GQ’s feature on Avicii is eye-opening

There are some startling revelations in GQ’s feature on Avicii:

Before Pournouri could make him the biggest DJ in all the land, however, he had to teach him how to DJ, which was something Tim had never actually done before. Thanks to computers, these days, DJing is mostly “before work,” Tim explains. Most of the set list and transitions are worked out before he gets onstage. The notion of a DJ who determines what to play by reading the room “feels like something a lot of older DJs are saying to kind of desperately cling on staying relevant.”

A strong statement for someone who’s really only been on the scene for a few years, and has known how to DJ for even less.

“We should make a list of songs that we tell festival organizers not to let other DJs play,” Bergling’s tour manager, a no-nonsense Irishwoman named Ciara Davey, says decisively, as if writing a note to self.

What in the actual hell? I had no idea that this was a thing.

“A great DJ interacts with the audience,” he says professorially over the phone from Australia, where he recently gave a talk titled “The Avicii Case Study” at the country’s first-ever Electronic Music Conference. “You have to engage people. Dancing, smiling.”

God forbid a DJ be into his music.

Back in Mexico, Tim plays a new track, tentatively titled “Someone Like You.” “It’s so simple,” he says, laughing. “I mean, All my life I have been waiting for someone like you? It’s almost stupid.”

Not good words to say, definitely not about your own song.

The last time kids in neon went crazy for electronic music, Things looked a little different. “Back then, no one ever even used to look at the DJ,” says the lighting guy, Simon, who spent four years on tour with the Prodigy in the early ’90s and worked at Gatecrasher, one of the clubs where the rave scene first took off. “It was much more about dancing with one another. Now everyone is facing the stage. They’re all there to see him.”

But most older club-goers knew this already. House music used to be less like concerts. Who was on mattered less than their ability to put together music well.

The guy is clearly skilled – #3 in DJ Mag is nothing to scoff at – but I have a hard time respecting an artist that worries so little about the music that they have a chance to craft together and so much about another dude playing the music he was about to.

Overall the piece ends up feeling more like a hatchet job on the state of electronica than true insight into Avicii’s own skills and abilities.

Avicii Interview [GQ]


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