On Friday, March 22, Avicii premiered his entire forthcoming album during his set at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami. And while the world-famous DJ had spoken about it in the press before, unveiling a slew of unexpected collaborators, the actual experience of Avicii’s folk-, rock- and soul influenced collaborations were still received with surprise. In an interview with Radio.com, Avicii talked about his reaction, the time he’s spent in the studio and what kind of surprises he had creating his forthcoming album.
“These last days have been so up and down…This last month I’ve been, these last two months actually, I’ve been in the studio,” Avicii said, from a make-up trailer of a fashion shoot for Ralph Lauren in Brooklyn. “I’ve been in L.A., ensconced every day with different types of people. Basically every track on the album is a different — is a fusion [of] house and electronic music with different genres. I have some folk-slash-house [music]. You can always hear the house, underneath everything. But there’s some folk influences. There’s a lot of soul, kind of R&B influences. And a lot of rock influences and stuff like that.”
The full list of influences who made it onto Avicii’s new album, and to his Ultra performance, include Mike Einzinger of Incubus, producer Nile Rogers, Aloe Blacc, bluegrass musician Dan Tyminski, country singer/songwriter Audra Mae and Elvis Presley songwriter Mac Davis. While Avicii hasn’t hesitated to add vocals to his tracks before, famously sampling an Etta James vocal for “Levels,” he has found that adding a violin and live band to his dance tracks to be an experience that really broadened his horizons.
It’s just been, for me, very interesting [as a] learning experience. I’ve been working with — instead of DJs, I’ve been working with musicians that come from completely different upbringings. Like, they’ve learned music differently and different ways of looking at music. Like Nile Rogers or Aloe Blacc or — I’ve been working a lot with Mike Einziger, who was there at Ultra too, from Incubus. We’ve been playing around. Just in general, everyone has had an open mind to whatever we’ve been doing. They haven’t had a closed mind towards electronic music. A lot of people do. A lot of people are still very close minded when it comes to house music or dance music in general.”
If the EDM community is hesitant to embrace the idea behind Avicii’s latest album, it won’t be a surprise when the general public is not. Mixing the extremely popular influences of groups like Mumford & Sons or the Lumineers with EDM is a gamble — and it’s not one Avicii has to make alone.
“Mike was there. Incubus was there almost — the drummer, the bass player. Aloe was there. Mac Davis was there for one line, just more as a fun thing. I think in the future a lot of people are going to appreciate the fact that he was there. He’s such a legend [who has] written so many big songs. I was lucky enough to work with him on my record. That was, to him, completely out of his world. He’s like a country artist and the songs are house music meets soul and Etta James, that type of vibes. Completely out of his world. He was there too and even Dan Tyminski from, who did the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, has a hook on one of my songs. He came to the performance as well. So we tried to get as many people as possible that were on the album.”
A release date has not yet been confirmed, but you can experience Avicii’s vision for the future of EDM before 2013 is over.