Our Interview with Avicii

Avicii: “I still feel lucky”

Aviccii

Avicii is back! This September he will release his debut album ‘TRUE’, and Spotify has talked to him about the new single, genre mixing and how he copes with his unimaginably hectic tour life.

We met Avicii at 2:30 am in a dressing room, just minutes after he had performed in front of over 50,000 muddy festival visitors. There is no question that he owns the world of house right now, and this September his debut album TRUE will be released. Today, a new single from the album gets available on Spotify. “I’m really looking forward to release the new single ‘You Make Me’. ‘Wake Me Up’ has really performed well and this new track with the great vocals of Salem Al Fakir is different from ‘Wake Me Up’, which makes me so excited to see what the feedback will be like”, Avicii tells us.

And yes, the previous single “Wake Me Up” became a tremendous success. It is one of the most played songs ever during its first month on Spotify, with over a million streams per day. According to Avicii, that song sets the tone for the rest of the album and his new sound.

Q: How do you mean it sets the tone?

A: I didn’t plan for “Wake Me Up” to be so acoustic, but when I got home from the studio, I was so in love with all the instruments and the vibe. It showed me what I could do in the other songs. Everything is still house music on the album, but it’s mixed with other genres, which I think is pretty damn cool. When the mixture doesn’t feel forced, just organic. It’s what the entire album is about.

Q: You began working with house music around the same time that Spotify started, which means that our careers are about the same age!

A: I was hanging out on Spotify right from the start. For me, it meant the end of illegal downloading of music. Everything was available just as quickly and as easily. I use it mostly when I want to listen to something myself, or if I have some friends over for dinner. Generally when I want to listen to music it’s Spotify that I use.

Q: In 2011 you did 320 gigs, now you travel 200 days a year and you seem to work constantly. You must be completely exhausted sometimes, what drives you to continue?

A: We have reduced it very much. So now I only do 150 gig instead, haha! It is still a lot. But this has been my dream, being able to make a living in music and travel around like I do. I still feel lucky. I remind myself of that all the time and that’s probably what keeps me going.

He claims to be quite a calm person who unwinds easily by himself. But what does he do when he needs to be Tim Bergling and not world artist Avicii? “Then I take a week off, and go home to either Sweden or elsewhere and just turn off the Avicii part of me. I try not to think about music or what I need to do”, he says.

Q: What do you think you’ll be doing ten years from now?

A: Hopefully the same thing, though I may not be playing live as much, maybe producing more music. In ten years, I’ll be 33 … Then I probably will still have a few years left in me to do gigs, I hope. I have no specific goals, although in a way, I get new ones all the time. More and more things that I never thought keep happening, and the music is getting bigger and bigger. But all the goals that I had from the start have been achieved. Like headlining Ultra Music Festival in Miami. Now, I have my own album coming, which also is a milestone. It will be really fun to see how the album received. I had no idea how the first single “Wake Me Up” would do, that was a little gamble, but it surprised me that it went as well as it did.

Follow Aviccii on Spotify.

 

Refer-a-Friend, Help People Hear

It’s Day 3 of our Refer-a-Friend, Support a Cause initiative with LSTN Giving Back Amplified and the Starkey Hearing Foundation.  We’ve had just over 1000 referrals so far…and we want to get up to at least 10x that!

You can help bring the ability to hear (and to listen to music!) to more people, just by referring friends to Spotify.

For every friend you refer to Spotify this week, we’ll donate to LSTN’s Giving Back Amplified program.  

Our friends at LSTN Headphones are in Peru right now with the Starkey Hearing Foundation fitting people with hearing aids. Check out this great video they made about their first day in Peru.

Use #SpotifyGivesBack to spread the word and click here to refer your friends.

The sounds of September courtesy of Playlists.net

Playlists_Logo_Email

We present you the music selection that our friends from Playlists.net have handpicked for this month.

Easy Like Sunday Morning

When Playlists.net was just a kid, Sunday’s were boring. Homework to be done. School’s shadow cast over the day. Nothing to do. Nowhere open. Now we’re all grown up, we can’t get enough of them. Sunday’s are all about good coffee and great food, newspapers and sport; leisurely strolls, a nap, perhaps, and maybe even a drink or two. And good music, of course. With that in mind, we’re endeavouring to give every day that Sunday feeling, with our Easy Like Sunday Morning mixtape. So, which artists encapsulate the perfect Sunday vibe? The Spinners, Commodores, Al Green, Womack & Womack, the Stylistics, Michael Kiwanuka and Average White Band, to name just a handful. This a 47-track mixtape, spanning over six hours, that makes every day a Sunday.

