Picture this - you're a world-renown 22-year-old DJ-producer that's become a household name in dance music, and is constantly in demand at the most popular nightclubs all over the world. Problem is, you're in a genre of music that constantly spits out its young - giving them a taste of the best that life has to offer, before launching them into oblivion, and part-time jobs at their local record store. While that may be the case for a majority of dance music's rising stars, it won't be for Avicii. Ask anyone who has somewhat of an ear for dance music, or Top 40 at that, and they'll be familiar with his name. At such a young age he understands that stardom isn't a case of luck, but of relentless hard work and massive creative release.
Clubplanet's Marcos Colón
recently caught up with Avicii before his massive show at Marquee Las Vegas
' one-year anniversary
earlier this month to chat about his massive year, his favorite clubs to play in the states, and what he intends to do to stay relevant in a genre filled with one-hit wonders.
Clubplanet: You had one of the most successful years in music. The success of "Levels" really took things to the next tier for you. Do you treat each track the same when you go into the studio, or do you have a different approach?
I definitely treat them all the same way. It's really impossible to know which tracks are going to make it, and which aren't. You have a feeling sometimes, but I've been wrong so many times. I like every track that I do end up completing, otherwise I wouldn't finish it. But, it's tough to plan what you think is going to hit and what isn't.
The video for "Levels" brought back memories of other great videos in the past by Fatboy Slim and Erick Prydz. What is it about dance music that sets apart the artistic visual aspect from other genres of music?
In the past, dance music videos
really didn't have the budget that other genres of music have, so they had to come up with other ways to truly give the music a visual appeal to the audience. Obviously, now the industry is growing so much that the money is there. But I still think that a lot more thought goes behind the creative process. They're more interesting.
You're currently one of the top DJs in the world at a very young age. How do you manage to keep a level head with so many distractions around you?
Honestly, I just try to go with the flow and not think about them too much. I'm extremely happy that I'm able to do what I'm doing now, and that's the most important thing to me because I do feel very lucky. It's really important not to get distracted by too many things because then you lose your focus on the music itself.
Electronic music may have had its start in the U.S., but it seems as though it's a flame that will never go out in Europe. What do you personally foresee when it comes to the EDM trend in North America?
I think that it's definitely going to be around for a long time. All other genres are beginning to morph in with EDM, and it just keeps evolving all the time. To see how much it's grown in the last two years is amazing. Like you said, it's been around in Europe for a lot longer, and that just shows the longevity of it. America is bringing it into their mainstream, and that's only making it bigger.
Thanks to electronic music and the image of the "DJ" in the club as the main attraction, nightclubs around the nation are being seen more as concert halls. What's your stance on bottle service? Would you prefer a bigger dance floor with no VIP section, or a more intimate dance floor with VIP areas/tables?
It's a bit hard because they're two completely different vibes. I like both - I really do. It's hard for me to choose. It's hard to have one without the other. The way the tours are going now, they're hitting a lot more arenas and bigger spaces. But I never want to stop playing the clubs, I love playing them. They are two completely different experiences.
There has been a lot of crossover success with DJ-producers and pop stars. Names like David Guetta, Benny Benassi, and even the Swedish House Mafia come to mind. Do you think that this is good for electronic music as a whole, or should dance music artists stick to their own craft to further develop the genre?
It's done wonders for dance music. I don't see how anyone could hate on it. It opens up so many doors for everyone, even the underground sounds. Some artists take different routes, and there's nothing wrong with that.
You're currently considered the IT artist of the dance music at the moment, as well as a DJ-producer that can really set the tempo for dance music and the way that it's perceived for years to come stateside. What are your plans to stay relevant in the genre?
You just have to keep working all the time. You can't slack off. You always have to work extremely hard to stay relevant. I have a great manager and an amazing team behind me that I wouldn't be able to do anything without. That, for me, helps tremendously.
Outside of dance music, what genre would you say has the biggest influence on your sound and your production? What do you find yourself listening to the most after a long set?
There are so many. I grew up with one older sister and two older brothers and they mostly listened to a lot of rock, and my dad was really into Ray Charles. If I were to pick one an influence on my music, I'd say funk and a lot of old soul records.
What do you find yourself listening to the most after a long set?
Nothing. (laughs) Just silence.
If you had to pick 5 nightclubs in the U.S. that are your favorite to play, which would they be?
This one's hard. I would say Marquee and XS
, because Vegas is such an amazing market right now
. I'd also say Pacha
in New York, Space
in Miami, and Ruby Skye
in San Francisco.
When you're not in the booth or in the studio, where do you like to spend your time?
I'm almost never out of the studio. (laughs) Actually, when I have the time I love being with my family and catching up with my friends. I still keep in touch with a lot of old friends that have always been there.
Can you talk a little bit about your upcoming House for Hunger tour?
My manager came to me with the idea for that. We wanted to do something for America, and hunger is always a big problem, especially during these hard times. I didn't realize how big the problem was, and when he approached me with the idea it just seemed like the right thing to do. It's was a natural decision to make.
Everyone's curious to know what you have in store for 2012 after such a successful 2011. What would you consider a successful year in 2012 after all is said and done?
I just want to keep going at it. We have loads of singles and collaborations coming up, and hopefully tracks with a couple of producers as well. The House for Hunger tour will be big as well. It's going to be a very busy year with nonstop touring.
Photos Courtesy of Marquee Nightclub