Tim Bergling, known to the DJ world as Avicii, just celebrated his birthday last week. At barely 23, the Swedish DJ/remixer/producer ranks No. 6 on the latest installment of DJ Magazine's Top 100 DJ list — which pretty much means he's living large and has his pick of any neon furry booted rave groupie that crosses his path.
We recently caught up with the rising DJ, who is performing in at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium tonight. We tried to get him to divulge some scandalous Ibiza stories, but his management was on the line and he pleaded the fifth!
What do you consider your first big break? What's the moment that you realized you made it as a DJ?
I'd say the biggest moment was probably when I headlined Ultra Music Festival in Miami. That was probably one of the biggest highlights of my career by far. That was one of the first major festivals that I headlined. It was also one of those festivals I was really looking forward to. I remember going to Miami and just looking at the headliners and dreaming that maybe one day I'd be a headliner like that.
Is that the festival where Madonna went on stage with you?
Was that pre planned?
It was pre-planned but it hadn't been planned for months. I found out about it maybe a day or two before.
Were you pretty shocked that Madonna wanted to come on stage with you?
Yeah of course. We'd been trying to work together for some time and then the stars finally aligned.
You just recently got back from performing in Ibiza. Is it as crazy to play there as everyone says?
Yes for sure. It's the mecca for dance music so it really has such a long history of electronic music and a love of partying so it's a really different scene to play at.
What's the craziest thing you've ever seen in the audience at an Ibiza show?
I don't see much of the audience. I really don't. There are some wild out of control people there but that's at every show though.
Have you ever gotten dragged to any crazy after parties or gotten into any Ibiza trouble?
I don't know if I can say. My managers might get mad!
Where's your favorite place to play a show?
I've always loved the U.S. My fans here are really supportive and it's the country I've toured the most extensively too. I've also done some shows in some interesting places though.
Where is the strangest country that you've played a show at so far?
Maybe in Asia, Russia is pretty strange or Morocco. There's a bunch of shows I've done in strange places with a culture that's very different from where I'm from. It surprises me when people show up to those remote places. And actually the strangest place I ever played was probably Haiti. I went over there thinking nobody knew who I was and we still managed to get like a 4,000 person crowd to the show.
What is the most outrageous outfit you've ever seen at one of your shows?
The creepiest one I've seen was definitely this girl wearing a horse head.
You're one of the younger DJs to have experienced such recent success. How does it feel that everything has happened so fast and at such a young age?
I'd rather it happen it to me now rather than in 20 years. I can still figure out if I want to change professions that way. Whatever I do down the line will have something to do with music but at the moment I'm really just enjoying life in general. I'm still young enough to appreciate other parts of the industry.
So you could see yourself branching off into a different area of music after DJing?
Yeah, for sure.
What else do you think you'd like to do in the industry?
I don't know. I'll always be making music. There are so many different things you can do within the industry.
Which DJs out there have careers that you aspire to live up to?
I'd say career wise, Tiesto is definitely my biggest inspiration. It's a very hard industry and to still be relevant and at the top after so many years is truly remarkable.
Is the EDM world really competitive? Do you feel like you have to out outdo other DJs all the time?
No. Not at all. It's very much a collaborative environment. Part our your success is playing other DJs' tunes. I don't only play my own music. I guess that's how most DJs work. Everyone is always supporting each other by playing each other's music. I don't feel like it's one of those industries.
How much do you pay attention to the “Top 100 DJ” ranking list? Is there pressure to maintain a certain rank?
No. I never really check or care about my rank I'm at. It's always flattering if you get a good ranking but it hasn't affected me in the slightest. It doesn't really affect anything. I don't see why I should pay attention to it.
What are your thoughts on everyone getting into DJing and people like Paris Hilton as a DJ?
I don't have an opinion about it. Everyone else can try to DJ. I don't see what's wrong with it. It's not necessarily someone I would go see but then at the same time, I don't see the point to hate on them. I really don't.
What's your favorite part about playing in Los Angeles and the L.A. dance music crowd?
I haven't played that much in Los Angeles – I spent a lot of time there but it's always a fun scene. You never know who is going to show up at your gig or who will want to collaborate with you or this and that. The crowd is always energetic.
Are you going to try to meet up with any of the L.A.-based DJs while in town and hang?
I'm definitely going to try if I have some time. It's a pretty hectic touring schedule.
Anything special planned for the show? Are you going to bring anybody up on stage with you?
It's been known to happen. You never know though.