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Poll 2017: Avicii

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Despite retiring from touring back in March of 2016, 2017 has still been an important year for DJ, producer and songwriter Avicii. Real name Tim Bergling, the Swedish superstar released his comeback EP — titled ‘Avīci’ — last month which featured collaborations with AlunaGeorge, Billy Raffoul, Vargas & Lagola and Sandro Cavazza. His team-up with Rita Ora, 'Lonely Together', also proved particularly successful for the Nordic native, with Avicii promising two more EPs are currently in the pipeline. 

But it's not just his own material Avicii has been busy working on since he quit life on the road. He's also been in the studio with disco legend Nile Rodgers working on Chic's comeback album, which is expected to be released early next year.

Holed up in Stockholm since his retirement, fans will now be able to get a monthly taste of the producer thanks to his new radio show, Avicii FM, plus his much-anticipated ‘True Stories’ documentary, which debuted in selected theatres at the close of October. The work of director Levan Tsikurishvili, the film traces the unvarnished truth behind the success of the Grammy-nominated star — it’s an honest account of what it’s like to hit the big time. 

Tsikurishvili followed Avicii for over four years to make the flick, capturing his beginnings, the successes, and subsequent struggles with his physical and mental health. The film features appearances by Chris Martin, David Guetta, Wyclef Jean and Chic’s Nile Rodgers, and is a rare and important insight into the producer's journey thus far.

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2017-10-17 13:06

Poll 2015: Avicii

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2015 has been a year of metamorphosis for Avicii. Still riding high from 2013's stratospherically successful LP 'True', which included global country-cum-EDM anthem 'Wake Me Up', the producer (known to his mates as simply Tim Bergling) has kept quieter in the last twelve months, slowing down to focus on his next album.

The hotly anticipated 'Stories' arrived at the start of October in a blaze of pop/dance glory, with DJ Mag awarding it an impressive 8/10. It's a masterful follow-up for the Swede, whose debut 'True' dropped at No.5 on the Billboard charts whilst 'Wake Me Up' hit the No.1 spot in 63 countries.

'Stories' sees Avicii reveal his darker side, with some of its lyrical content alluding to his ongoing battles with global fame and a demanding schedule. There’s also a bevy of impressive collabs bulking up the tracklist with Alex Ebert, Matisyahu, Wyclef Jean, Zak Abel and Zac Brown, plus country singer Gavin McGraw.

It's widely known that Avicii's 2014 schedule was marred by reported health issues that saw the DJ miss perhaps the most important gig of his then-career — a headline set at Ultra Miami — thanks to a blocked gall bladder and ruptured appendix.

The operation would go on to affect the producer's schedule for the rest of the year, with further gigs at TomorrowWorld, XS/Encore and Insomniac's Halloween all cancelled. It was during this time that Avicii revealed that he had struggled with alcohol dependency — a direct result of life on the road.

“You are traveling around, you live in a suitcase, you get to this place, there's free alcohol everywhere — it's sort of weird if you don't drink,” he told GQ in April 2013. “I didn't expect it to last... I was so nervous. I just got into a habit, because you rely on that encouragement and self-confidence you get from alcohol, and then you get dependent on it.”

It's on his newest album that Tim seems to have confronted his issues head on, delving into deeper and darker places than ever before. He also made his directorial debut last month, crafting not one but two music videos for two forthcoming album tracks: ‘Pure Grinding’ and ‘For A Better Day’.

Directed by Levan Tsikurishvili and Avicii himself, the video for trap-meets-swing-pop single ‘Pure Grinding’ follows the story of an industrial labourer and a disturbed bank robber, both trying to get ahead in a violent, crime-soaked world.

The second, that accompanies radio hit 'For A Better Day', tackles the issue of child sex trafficking, and features gory scenes of murder, (implied) rape and civil warfare.

When speaking about the 'For A Better Day' video, Avicii said: “The promise of a better life often traps families and children into being used as tools for some of the most despicable people on earth.

“It’s an issue about which I hope to start a louder discussion, especially now with the huge number of families on the move from war-torn countries looking for safety and shelter,” he added.

As well as his current passion for social activism, Avicii also teamed up with Swedish car manufacturer Volvo this year to create a global campaign titled ‘A New Beginning’. It was an apt title considering the DJ's tumultuous past, with the mini-movie soundtracked by Avicii’s updated version of Nina Simone classic, ‘Feeling Good’.

“I've been a big fan of Nina Simone, Etta James and that kind of sound for a very long time,” Avicii told Billboard.

“So when I found out that was the song that Volvo Cars wanted in the music video, I was really excited and happy to do something with it. I wanted to create something new, and at the same time stay true to the original.”

Whether he’s crafting No.1 hits, raising awareness for causes or staring wistfully into the distance perched on the bonnet of a Volvo, there’s little doubt Avicii is a dance music mainstay. Through his ups and downs, his production nous has remained consistently excellent — his latest effort ‘Stories’ proves just how resilient the Swedish producer really is.

“This is not irreversible at all. It was just kind of a wake-up call,” Avicii told In The Mix, when discussing his health issues. And with another excellent LP under his belt, let’s hope he’s finally banished his demons once and for all. 

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