Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 October 2020

Avicii plans to make-up cancelled Dubai gig with tour stop in 2016

Avicii talks about his upcoming new album, taking time out to overcome recent health scares and finally making it to Dubai.
Avicii performs at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, last year. The Swedish DJ had to take six months off and cancel major tours due to health issues last year. Andy Kropa / Invision / AP Photo
Avicii performs at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, last year. The Swedish DJ had to take six months off and cancel major tours due to health issues last year. Andy Kropa / Invision / AP Photo

Despite the life comforts and private jets that come with being one of the world’s top DJs, the age-old rule of work-life balance still applies.

Five years of constant global touring caught up with 25-year-old Avicii in March last year, when he was forced to go into a Miami hospital for chronic abdominal pains.

Alarmed by what they found, doctors immediately had him checked in and conducted an operation to remove his gall bladder and appendix.

As a result Avicii, whose real name is Tim Berling, cancelled a slew of big festival dates and his outdoor Dubai show at Atlantis The Palm.

Ever the workhorse, however, Avicii was back on the road within two weeks of the procedure, much to the concern of his management and family. It proved to be a premature step.

“It was definitely one of the darkest chapters of my life,” he recalls, during a stop at the Mawazine Festival in the Moroccan capital of Rabat last week.

“I had all those health issues and I really never gave myself a proper break. I went back to playing shows again and then my dad, family, manager and friends all started seeing me just begin losing weight and generally not being on my A-game, so I just decided to take six months off and give myself the rest that I had needed for the past five years.”

After cancelling a show in Dubai, Avicii looks set to make it up next year, saying the UAE is very much part of his touring plans for 2016. “That time was such a mess for me and I cancelled so many shows,” he says. “So obviously I need to have a make-up date for Dubai. Don’t worry, that’s coming.”

And not that Avicii was totally idle, relaxed and without the demands of touring. He focused on working on his second album Stories, the follow-up to his big-selling 2013 debut release True, to be released later this year.

Earlier this month, he released the first single Waiting For Love. Co-produced with Dutch DJ Martin Garrix, it is what you expect from an Avicii single: ascending piano lines, that sweet beat drop in the middle and soaring vocals — this time supplied by Simon Aldred from British rockers Cherry Ghosts.

Fans of Avicii’s dance-pop sounds should take note, though, as what may follow will be more diverse.

“It is a song that immediately hit me when it was done, but it is not an indication of the actual album,” he says.

“The album is very broad and there is going to be all kinds of electronic music. I am experimenting with different sounds, like I normally do, but this time I am taking it that next step­ ­further.”

That development is not only linked to the songs, but also presentation. The interactive dance performance video for Waiting For Love has Avicii being one of the first artists to use YouTube’s new 360-degree video technology, where fans can change camera angles by dragging their computer cursor across the screen — look closely and you will also see Avicii make a three-second Hitchcock-ian blink-and-you-miss-it ­appearance.

Avicii says visuals will play a central role in the upcoming single releases from Stories.

“We recorded on video every song that we did for the album, including backstage material,” he says.

“Eventually, we want to release some of that with each track. I am very nervous and excited about this whole project at the same time.” Another benefit of Avicii’s convalescence was coming to terms with what he achieved since his 2010 break-out European hit Seeking Bromance, a journey that took him from club sets to conquering stadiums.

In a music career he describes “as just one thing after another”, he pays credit to his family and close friends for keeping him grounded. “I am fortunate in that I surrounded myself with the best people,” he says. “My friends are the same from 15 years ago and I take them with me on tours.

“Also I am lucky in that I had a really good upbringing and I just think I have the best parents ever. No one gets a big head in our house.”

sasaeed@thenational.ae

Updated: June 6, 2015 04:00 AM

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