NEW YORK — When Avicii debuted his electronic-country fusion at the Ultra Music Festival in March, he was met with criticism. Months later, he said the controversy helped him.
“People’s expectations were just lowered so much. Country and house? This has got to be a joke,” the DJ-producer said recently. “Once you get over the fact that it’s country and house, just listen to it as music, a lot of people realized it’s pretty good.”
“Wake Me Up” is Avicii’s proof. The upbeat folk tune has topped the charts around the world. It has peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, where the song is platinum.
Avicii, born Tim Bergling in Sweden, fuses many genres on his debut album, “True,” released Sept. 17. The 24-year-old prefers the term folk over country, and believes folk and electronic music aren’t so different.
“[Folk is] really stripped down and it’s not as complicated as a lot of other things, so to put a 4/4 beat under it and play around and add synths, it really wasn’t hard,” he said. “I never felt like I was forcing anything at all, it just felt completely natural, otherwise, I never would have done it.”
His next single, “You Make Me,” is following in the footsteps of the ultra-successful “Wake Me Up,” which was co-written with Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger and Aloe Blacc, who sings on the monster tune.
The back-to-back hits come as no surprise: Avicii has been one of the world’s top DJs since his song “Le7els” took off internationally in 2011. He headlines festivals worldwide, and he’s had success releasing singles like “I Could Be the One” and “Silhouettes” in various territories.
Because of his worldwide acclaim, Avicii said he’s finally ready to release his first full-length album.
“I’ve always wanted to have an album, but there hasn’t been time for me to not tour and actually sit down and finish an album the way I want my album to sound,” he said of “True,” which he recorded in three months.
“Now [there] is no pressure really for me to make an album,” he added. “I’ve been able to play these bigger venues and still advance and make my brand bigger without even thinking about making an album.”
Unlike DJs who produce for top acts, Avicii says he’s not interested in helming hits for pop stars.
“I don’t have anything against writing for people or anything like that,” he said, “[but] everything has just been going so well with Avicii right from the start, I haven’t seen a reason not to put everything I have into that brand, you know?”