The West

Collaborations raise EDM stakes
Collaborations raise EDM stakes

Tim Bergling is house hunting in Los Angeles. The 23-year-old Swede known throughout the universe as DJ and producer Avicii is looking for a base camp for his continuing assault on the world's biggest music market.

"The main thing is to have a home, more than anything, instead of a hotel," Bergling says, adding that he has averaged 300 gigs a year for the past three years. This year will be different, he hopes. "I may need to do 100 - that's what I'm aiming for - but realistically we'll probably do 150 or something."

The relatively quiet schedule will free up the fresh-faced electronic music wiz to make the most of the Stateside explosion of EDM, or electronic dance music.

Bergling, who last year headlined stages at US festivals Coachella and Lollapalooza and played Radio City Music Hall in New York City, is already revelling in the opportunities afforded in LA.

"There's a lot of things happening here every day," he says. "It's very, very creative. I don't think I've been in such a creature environment in my entire life.

"I'm loving it here in LA right now," Bergling continues, "where I get the chance to work with so many different, talented people that a year ago I would never have been able to work with. Or two years ago, no one would have been able to work with me because electronic music just wasn't what it is today.

"It's amazing to see how far it's gone in such a short time and to be around at this time. I feel like in 20 years I'll be looking back at when this boom happened going, 'Oh my God, I was right in the middle of that'."

Bergling considers himself a producer rather than a DJ, which is more the necessary touring extension of his studio obsession. That said, the young man behind 2011 global smash hit Levels was ranked third on DJ Magazine's list of the world's top 100 turntablists behind Dutchmen Armin van Buuren and Tiesto.

Avicii is part of a European assault on the American and international markets. Half the DJ Mag Top 10 were Dutch, with only Skrillex and Deadmau5 representing North America.

For Bergling, who started out making music in a tiny Stockholm apartment (with his parents covering the rent), the northern European environment might be behind their current domination of EDM. "It's so cold, so dark, you have to find stuff to do indoors," he laughs. "If you live in LA or San Diego or somewhere like that, you might become a surfer, but in Sweden you pick up a computer or whatever and you can make music. That's a big reason."

Bergling was barely out of high school when his manager Ash Pournouri came across one of his mixes on the internet. The two quickly established a partnership that is one of the most successful artist/manager relationships in showbiz. Within five years, Bergling has gone from idolising the likes of Tiesto to supporting the Dutch DJ and now challenges him for top billing at festivals and DJ Mag lists.

He insists there is no rivalry between the Swedish and Dutch DJs. "The whole genre is built by supporting each other and with that comes that camaraderie amongst everyone, even though you've never met anyone before. You feel you know them because you know the music."

Despite his sudden superstar DJ status, Bergling maintains contact with fans via the Avicii x You project, which will see the producer create a hit song using melodies, bass lines, beats and other contributions from the public. The concept is billed as "the world's largest music collaboration". Within days of launching in January, had received nearly 6000 melodies from more than 3000 "artists".

"Four years ago this would have been something I would have been all over," Bergling says. "I would have been trying my arse off for this.

"I'm going to be doing what I'm already doing except I'm going to be taking inspiration from so many different people," he continues. "There's no set rules with this either, it's a fun project and the main goal is to make a fun track. We don't have to make a hit, but definitely make a really good track. I'm really positive that it will be.

"I'm listening to a lot of the submissions that I've been sent and I'm really surprised about the quality. A lot of the melodies have potential, you know. I will take that melody, and obviously credit whoever did it, and add my stuff, as you would a regular collaboration."

Bergling reckons the Avicii x You track should be finished before he arrives Down Under to perform at the Future Music Festival on March 3. The DJ says the song will be part of a set differing markedly from his appearance at Stereosonic in November.

"Oh, 100 per cent, for sure," he says. "There will be a bunch of stuff that I've never played before. I have studio time leading right up to Future Music."

The West Australian

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