By Jeremy Blacklow
Avicii (real name Tim Bergling) the Swedish DJ whose meteoric rise to become one of the most sought after DJs in the world has been unprecedented, found himself embroiled in a mound of controversy following an in-depth profile of him in GQ magazine, which he claims portrayed his quotes completely out of context. The article lead to him issuing a scathing response on Monday, which has subsequently reignited debates amongst some in the electronic dance community regarding both approach to EDM performances and how much access a musician should give to the media.
The article, published last Friday by Jessica Pressler (who on Twitter identifies herself as an “Actress, model, and retired professional wrestler” and reporter for New York magazine), slams both Avicii and the electronic dance music (EDM) community to which he caters. In the first paragraph alone, her article refers to a random fan from Twitter as a “douchebag,” and then goes on portray Avicii as a whiny diva with little regard for his peers or his craft. Based on a full week spent with the DJ and his crew around this past New Year’s Eve, the article also paints a biting portrait of his entourage (especially his main bodyguard, Felix) and rock star lifestyle, in a profile style reminiscent of what one member of the community even compared to the 2000 Cameron Crowe film, “Almost Famous.”
After the article was published, the DJ posted a lengthy response on Facebook to his 3 million plus followers about how he, “would normally not even care but this article really got to me, how it could even be published with so little truth and misquotations,” continuing, “Anyone reading this article should know it's very subjectively twisted by someone who has a) no experience of this scene or insight to a DJs profession at all and b) has no interest in really understanding it either” and “everything even down to the tracks I play she got wrong in this article.”
He concluded that, “We agreed to let GQ into our camp to actually portray a serious side of this music to the masses who might not now and might not understand. We hoped they could unveil and communicate the reason for there being so much love within, and how such a great community has risen organically for, this music genre. The problem was that a journalist that knows nothing of electronic music was sent to be on the road with me for a couple of days and then tried piecing together what it's all about. She failed miserably.”
One DJ who took Avicii to task, was Canadian veteran DJ A-Trak, who regularly blogs online quite articulately about electronic music. On Friday, he chimed in with a series of tweets about the GQ article:
Dutch DJ Laidback Luke chimed in:
Some harsh words, indeed! All of this also lead to a more in-depth conversation about how much access any musician – DJ or traditional – should give to a profiling journalist. Electronic music journalist Jason Bentley made the “Almost Famous” comparison, to which Avicii himself agreed:
On Tuesday morning, veteran DJ and prolific tweeter Tommie Sunshine even went so far to call GQ “our enemy in print form.”
Meanwhile, the reporter herself has become a target of the EDM community on Twitter. Since Monday she’s been sarcastically re-tweeting some of the more innocuous written attacks.
And it’s not the only controversy Avicii has stirred up recently. He brought one of the most talked about DJ sets to Miami’s Ultra Music Festival the weekend before last. In his own words on TwitLonger, he stated, “Looks like I stirred up some controversy with my set friday night at UMF,” in which he debuted collaborations with “I Need a Dollar” singer Aloe Blacc, country singer Mac Davis, and Jose Pasillas and Mike Einzinger from Incubus, amongst others. Music blogger Arjan Writes highly-praised the set for “being bold and pushing the EDM frontier into exciting new territory.”
Avicii’s new album is reportedly due out early summer. He has been working with former disco producer Nile Rodgers, who himself has recently been re-launching his career working with electronic-centric artists that also include Daft Punk and Adam Lambert.
In 2012, Avicii’s Ultra set off news alerts when Madonna joined him on-stage to introduce his new remix of her song “Girl Gone Wild,” and asked the crowd if anyone had seen “Molly,” a veiled reference to her recently released album, “M.D.N.A.”, which itself served as a double-entendre for the party drug ecstasy.
Omg! reached out on Tuesday to reps for both Avicii and GQ for further comments regarding the article's fallout.