Avicii was so invested and excited about his new album that even on his flight to Oman, where he later died, he was communicating with his producers about different sounds and melodies he wanted to include, and guest artists they should reach out to about collaborating.
The Swedish DJ-producer died on April 20, 2018. Months later, his family asked Avicii’s musical team to complete the unfinished album.
Avicii’s surviving friends, parents and collaborators decided to share his final album with the DJ’s fans after careful consideration of his lyrics and by using notes left behind, which led to Tim, the 12-track posthumous album.
The album was named after Avicii, whose real name is Tim Bergling.
Finishing the late DJ’s album wasn’t so easy for production duo Vargas & Lagola, who had worked with Avicii since 2011.
“It was hard to just even open the computer and work on the songs,” said Salem Al Fakir, who goes by Lagola. “We opened (the computer) like six months after everything happened.”
“The family’s wish was to release the songs … and that helped us finish the songs,” he added.
Thankfully because of multiple conversations, emails, text messages and more, Vargas & Lagola knew what Avicii wanted his new album to sound like, and felt they were headed in the right direction.
“We spent so much time with him in the last … three months before he passed,” Lagola said.
“We knew how he wanted vocals,” added Vincent Pontare, aka Vargas. “We’ve been working with him for so long. We know what he likes and what he don’t like.”
Tim features collaborations with Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Imagine Dragons and expands on the electronic dance music sound that made Avicii a juggernaut on the music scene and festival circuit.
Aloe Blacc, who collaborated with Avicii on the worldwide hit Wake Me Up, said recording the single SOS for the new album felt like an important job because of the song’s powerful meaning.
“It was really heavy, these lyrics,” Blacc said. “After knowing what he’d been through, and really feeling extremely confident that he’d made it through the worst of his experiences in the music business, and everything was on the up and up, then getting the news that he’d passed, this song really felt like it was an important message to deliver to honour his legacy. And also to really create the language for people who are in distress situations, anxiety, mental health issues —words to say, ‘I need help.’”
Blacc didn’t know about SOS until January when he was asked to sing on it. In the studio, he said he felt Avicii’s presence.
“Every time I did something that wasn’t exactly right, (the producer’s) critique or their coaching to fix it really felt like the spirit of Tim,” he said.
For Blacc, he hopes his last collaboration with Avicii can be therapy for others.
“There are a lot of folks out there dealing with mental health issues and Tim was one of them. This song (SOS) was his opportunity, I think, to probably help himself, but in a large way, help others.”
The Grammy-nominated hitmaker broke barriers by mixing country and western sounds with dance music on hits like Wake Me Up and Hey Brother, and was part of the pack of white-hot DJ-producers-remixers who stood out as pop stars in their own right after years of working behind the scenes, from David Guetta to Calvin Harris to Skrillex.
At 28, Avicii’s short life ended when he was found dead in Muscat, Oman, a popular vacation destination on the Arabian Sea. Police said there was no evidence of foul play, while Rolling Stone magazine and TMZ reported he died by suicide. (Earlier this year Avicii’s family launched the Tim Bergling Foundation, which focuses on supporting people and organizations in the field of mental illness and suicide prevention).
Avicii had in the past suffered acute pancreatitis, in part due to excessive drinking. After having his gallbladder and appendix removed in 2014, he cancelled a series of shows in an attempt to recover, and in 2016 he announced he was retiring from the road.
Check out the Tim tracklist below.
- Peace of Mind (featuring Vargas & Lagola
- SOS (featuring Aloe Blacc)
- Tough Love (featuring Agnes and Vargas & Lagola)
- Bad Reputation (featuring Joe Janiak)
- Ain’t a Thing (featuring Bonn)
- Hold the Line (featuring A R I Z O N A)
- Freak (featuring Bonn)
- Excuse Me Mr. Sir (featuring Vargas & Lagola)
- Heart Upon My Sleeve (featuring Imagine Dragons)
- Never Leave Me (featuring Joe Janiak)
- Fades Away (featuring Noonie Bao)
Tim is available on all streaming platforms now.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.