On what would have been Avicii’s 31st birthday, the late producer’s father, Klas Bergling, has given a sprawling, intimate interview on his son’s life and legacy.
Airing today (September 8) at 5 p.m. ET on Sirius XM’s BPM channel, Bergling joins Sirius XM’s Head of Electronic Dance Music Programming Geronimo to discuss many aspects of his son’s life, including how he and his family tried to convince Tim to take a break from touring.
“Almost every day, every year,” Bergling says of the frequency of this conversation. “The music business, you know it, it absorbs you, with such a success that Tim went through. All the time he spent traveling, making music, and at that time he was really happy doing it, even if it was up and down and things happened on the way. He was happy, and he was producing and he was creative. As a parent you sit here in Stockholm, and of course you want your son to come home and take a rest.”
Avicii, of course of the famous dance music producers of the EDM era, struggled with health issues throughout his career before taking his own life on April 20, 2018 in Muscat, Oman. In the interview Klas Bergling continues that his son’s struggles with addiction and mental health issues eventually affected the entire Bergling family.
“Especially in the later years,” he says. “Mental illness is often connected with depression. You can see it and you feel it and you can almost say that this person needs help. Tim didn’t show those signs too [officially.] We stopped him twice together with his management, but that was later, and of course we were very worried in the family many times.”
“You may wonder, why didn’t you do anything? We did a lot of things. That’s for sure,” he continues. “Tim was a grown up. That’s something which is important to see also, he took his own decisions. We couldn’t lock him in. That’s not the way you can handle things. He was constantly producing also, so it’s a strange situation. When you see it now with another perspective, it may be easy to say of course we should have stopped him, but we did stop him.”
The exclusive interview is airing as part of BPM’s Avicii Birthday Tribute for Mental Health Awareness, which takes place today through September 13 as part of National Suicide Prevention Week in the United States. The Tribute includes music from Avicii and many of Tim’s friends and collaborators — including Aloe Blacc, Armin van Buuren, Bonn, David Guetta, Joe Janiak, Laidback Luke, Martin Garrix, Nicky Romero, Nile Rodgers and more — sharing stories about Tim, his music and their own experiences with mental illness.
“I’ve been listening to his music so much, every song over and over and over again, same with Anki my wife,” Klas Bergling says in the BPM interview of his favorite Avicii track. “It’s really hard. I didn’t like “Wake Me Up” the first time I heard it, for example. After listening to it a couple of times I started understanding things.”
Joining Geronimo from his home in Stockholm, the elder Bergling gets emotional throughout the interview, particularly when discussing how he always knew his son was special.
“Very early, I would say, long before he started with music production,” Bergling says of realizing Tim was gifted. “He was very special as a child, you know. He was very good at drawing and had very broad fantasy and he wrote very special stories in school. You’re obliged to write stories when you practice your language, you’re supposed to write a small story, and he was very talented and funny and dramatic. He was also very serious. He had a very serious side very early…He was sensitive. You couldn’t make jokes about everything.”
The complete interview is also available on demand via the SiriusXM App and will be rebroadcast on Wednesday, September 9 at 9 a.m. ET; Friday, September 11 at 3 p.m. ET and Sunday, September 13 at 2 p.m. ET. Watch video clips of the conversation below.