Up went No.1 in 70 countries including Australia, while his current ARIA No.4 single, Hey Brother has crossed over to country radio in the US – prompting some to accuse him of ‘‘selling out’’. He hasn’t.
‘‘If I wanted to sell out it would be the easiest thing in the world, like just go and recreate what I’ve done and choose a couple of pop stars to work with,’’ he says.
‘‘What’s hard is finding something credible to yourself. I’ve never compromised with my music.’’
True suggests his passion is as much about well-written pop songs with huge melodic hooks as it is dance music, so it comes as no surprise he says he wants to work more with fellow countrymates Benny and Bjorn from ABBA. Avicii says he got into dance and DJing as a result of creating music on his laptop ‘‘not the other way around’’.
‘‘I pretty much listen to everything that’s melodic and has these, like you said, poppy hooks. I’ve always been a sucker for that,’’ he says.
Avicii’s last visit to Australia in March saw his Brisbane and Perth Future Music Festival appearances cancelled after he was hospitalised with stomach pain. And in 2012 he went into hospital with acute pancreatitis and spent 11 days recovering.
With a punishing 300 gig a year schedule, he admits constant partying took its toll.
‘‘I partied pretty much every night because I had a show every night,’’ he says.
‘‘That was kind of how I lived my life for the first four years of touring. But then I just couldn’t keep up with it, my body couldn’t keep up with it. I’m not drinking any more.’’
– ANDREW FENTON
– Picture: ALEX WESSELY
Avicii plays The Riverstage, in Brisbane, on January 24.
Swedish music star Avicii