Man Behind Avicii’s Tremendous Success Reveals How He Deals With Haters
“I was always really driven … But when I met Ash he took me to a whole ‘nother level … Like when I met him he really took me out of nowhere and built my career. I wouldn’t be here without that.”
“After my kid was born, I found this kid Avicii from Sweden. I didn’t know his age, but I really loved his melodic comprehension, and could sense a talent that was rough and unfinished. We met for coffee and said we should do a remix together and see where that takes us. I explained my vision, which he didn’t 100 percent share at the time. He was still in school when we started working together, and didn’t know anything about the business. I told him, ‘I’ll teach you how to DJ, you focus on music and I’ll help guide you.’ It was very unplanned and natural how the partnership came about, and I look at it as my baby, though he is the brand.”
Probably when I started my own rugby team in high school. I was declared captain and went on to grab seventh place in the Global School Championships in our second year. Even though there was no money involved, it was still a project like any other. I never do anything for the money anyway so the drive behind it is the same.
[pullquote]As a promoter you have to be creative and hustle[/pullquote]I don’t know how creative I was in my hustling other than working really hard. I used to have a sick routine where I studied law in Stockholm Monday to Wednesday, then promoted a club Wednesday night in Stockholm, then took the night bus to Oslo in Norway where I went straight to work to run two restaurants and a nightclub Thursday through Sunday, then hop on a bus back to Stockholm and go directly from the bus to school again. And so it went …
As a promoter you have to be creative and hustle, I guess. So if anything, hustling was being creative with marketing. And in being creative, I used to convince big brands to provide something for the club, like fragrance samples that I distributed on the night, and I would brand the whole night like it was that big brand co-hosting it. Main thing was I made sure everyone had a sick time though, so it was all good and all win-win.
It just taught me not to be so naive. At 19 having just come out of high school with my grade scores being what they were, I thought I could take over the world. Not really experienced to deal with the corporate world on that level, I had no idea what I was doing really. It humbled me, while at the same time I was really angry and motivated to vindicate myself from the experience and the embarrassment. And it made me want to learn about my rights, so I went to law school. At the same time I kept an eye on the developments of that idea and once I saw it worked, I could verify to myself that my convictions and ideas had proven to be spot on. That was a receipt of that while my decisions hadn’t been the right ones, my predictions of where the world was heading to was in fact right. And that added to my self esteem and confidence throughout my career.
Nothing, other than the fact that we clicked. I could see us working together as he seemed to like me and I liked him, and he respected me and vice versa. It was a gut feeling that he would trust me to let me to lead, and I wanted to trust him to commit to do what he would need to do.
Well, we had our share of fights. Over music direction, creative direction, professionalism, being on time, working in a specific way, his clothes, my executive decisions, really everything. I had several conversations with him on what it meant to be as big as we were gearing up to be and whether or not he wanted “all this” and if he was prepared to do what it would take. He was obviously very committed, as was I, so it all progressed, but man did we have our rocky moments.
[pullquote]You really have to prioritize your health more than anything; you can’t help anyone if you end up in the hospital.[/pullquote]I’ve had moments where my head is spinning in thoughts so fast I can’t even speak, constantly analyzing and never stopping to look up when you have clear plans and a super clear vision of where you want to be. It’s hard to stop because that can sometimes mean you over-analyze a situation and become insecure of what you want or how to do something. Over time you learn to deal with it, but it’s not easy. You really have to prioritize your health more than anything; you can’t help anyone if you end up in the hospital.
[pullquote]You can have dreams and wishes and visions and goals, but the moment you think you can stick firmly to a plan, it’s over.[/pullquote]Solid? Not the least. Life deals you and you have to navigate with that. You can’t ever control the world, so no point in trying. You can have dreams and wishes and visions and goals, but the moment you think you can stick firmly to a plan, it’s over. You will most probably fail if you can’t be flexible and maneuver obstacles on your path to your goals. John Lennon said something I love: “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” A vision is important so you know where you want to be, but firm plans are overrated.
I never take that stuff personally. How could I when I never even met the guy and he knows nothing about me or my business and is constantly getting his facts wrong from rumors and other haters. I do my thing, and people can say what they want. Tim’s been dealing with his share of haters too, and in the beginning it used to phase him. I told him the taller a tree grows, the more wind will hit it. That’s life. I take Joel’s attacks as flattering — who else would put the time into seeking month-old tweets and starting a rant off of them, and then when confronted not even ask you the question to your face like an adult — I think he secretly likes me. His online persona probably works for him, and who am I to hate on that? It’s his thing.
EDM as an industry (and not music, I’m presuming) will be whatever it will be. You’ll have the different genres moving differently as underground will stay underground and the new commercial EDM will take shape into what hip hop and R&B became when it went full retard — super commercial. I am not planning or wanting to change anything in EDM per se, but in the music industry I want to continue to make things fairer for the artists, producers and songwriters and help the industry understand the consumers instead of fighting them. There’s a long way to go, and no one, no matter how hard they think, has yet found the ultimate long-term solution.
Hard work, and conviction that what you’re doing is right.
Lots of stuff going on! Mainly value-driven projects that help the industry and Sweden as a country, but also artists like iSHi and Cazzette who are about to blow up in different parts of the world!