One Year On… How the death of Avicii changed music forever
Friday 20th April 2018. For music fans across the globe, the date will forever be etched into memory and associated with one tragic event: The death of Swedish superstar Tim Berling (aka Avicii) in Muscat, Oman. When rumours started to swirl relentlessly on that Friday evening, a numb fusion of both shock and grief spread across the world as fans demanded to know the truth about Avicii and his worrying plight.
Tales of exhaustion, alcoholism, anxiety, depression, and ultimately suicide formed a recipe for disaster as the DJ’s brand was milked for every last drop by cash-hungry former manager Ash Pournouri, as seen in Levan Tsikurishvili‘s heart-breaking 2017 docu-movie, ‘True Stories’.
Exactly one year later, We Rave You look at how:
Avicii’s death changed the dance music industry forever…
One month after Avicii’s death, the first big (post-Tim) dance music festival in the calendar – EDC – gave DJs a chance to honour the iconic Swedish producer in the best way possible, by airing his music to the thousands in attendance. Perhaps the most poignant tribute came from legendary figurehead Tiësto, who performed a special mash-up to the Las Vegas crowd. Having taken Tim under his wing as a support act during his Privilege Ibiza and Pacha residencies between 2010-2012, Tijs had acted as a mentor to the Swede, with Avicii remixing his 2009 hit ‘Escape Me’.
The arrival of summer saw the Berling family stage a private funeral for Tim back in his native Sweden, as Russian producer Arty paid his own homage to Avicii in the form of his melodic masterpiece ‘Tim’. Blending his signature craft of insatiable hooks and emotive chord patterns into the piece, the track soon became a summer festival favourite as DJs all across the world worked the record into their tracklists.
For most music fans, July means one thing: Tomorrowland. Famed for overwhelming themes of peace, love, and unity, there was no finer festival to show the love towards Avicii that the Swede had reciprocated so readily to fans throughout his career, and so a group of ravers gathered on the mainstage hill to show their flag to the world. Aerial shots of the giant image were beamed around the world as fans refused to let the spirit of their hero fade into darkness.
Foregoing the usual tradition of packing their mainstage with huge house, trance, and EDM headliners in favour of an afternoon spot for the Kaleidoscope Orchestra, a small army of instrumental musicians took over Creamfields‘ Horizon stage on the Saturday of the UK festival to perform a special Avicii tribute. Whizzing through an eclectic mix of Tim’s greatest hits, the performance preceded further sets from the likes of Oliver Heldens and Martin Garrix on the same stage over the course of the weekend.
With a heavy heart, former number #1 DJ in the world, Hardwell, announced a hiatus from the music scene in September. Inspired by Tim’s own announcement in Spring 2016, when the Swede announced that he would be retiring from live shows, the Dutch big-room star told fans that he would continue to work in the studio, but had to prioritise his health. If any evidence was needed that Tim’s death had forced fellow musicians to assess their own conditions, this was it.
View this post on Instagram
Hello world, Ever since I was a little kid I dreamed of the life I live this very moment. A life filled with music, real human interaction and the freedom to express myself in the purest form I know. I have grown from an ambitious kid with everything to gain into the 30-year old I am today whilst evolving as an artist with triple the speed of my aging process. Over the past few years I’ve come to know myself better and better and over time I realized that there’s still so much I want to share with my family and friends, so many roads I’d like to explore, but being Hardwell 24/7 leaves too little energy, love, creativity and attention for my life as a normal person to do so. This is why I have decided to clear my schedule indefinitely to be completely liberated from targets, interviews, deadlines, release dates, etc. I’ve always dealt with all the pressure that comes with the heavy touring schedule, but for now, it felt too much, like a never ending rollercoaster ride. I always try to give myself 200% and in order to keep doing that, and feeding my creativity, I need some time off to be me, the person behind the artist and reflect on everything that happened the last few years. That means my touring schedule has ended yesterday on Ibiza on September 6th, 2018 with a bang. However, I will still do my All Ages show in the Ziggo Dome during Amsterdam Dance Event on the 18th of October 2018. I’ll keep making music and I will never let go of it and will always aim to continue to connect with my fans through it. Last but not least I want to thank every single one of my fans for the support so far. It is your love and dedication for all I’ve put out there that helped me evolve in more ways than I ever could have imagined, and I realize that I do owe everything to you all. My sincerest hope is that we will be able to continue this journey together. I want to come back stronger than ever, but for now, I’m just going to be me for a while. Robbert
Ahead of one of the craziest weeks in the dance music calendar, the jam-packed schedule of ADE, Axtone star D.O.D announced that all profits from his show in Amsterdam would be donated to mental heath charity, MIND. In an exclusive interview with We Rave You, Dan added that the decision had been influenced by Tim’s passing, stating:
“It’s very unfortunate that this has happened through the loss of not only a super talented artist, but a human being.”
