Avicii prepares for another Miami takeover

Tim Bergling – better known to the music world as Avicii – is taking over Miami again during Winter Music Conference week. After last year’s successful transformation of the Marlin Hotel into the Avicii Hotel, the Swedish superstar DJ is at it again, this time setting his sights on the SLS South Beach, which will bear his name from March 26-30.

The Grammy nominee’s rise to fame has been swift, with several of his hits – “Levels,” “Wake Me Up” and “Hey Brother” – cracking mainstream radio and staying there, putting him in Calvin Harris and David Guetta territory at the tender age of 24. Two years ago at the Ultra Music Festival, Avicii was joined onstage by Madonna to premiere the track “Girl Gone Wild.”

You can catch Avicii at his new home for a week, the SLS South Beach, and also headlining at Ultra on Saturday, March 29.

What can we expect from this year’s Avicii Hotel on a daily basis?
Kanon vodka! We’re rebranding the entire hotel to be the Avicii Hotel. Guests will get all kinds of Avicii gifts every day, from tee’s to rubber ducks, and this year we’re bringing Ushuaia, Ibiza – one of the world’s most beautiful club experiences – poolside at the Avicii Hotel. We’re having a huge lineup this year between the 26th and the 30th with Luciano, Nervo, Dmitri Vegas & Like Mike. I’m also playing on the 27th. The rest of the lineup includes Cazzette, Syn Cole, Rebecca & Fiona, Luciano & Friends and SO many more.

What gave you the idea to take over a hotel during WMC?
We’ve been slowly building on this idea since 2012. We started with the Avicii-branded ice cream trucks, and then in 2013 we took over the Marlin Hotel. My manager, Ash, is the marketing genius behind these takeovers, and it’s been going so well that we decided to do it again this year, bigger and better.

You’re headlining Ultra again this year – can we expect any new music, or major surprises like Madonna onstage with you again?
You never know! I always love to do something exciting and special for big festivals like Ultra. But nothing I can talk about just yet – you’ll have to wait and see.

Has Ultra become the main draw of WMC week?
I think so. The whole week is incredible and shouldn’t be missed, but Ultra is like the big finisher.

Do you feel a different level of adrenaline when you perform at Ultra?
Yeah, the overall vibe is insane. The crowd brings a completely different level of energy, which makes playing there that much more enjoyable.

What does it feel like when 15,000 people are going crazy over the music you’re playing?
There is nothing like it. To see a crowd jump and move as one makes everything worth it – it’s the best feeling.

Ultra has been cut back to one weekend this year. Was two weekends last year too much?
In my opinion, there’s never too much Ultra.

What inspired you to mix a bit of country with electronica in “Wake Me Up”?
I’d call it more bluegrass than country, and you’ll see these influences throughout the album. Bluegrass has always captured my attention – when I’ve heard it, there’s just something so cool and credible about it. That’s where I drew a lot of my inspiration from, and really I just went with what I liked.

Has its success surprised you after its initial mixed reactions?
Of course – I never expected it to do so well. I took a big risk with this track, because it was so different from anything else that I’d done. But it really resonated well with people. I think the fact that it didn’t stay completely within one genre allowed people from all sorts of musical tastes to find something they like about the track.