The Soundtrack to August 2013

This month, Playlists.net staple The Soundtrack to is a mixtape of “biblical proportions.” That’s the description from creator >Phil Wilce, and we have to agree. As always, it’s 50 of the best new releases around, taking in almost six hours of music as brilliant as it is eclectic. Wilce recommends “the wondrous, riotous hell of The Amazing Snakeheads, FIDLAR and Parquet Courts,” as well as, “a flood of cuts from what are shaping up to be albums of the year from Disclosure, John Grant, The National and Jagwar Ma.” Favourites in the Playlists.net office include the rat-tat-tat rhymes of Bloc Party’s Ratchet; the irresistible, rock-and-roll riot that is Primal Scream; and the brilliant return of Gold Panda. Brilliant, as always. A genuine must-hear mixtape.

Improbable Banjo

Brilliant. Simply brilliant. This is what Playlists.net is all about: weird, wonderful, creative mixtapes, collections of tracks you wouldn’t hear anywhere else. We’ll hand over to *AJLW to tell you more … “I’ve been collecting songs for a while,” the Playlists.net user says, “which have a sneaky banjo lurking somewhere in the mix, trying to avoid the more obvious bluegrass and country genres. Hope you fall in love with the vibe as much as I have.” We have. No doubts about it. Who’d have ever thought artists such as Nelly Furtado, Pavement, Travis, Prefab Sprout, Joy Kills Sorrow, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits would include the humble banjo. Not us. A first-class mixtape. We can’t recommend it highly enough.

Breaking Bad – The Comprehensive Collection (Season 1-5)

Chris Hill has brought together all of the music from the best ñ and unequivocally darkest ñ show on TV today, Breaking Bad. He created this mixtape after swotting up online on the tracks used throughout the programme, incorporating music from seasons one through five. And it’s a cracker. ìEvery song from the show that is available on Spotify,î he says, ìcompiled using various blogs and fan websites and is as comprehensive as you’ll find. Up to date with season five episode eight.î Walt fans. Jessie diehards. Los Pollos Hermanos lovers. This is the mixtape for you. Try, like we have, to name in which episode each of the 88 tracks included here features. As addictive as a bag of blue crystal, but less likely to make your teeth fall out, this is a proper must-hear mixtape for aficionados of what is one of the greatest shows in television history.

Grunts, Groans & Moans

ìFrom the soulful groans of James Brown and Otis Redding,î hoxsd1 says, ìto the lustful moans of Donna Summer and Prince, to the well placed grunts of bands like The Rolling Stones or Rage Against the Machine, these songs capture the raw emotion of music at a primal level.î If that doesn’t get your musical juices flowing going, nothing will. The Playlists.net hall of famer has put together a collection of noises that, no matter how unintelligible they may be, stir the soul, give you goosebumps and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention. Sounds by the likes of Marvin Gaye, the Stooges, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the Smiths, Howlin’ Wolf, Happy Mondays, Beastie Boys, Serge Gainsbourg, the Birthday Party, Sly & the Family Stone and many, many more. The OOOHHHS. THE WAAAHHHSSS. The YEEEAAAWWWSSS. A magic mixtape.

The World’s Most Perfect Pop Songs

We don’t shy away from the big questions, here at Playlists.net. Questions like, What does the world’s most perfect pop song sound like? That’s the thinker we’re talking up in this mixtape, the latest creation from the Playlists.net team. Yep. We’ve carefully curated a collection of perfect pop songs from around the world. Over 200 of them, in fact. That’s more than 24 hours of pop perfection. It’s the sun-blushed harmonies of the Beach Boys. It’s the elegy of .Amy Winehouse. It’s the synth-driven genius of Electronic. It’s the lilting tones of Bill Withers. It’s Daft Punk, Supergrass, All Saints and Natalie Imbruglia. It’s Robbie Williams, Van Morrison, Primal Scream and Elbow. It’s a collection of artists as eclectic as it is infectious. It is, quite simply, the greatest collection of pop music in the world.