One of Avicii’s closest friends within the music scene was trap pioneer Carnage. Having supported Tim at his Ibiza residency, the DJ and producer told the world of his struggles after losing one of his best friends, and announced that he too would take a hiatus from music, adding:
“This year has been really tough on me…with everything going on…I can’t ignore the warning signs… I need to slow the fuck down… I need time to really sit down and work on my mental and physical health but most importantly my craft. Having close friends pass due to this stuff really scares the fuck out of me.”
As details of Avicii’s last will and testament were released prior to Christmas, it was revealed that the Swede had left a $25 million fortune to his parents. Keen to spread awareness of the internal struggles that plighted Tim in his final years, the Berling family would later go on to set up a foundation in their son’s name.
With 2019 heralding the dawn of a new year, Google announced their most searched for terms in 2018. Perhaps the biggest indication of the level of fame that Tim had achieved through his music came when the search engine revealed that ‘Avicii’ was the second most Googled term throughout the year, just edged out of the top spot by the summer’s World Cup tournament – eventually won by France.
With tributes pouring in all over the world across the course of the past 10 months, the most heart-wrenching came at the Swedish Grammis ceremony, where Tim was post-humously awarded on the night (an accolade accepted by his father Klas Bergling), a vividly emotional video was pieced together showing what Tim meant to the world. The video ended with footage of Tim enjoying inner-peace on a secluded beach with is dog, named ‘Liam’. Impossible to watch without tears.
One month shy of the one year anniversary of Tim’s death, the Bergling family announced ‘The Tim Bergling Foundation‘ to “focus on supporting people and organizations working in the field of mental illness and suicide prevention.” Climate change, development assistance, nature conservation and endangered species will be other fields the foundation focuses on. The statement from the foundation added:
“Tim wanted to make a difference. Starting a foundation in his name is our way to honor his memory and continue to act in his spirit.”
When news of Avicii’s death broke, the Swede’s label also issued a statement to inform fans that the new album Tim had been working on would respectively be put on hold as a mark of respect. However, earlier this month, news broke that the brand-new – and final – Avicii album ‘TIM‘ would arrive this June. With the album’s first single ‘S.O.S’ (featuring ‘Wake Me Up‘ vocalist Aloe Blacc) launched at the start of the month, Avicii fans are safe in the knowledge that for one final summer, their festival season will be soundtracked with a string of fresh mainstage anthems from their hero.
One year on, and Avicii’s death has taught the world to respect one another, and to prioritise our own mental health and avoid burnout. But more than anything, Tim’s legacy has helped our society to understand the importance of cherishing the importance things in our lives as once they’re gone, there’s no way to get them back.
For Tim, the ‘Avicii’ name will always live on in the form of the fantastic musical gifts he graced our planet with. Make sure your own existence is filled with what YOU can offer those around you long after you’re gone.
As the great man once said…
“One day you’ll leave this world behind, so live a life you will remember.”
Rest in peace Tim Bergling
“Spread positivity through my music, in message and enjoy success but not materialistic success” – Tim, 2018
Forever in our hearts, minds and ears ❤️ pic.twitter.com/olCMdDQlsL
— Tim Bergling (@Avicii) April 20, 2019