Swedish producer and DJ Avicii burst onto the electronic music scene in 2008 at the young age of 18 with his track “Lazy Lace” (Strike Recordings), a remix he did of the theme song of “Lazy Jones” for the Commodore 64. From that point forward, Avicii spent hours in his home studio intoxicated by his craft, cranking out smashing tune after smashing tune. Later in 2008, Avicii entered Pete Tong’s Fast Trax competition and won in a landslide victory with his track “Manman” receiving 70% percent of votes. The release of “Manman” on Pete Tong’s label Bedroom Bedlam afforded Avicii quite a bit of visibility in the industry. Shortly thereafter, he was contacted by numerous labels, promoters and booking agencies the world over, firmly launching his career as a unique producer of melodic tracks and pounding beats.
Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of seeing the Swedish savant spin at the Mid, Chicago, an experience I will not soon forget for its euphoric sounds, masterful mixing, and the absolute madness Avicii incited in the hearts of the crowd. I was fortunate enough to get to sit down with the man himself and ask him a few questions just before he took the stage. Here’s how our conversation went:
[Bright & Shiny] The first song of yours I ever heard was “My Feelings For You” and I immediately knew you were a different kind of talent. How did you come to forge such a unique sound for your productions in a genre which is notoriously full of generic, uplifting tracks?
[Avicii] [Laughs] Well, I’ve just been working my ass off with my manager who’s been guiding me the whole way and he’s given me tips on production as well as everything so I guess that’s kind of where we found my sound.
[B&S] How did you get into DJing and producing?
[Avicii] I heard this track, you know Zombie Nation by Kernkraft 400?
[B&S] Yeah, of course.
[Avicii] I heard that track and I really wanted to remix that, and a friend of mine told me about FL Studios. And yeah, I just downloaded it and tried remixing and I just ended up getting stuck with it.
[B&S] What is your process behind producing a track once struck with inspiration?
[Avicii] It’s different every time. It all depends on what kind of track: if I’m doing an original track or if I’m doing a remix, or what kind of original track I’m doing… So, it’s different every time.
[B&S] Speaking of which, do you prefer remixing or producing original tracks?
[Avicii] No, I love both its just two different ways to approach a track. Usually if I get a remix I try to start off with just one element, like a vocal or a hook or whatever, and then just move on from there and try to make a completely new track out of that one [part]. And then when doing an original it’s almost the same thing, but I make up the part, so I make up a melody, a hook, whatever. So, no, I love it just as much.
[B&S] What’s it like to play in front of hundreds of dancing people every day?
[Avicii] It- it’s amazing! I mean it’s why I got into it in the first place; why I chose to do it, to fight for it professionally. I wanted that, that… The kick you get out of that you can’t compare it to anything else.
[B&S] What has been your biggest break thus far?
[Avicii] Biggest break? It’s probably “Bromance,” I think, my solo track.
Tim Berg – Bromance (Avicii’s Arena Mix)
[B&S] What is it they’re putting in the water in Sweden that makes your people so inexplicably adept at making incredible electronic tunes?
[Avicii] Well, I think it’s a mixture between just Sweden being a really cold place for 8 months out of the year, so you don’t really have anything to do, so it’s easy to put all of your effort into making music. But then I also think it’s because there’s been so many successful producers in general from Sweden, like Swedish House Mafia or even pop producers, like Max Martin, there’s just so many. So I think they inspire all the new ones to feel like “Ah, I can make it as well in this industry!” So people actually take the time to produce, et cetera.
[B&S] What are your top 4 tracks of the moment?
[Avicii] My top 4 tracks… I would have to say its Axwell and Dimitri Vegas’ remix of “One Look” by David Tort. Then I would say Steve Angello, AN21 remix of Pendulum’s “The Island,” one of my new tracks which I haven’t named yet, and, still, “One” by Swedish House Mafia, to be honest. I mean, it’s killing it everywhere I am still almost a year after it was released.
David Tort – One Look ft. Gosha (Axwell vs. Dimitri Vegas, Like Mike Remix)
[B&S] Yeah, we were there when Swedish House Mafia first played it at Ultra last year and the crowd response was absolutely phenomenal. Are you playing any after parties at Ultra this year?
[Avicii] Yeah, I am. I’m playing Ultra on Friday, Saturday, and then I’m doing Ultra official after party on Sunday.
[B&S] What’s coming up for Avicii in 2011?
[Avicii] Oh, lots of stuff. There’s lots of stuff coming up. I think I have like 8 or 9 tracks this year that should be coming out.
[B&S] Alright, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us.
[Avicii] No problem, it was a pleasure.
Thanks again to Avicii and his management for the opportunity, and to Avicii for an absolutely amazing set, as usual.