Not Another Hipster Playlist

Hipster mixtapes: you love them, we love them, Vince Chiaramonte loves them. Very much aware of their ubiquity, the Playlists.net user has knowingly titled his latest creation Not Another Hipster Playlist. ‘A little indie goodness,’ is how he describes it. A lot of indie goodness is how we describe it. Over 50 tracks of audio nourishment, in fact, spanning almost six glorious hours. It’s a deft mix of new, not-that-new and old, the unifying theme being a commitment to top-drawer music. Our recommendations include tracks by the Black Keys, Vampire Weekend and alt-J, Jose Gonzalez, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Fitz and the Tantrums. But it’s a playlist of real quality throughout, so click shuffle, hit play and see what you discover.

Fantasia: New Classical Chill

Is that really you, Reggie Prim? Is everything okay? Are you feeling alright? The Playlists.net user is our undisputed heavyweight champion of the underground electronic music mixtape. This is unequivocal fact. With that in mind, his latest creation came as something of surprise to the team ñ albeit a very, very pleasant surprise. Fantasia: New Classical Chill is, in Prim’s words, ‘Selections from recent classical releases to help soothe the mind and mend frayed nerves.’ It’s a change of pace for the user who’s normally raising heart rates with deep and driving house and techno, but one we welcome. Our advice? Kick your shoes off, click shuffle, hit play, sit back, relax and unwind. A superb playlist by one of our most dextrous users.

Great Themes

It’s a classic barroom question: what is your all-time favourite theme tune? This is something Music Dynamite has put some serious consideration into. The result is this playlist ñ simply entitled, Great Themes. ‘The best (also my favourite) themes,’ says the Playlists.net user, ‘from movies and TV, that have ever been composed. Some epic, some beautiful, all fantastic to listen to.’ Our favourite? It’s a tossup between: Duuun dun de duun duun, duun duun duun, duun dun de dun duuun, DUN DE DUUUUUN!, and Da duuuuun, duuun, da duun duun duun duuun, da da duun de duun de duun de daa, daaa, de duun duun duun daaa, da da da da da da DAAAAA DA! Both of which feature here, alongside over eight hours of classic theme tunes. Super stuff.

The Best Remixes of 2013

It’s been a great year for new music, and arguably an even better one for great remixes. One user has had the foresight to put them all together in one, continuously updated mixtape. So far, it stands at a whopping 300+ tracks. That’s hours upon hours of the best remixes, reedits, reworkings, cutups, mashups and club mixes the past 12 months has to offer. It features a stellar lineup of artists such as Hot Chip, Blue Foundation, Trails and Ways, Wave Machines, Milwaukee and the Deers, with the likes of JD Twitch, Sun Glitter, the Seshen, James Yuill, Amtrac and Dwid on remix duty. Some of the remixes featured here, in fact, dare we say, in our humble opinion, are even better than the originals. But we’re not saying which ones. This playlist is updated regularly, remember, so don’t forget to subscribe.

Lady Gaga – Digital Culture From Present and Past

Lady Gaga

Stefani Joanne Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga, is a genuin pop queen influenced by David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Queen and the ’80s. She is recognized for her extravagant, versatile and outré contributions to the music industry through her performances, music videos and jaw-dropping fashion. The word crazy is no longer a question of definition when you appear in public wearing a gas mask, gyroscope, large lampshade, massive egg or dress made entirely of meat.

Lady Gaga is born and raised in New York by her Italian parents. Her name was invented by her friends who told her that she was “sooo Freddie Mercury”…“like Radio Gaga” and “a gay guy in a woman’s body.” Since then she has been called Gaga, which made it quite natural to just add Lady, making it her artist name.

Lady Gaga has been nominated several times as Artist of the year in Billboard’s magazine, and in 2010 she scored the definitive title. VH1 put her up on 4th place as the 100 Greatest Women in Music and she is regularly placed on lists by Forbes magazine, including The World’s 100 most Powerful Women from 2010 to 2013. In June 2013 Forbes listed her as the world’s second most powerful celebrity, after Operah Winfrey, followed by Beyoncé and Madonna. Also, Time Magazine named her as one of the most influential people in the entire world.

Gaga’s last tour, Born This Way Ball Tour, grossed $168 million through January. She would have likely topped $200 million if it hadn’t been for a hip injury which forced her to cancel all the remaining shows. The 11th of November 2013 will mark the release date for her new and much anticipated album Artpop.

