About a full week ago, Avicii shook the EDM world when he performed tracks from his forthcoming album with guitarists, banjo players, Aloe Blacc, and a woman with a kazoo at the Ultra Music Festival. Incubus’ Mike Einziger was part of his ensemble, and recently spoke about meeting Avicii and what this performance was like, and about:
“I was vaguely aware of his name. I totally knew his song ‘Levels’ really well, I think it’s awesome.
“So I was kind of curious to see what it would be like for us to get together and make music. I had no idea what would come out of it. We just got together to talk, and we ended up having a lot more in common that I would have imagined. Where he was coming from musically was really interesting to me.
“He wanted to make a record that was true to what he’d done in the past, but he also had this intense desire to do something drastically different and pave some new ground in that electronic world,. Being completely honest, I’m not all that familiar with the landscape of EDM music. The idea of a repetitive house beat…I just didn’t get it.”
He spoke about collaborating with Avicii and Blacc on “Wake Me Up,” which could possibly be the first single from Avicii’s album. “He wanted to make this record that really had a lot of soul, but infused elements of folk music, country – all kinds of different sounds you wouldn’t normally find in his EDM universe. He was really adamant about it, which is why it was such a good idea for us to work together. He’s so committed to the idea of not doing what everybody else is doing. That was exciting to me.” Einziger and Avicii are still writing music together, but he’s not sure how much of that material will actually make the album.
Mike went on to say that Avicii had asked him to form a band for the infamous live performance, calling Avicii “fearless” in his quest to pull this off for the Ultra audience. They were aware that this wouldn’t be a performance that would go over as well as one of Avicii’s sets, and they hadn’t really performed the full show in rehearsal, which had to have added to their anxiousness about the show.
“We could tell that the crowd wasn’t freaking out during that part of the show the way they had been earlier in his performance. But people were really watching. Being in a band myself and knowing what it’s like playing new material for your audience, you can really sort of tell when a crowd is paying attention. It definitely seemed kind of odd, but we had so much confidence in the music and knowing the songs were so great that even if people didn’t get it right in that moment, we knew it would make sense eventually.”