Born to perform: DJ Avicii goes down a storm in Dubai
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He’s only a baby-faced youngster, but manages to get tens of thousands of people every night, from Texas to Moscow — via Dubai — to dance to his beat. No — not Justin Bieber, although the comparison isn’t entirely undue. DJ Avicii — the 23-year-old who politely introduces himself as Tim (his surname is Bergling), has seemingly come out of nowhere (more accurately, Sweden) to join the ranks of the world’s top DJs. The cute Bergling (he’s the face of Ralph Lauren’s answer to Abercrombie and Fitch, Denim & Supply, which opened its first store at The Dubai Mall recently) played to a sold-out crowd at Atlantis Beach on Thursday night, just one stop on a non-stop series of dates that saw him fly from a headline night in Houston to a couple of days’ sleep in his hometown, to the UAE and then onto Ukraine and Russia — and world domination not far beyond. In person he’s calm and understated in his Denim & Supply checked shirt (a gift from the local store) in the minutes before he took to the stage. “People think I’m not excited. But I just woke up,” he told tabloid! Backstage. He’s not thinking about the thousands of people waiting for him to play his summer hit, “Levels”. “I just try to keep everything out of my head and not to get stressed out. I’m always excited.”
Djing live is what he enjoys most — and it’s clear from one look at him during the set. The kid never stops moving, psyching the crowd up with a funky little dance he does with his right hand. “It’s not prepared,” he said of his set. “I have an idea and I try to switch up for each show. I don’t know the crowd and I try to play different music — I have so much music that I’ve produced that I want to play.”
Here is an excerpt from an interview:
Q. Where does the name Avicii come from?
A: Avicii means the lowest level of Buddhist hell. A friend of mine actually told me about it, and when I was making my Myspace page, so I had to pick something and a lot of names were taken so I just stuck with Avicii.
Q. Stars including Leona Lewis, Flo Rida and Pretty Lights have all sampled your music — how does that feel? Do they have to get your permission first?
A: We’ve been approached by lots of different artists for collaborations, from Flo Rida to Leona Lewis. They obviously released their own versions of those songs, and we’ve been asked by lots of other artists as well. It’s important we feel comfortable about the track, rather than who is on it.
Q. Your rise to stardom has been very impressive. When you look back does it seem surreal?
A: When you’re in it and constantly touring, being in the studio and working it’s harder to actually realize what you’ve achieved than looking at it from an outside perspective. It’s definitely a surreal thing and awesome journey so far.
Q. Tell us about being the face of Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren — were you surprised to be asked?
A: I’ve always been wearing Ralph Lauren, it’s one of my favourite designers and when Denim & Supply approached us there was no doubt. Our brands are really a perfect match and we really wanted to team up with them.
Q. Are you into fashion? What is your main wardrobe staple?
A: Yes, I’m into fashion and very selective with I wear. My main wardrobe staple would definitely be Denim & Supply plaid shirts. I can’t get enough of them!
Q. Does your travel schedule make a “normal” life difficult?
A: Well, touring as intense as I do really gives you into a certain lifestyle. As soon as I get home I can’t wait to cook my own food and sleep in my own bed, hanging out with my friends and family.
Q. Is Dubai somewhere you enjoy coming/playing?
A: Yes definitely, I haven’t been here for a couple of years but I’m really looking forward to see the city again. It’s a really nice place.
Q. You had three slots during Miami Music Week this year which has never happened before. How did you manage that?
A: Touring intensely and doing as many shows as I do per year really requires a good team behind you, everything needs to be running smoothly in terms of flights, interviews and everything around the actual show appearance. In addition to that, you need to take care of yourself and try to get as much sleep as possible.
Q. You started producing before DJing? Wasn’t it an unusual progression?
A: I don’t think so — I started off as a producer and spent a lot of time in the studio before I started touring. Djing is a producer’s only way to meet their fans and I’m still primarily a producer even though I tour very intensely with my 300 shows a year.
Q. What has been the absolute highlight of your career to date?
A: That is a very hard question, it’s so many things happening but one of the definite highlights would be when Madonna joined me on stage at this year’s Ultra Music Festival.
Q. Any cool projects scheduled this year? Can you give us a sneak preview?
A: I don’t know what I can say and what I can’t say but there are definitely some really cool stuff lined up for 2013.
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