Even though Lady Gaga has some of the best-selling singles worldwide and her achievements include five Grammy Awards and thirteen MTV Video Music Awards, she is way more than just a singer and songwriter – she is also a record producer, LGBT activist, businesswoman, fashion designer, an actress and she is a huge influencer. Together with her nearly 38 million Twitter followers and 59 million Facebook fans, Lady Gaga successfully marries music, fashion and culture into a digital world. She is the first artist to reach 1 billion views on YouTube. Lady Gaga constantly creates a buzz, she has dominated the world of pop during the past years in a way that no other artist with similar sales ever had. Neither has any superstar in history ever managed to connect with their audience in the unique way that Gaga does.

The 27-year-old Lady Gaga inspires her fans and the whole community around her. The relationship between Gaga and her fans is fascinating – it’s exceptionally intime and she is consistently in contact with them through social media. She has gained so much power so that today she has a very big responsibility towards all her millions of fans. Lady Gaga creates trends by repurposing the past, particularly the ’80s, for present use, creating sustainable pop for a digital world. The impressive Lady Gaga has become a phenomenon of sorts; you can almost call it a culture.


 

 

#MusicMonday playlist brought to you by @MonaFims

MusicMonday

Our friend @MonaFims has this #MusicMonday’s recommendations.

We start this week with an Italian-born singer/songwriter: Mauro Remiddi known as “Porcelain Raft” and his beautiful “Drifting In And Out”.  The next song in our playlist this week is a song called “Ghost” taken from ON AN ON’s debut album “Give” released earlier this year.

We continue with a band from Los Angeles, California: “Mansionson the Moon” and their dreamy “Rest of Your Days”. Next we have an old favorite: “A Little Piece” by Australian “The Jezabels”.

French Kicks are an indie rock group from New York City and next we have a song from their fourth and latest studio album “Swimming” released back in 2008.

If you have song suggestions for next week’s playlist, be sure to drop them in Mona’s Spotify Inbox.

Subscribe to the playlist and you will get a mix of twenty new Feel-Good tracks every Monday.

 

Refer a friend. Support a cause

RAFHow’s this for an offer? Invite friends to join Spotify and support a worthy cause at the same time.

From August 26 – September 2, 2013, every friend you refer will be matched with a $1.00 donation to LSTN Headphone’s “Giving Back. Amplified.” program, which helps restore hearing to people in need.

LSTN Headphones and The Starkey Foundation have partnered to bring hearing aids to people around the world. We love the idea and think it goes perfectly with our mission to give access to music to everyone.  

Click here to invite your friends!

 

Our Interview with Crystal Fighters

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 11.22.40 AM
 

“Santana at Woodstock seemed pretty rad…”

Sebastian Pringle from Crystal Fighters is in a hotel room in Lisbon when we reach him. There’s a festival tonight, another tomorrow, a string of gigs happening in the days after that. This is a band that love to travel and use the experiences they collect to inform what direction they move in next. After their recent sunburst-shaped enormo-smash You & I comes the new album, Cave Rave, which was inspired by the idea of ancient hole-in-a-hill dwellers free of all cultural baggage. A bit like [name redacted].

So what Lisbonic culture has Sebastian been soaking up?

“I’ve actually been sleeping most of the day,” he laughs. Righto

Hello Seb – tell me, what was the first music you were aware of?

Well, my dad listened to a lot of blues and reggae; the Paul Butterfield Blues band and Taj Mahal were my his favourites. As I became a teenager I discovered Oasis and Blur and then we all moved onto American punk, like Pennywise – that skate sound. Later we moved onto UK punk like Capdown and Captain Everything, more on the hardcore and ska side which, of course, led us back to reggae and dub!

You’d come full-circle?

Yeah. I was listening to King Tubby and people like Phyllis Dillon. I was living in Bristol by then, so there was a lot of dub and hip-hop around.

What five artists couldn’t Crystal Fighters exist without?

I’d say Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso and that whole Brazilian Tropicalia take on rock and roll. MF Doom would be in there, he was hugely influential for me lyrically and Madlib, his ease with samples and sounds is completely inspiring. Then I’d have to say reggae producer The Scientist – his Rids The World of the Curse of the Intergalactic Vampires album is a real favourite of mine.

What was the last amazing record you heard?

