Swedish DJ, remixer and record producer Avicii has accomplished quite a bit in his 22 years on earth. Last year, his smash single “Levels” was inescapable, and this year’s newest hit “Silhouettes” is already approaching four million views on YouTube since its April release.
Currently headlining his own arena tour, he stops in San Francisco this June 28 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
How does it feel to be one of the first EDM artists’ to headline an arena tour?
It’s great, it’s a huge step for me and for electronic dance music, as well. My manager Ash and I have worked extremely hard on this tour and it really has been an incredible experience.
Is there more pressure to sell-out these arenas?
Of course—we were the first to embark on this in the EDM world and a lot has to come together for it. At the same time, the market is becoming saturated with all the attention EDM is getting. For me, the focus is not really arenas but the production we are bringing to them.
Do you think it’s harder to connect with fans when you’re in a huge arena?
Well, you have to think differently. I think you’re left with what can resonate through big crowds in general, much as at big festivals. Through the right music, good energy and a great production, you will reach each and every one. It’s an arena; there is no point trying to re-create the intimacy of a small club, it’s impossible.
Playing an arena is special and amazing in its own huge way. If people are seeking a small club, intimate experience they would go to a club. When people go to an arena show they would expect that arena epic-show experience.
You say that you always try to “outdo” what you’ve done before. Where do you begin when trying to outdo the massive, heavily-remixed “Levels”?
(Laughs) An arena tour perhaps?
When you started your career, you were underage and playing glitzy clubs. Now that you’re 22, do you have the same mindset and feelings when playing?
Well, I’m more used to playing to large audiences than I was when I first started out, but apart from that it’s actually very similar. I still approach each gig in exactly the same way that I used to, and I still get excited every time I step up to the stage/booth. I love what I do—it’s an amazing feeling making people happy with the music that you’ve made. My fans mean everything to me and it’s for them that I still perform.
Lastly, will we catch you hanging out anywhere in SF?
I’ve actually spent a lot of time in SF. I love the city and its vibe so I’m definitely coming back to just hang even after this tour is over.
Avicii performs Thursday at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. More info.