I love that sort of dubby, minimal techno that producers like Pylon make. Graham from the band is really into all of that and he knows a lot of those guys. The new Aquadrop record is great too – he’s really flipped his sound from glitchy electro to straight up trap. Then there’s Cumbia legend Anibal Velasquez – his stuff is really taking me away at the moment.

Are Crystal Fighters Spotify users?

Oh yes, big time. I think the amazing thing about it is you can hear a reference from someone in a conversation to a piece of music then you can go straight to it on your phone. I discovered King Tuff the other day through a chance conversation and I really like him. I think Spotify is an amazing resource.

If I could drop you into any band in history, who would it be?

Definitely Santana’s band at Woodstock – they seem pretty rad. They looked out of their minds and they had such a powerful vibe!

When these dates are done we’re going to throw a big Crystal Fighters party and you’re DJing: what five records are we guaranteed to hear?

Oh well, you’ll definitely hear some Pylon, then Mambo Loco by Anibal Velasquez – that’s a mad tune. Badness Dub by King Tubby is brilliant, then it would be straight into Chic’s Everybody Dance and some vintage Afro-beat piece by D.O. Misiani

OK, simple final question. What’s your favourite noise?

Oh that’s easy - birdsong is my favourite noise. We had a house outside Austin during SXSW in 2010 and the birdsong there was fascinating. I think a lot of early music must have been inspired melodically and rhythmically by those sort of natural sounds.

Check out their exclusive Spotify Session live from our London HQ here!

 

Coffee and Music

13MKT_IR_Spotify_50th_mockup

In celebration of its 50th Anniversary, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf‘ has enlisted the help of The Playlist Generation — a music branding company comprised of top global DJs, music supervisors, bloggers, musicians and producers — to curate the perfect playlist featuring amazing tunes from the past five decades.

Turn up these coffee house favorites here!

 

Favorite Pre-Date Jams To Beat The Dating Jitters from Match.com

The Single Best List of Pre-date Anthems

Going on a date can make you nervous. So there are a lot of people preparing themselves before going out on that with that special someone.

We teamed up with Match.com to find the most popular songs to soothe pre-date jitters.

Below are some of the survey’s highlights:

  • Music is a Pre-date Must: 78% of single men and women state that music is a crucial part of their pre-date ritual.
  • Music to Primp To: When asked what type of music they prefer listening to while getting ready for a date, 57% of men chose classic rock, while the majority of women (54%) preferred pop music/top 40 hits.
  • Classic Moves: 49% of men and 39% of women said they found classic rock to be a turn-on for their dates to play in the background to set the mood.
  • Mood Music: While 49% of men choose to listen to classic crooner Barry White when getting pumped up for a date, 44% of women chose sexy current artists like Robin Thicke and Maroon 5.
  • Mood Killers: Both men and women agreed that rap, country and heavy metal music are no-no’s on a date.
  • Music Idols: 49% of men channel suave Justin Timberlake when embarking on a first date, while the majority of women (26%) channel self-empowering P!nk.
  • Which Artist is Crushing it?  40% of guys named Taylor Swift as their music crush, who received more than double the votes of her nearest competitor, Rihanna (19%). Women are currently crushing on Robin Thicke (32%).

Enjoy the full playlist with the Top Tracks here:

 

Amy Winehouse: #AMYS30 Playlist

-4

As a child growing up, Amy Winehouse’s life was full of music. Sometimes it would be her dad Mitch singing Sarah Vaughan or Frank Sinatra songs around the house, other times Amy and he would harmonise together as he drove his black cab through the London streets.

Over the years Amy’s mother Janis built up a huge record collection and she says she would often find her daughter singing along to favourite LPs, while Amy’s brother Alex frequently discovered that the CDs he thought were missing CDs were actually up in Amy’s room. Later, Mitch’s new wife Jane would take her step-daughter along when she worked on hospital radio and let Amy’s taste guide the music she programmed for that day’s shows. Ultimately, all of this music went on to create a soundtrack to Amy’s life as well as providing an inspiration for the songs she would go on to become hugely – and rightly – famous for.

This September, Amy would have turned 30. To celebrate her life and career – and the work being done in her name by the Amy Winehouse Foundation - her family have compiled a playlist of her most beloved songs for Spotify as part of #Amys30. Come for the classic soul, jazz and doo wop that helped to shape and define Amy’s sound, stick around for the handful of truly left-field choices woven into the mix.

Click here more information on the Amy Winehouse Foundation.