After years of planning, the Avicii Experience tribute museum opens Friday (Feb. 25) in the late producer’s hometown of Stockholm.
In a testament to the strength of the legacy of the artist born Tim Bergling, the space was inaugurated Thursday by Sweden’s Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia. As part of this opening, the latter royal read the lyrics of the 2014 Avicii track “The Nights” to Avicii’s father Klas Bergling, reciting “One day my father, he told me/ Son, don’t let it slip away/ He took me in his arms, I heard him say/ When you get older/ Your wild heart will live for younger days/ Think of me if ever you’re afraid.”
It was a teary moment to launch the emotional facility. Others at the opening event included Per Sundin, the CEO of Pophouse Entertainment, the producer of the Avicii Experience and the same group behind Stockholm’s ABBA museum and other cultural installations and hotels throughout the city, along with the Experience’s Content Producer Lisa Halling-Aadland.
Months prior to the opening of the space, Billboard joined Halling-Aadland in Stockholm for a tour of the Experience, which then existed only as a miniature model. Halling-Aadland notes that while the Experience is “Ultimately for his fans and EDM lovers and culture lovers,” many people who visit may be new to Bergling’s story, particularly given that the Avicii Experience is working with myriad Stockholm tourism agencies to drive attendance.
Thus, the Experience is packed with information intended to resonate with both those with deep knowledge of Bergling’s life story and those who are discovering him and electronic music culture for the first time. Located inside digital culture center Space, the roughly 3,700-square foot Experience thus starts at the beginning of Bergling’s life via a replica of his childhood bedroom, complete with the video games the young Tim Bergling spent countless hours playing during his childhood.
“The idea here is to give the visitor a sense of, ‘This could have been my brother; this could have been my friend,’ super relatable,” says Halling-Aadland.
This area and other parts of the Avicii Experience were furnished with many of the actual items Bergling had in his room as a boy, as provided to the space by Klas Bergling and his wife Anki Lidén. “There’s no way any of this could have happened without Klas and Anki,” Halling-Aadland adds. “They provided props, information, instruments, guidance, literally everything.”
From the bedroom, the experience transitions into a space exploring Bergling’s teenage friendship with Filip Åkesson, who produced music under the name Philgood. While even many hardcore Avicii fans aren’t aware of Åkesson and the role he played, “he’s actually the first guy that Tim met that he started making music with,” explains Halling-Aadland. “He’s a really big deal in Tim’s musical life.”
Åkesson worked with Halling-Aadland on the project, which benefits from the fact that Åkesson saved his PC from this early era. The team was thus able to excavate never-released early productions by Avicii and Philgood. These productions are available for listening, along with an interview video with Åkesson discussing this first phase of Bergling’s carer.
From there, the space leads to a replica of the Stockholm studio first used by Bergling and his first manager, Ash Pournouri. Working with the Avicii Experience, Pournouri provided many of the actual items that had been in the studio, including the purple faux fur tapestry they pinned to the wall to improve the sound quality in this basement space. (“People made some really good choices back then to keep things that we’re now so lucky to have,” says Halling-Aadland.) This area also features a replica of the “tiny, tiny” apartment Bergling rented from his older brother in this era, a shoebox-sized room where he’d stay up all night making music.
Beyond that is one of the Avicii Experience’s most exciting areas: a space where visitors can hear different — and previously unreleased — versions of the all-time Avicii classic, “Levels.” Here visitors can also try their hand at remixing this genre-defining 2011 hit. Just beyond is a space where visitors can also interact with 2013’s “Hey Brother.” There’s also a film about the True album era, including reflections on Bergling getting booed at Ultra Music Festival 2013 when he debuted “Wake Me Up,” a story that has since become EDM lore. Instruments used by Bergling, including many guitars, are featured throughout the Experience.
“The tragedy, the sadness is always present,” Halling-Aadland says of the space that tracks the Avicii story from its humble beginnings to tragic end. “It’s everywhere when you think about Tim. There’s no way of not. But we do want to give all the fans and visitors a lovely experience with his music. And not just listening — because they have Spotify — but interacting.”
Such interaction continues in an area where visitors can sing VR karaoke with the Avicii songs “Broken Arrows,” “Wake Me Up” and “Without You.” Upon putting on the VR headset, visitors are greeted by each song’s respective collaborator — Carl Falk, Aloe Blacc and Sandro Cavazza — who invite guests to belt out the lyrics. (“It’s super soundproof, by the way,” explains Halling-Aadland.)
This installation is followed by two spaces intended to contrast Bergling’s existence as a thoughtful introvert and the often overwhelming realities of his hectic life as a global superstar. In a meditation room, existential questions are projected on the wall while the sound of ocean waves plays softly. Next to it plays a three minute loop of airplanes taking off, cars honking and paparazzi cameras flashing, with mirrors making it so each visitor sees themselves in the context of this overwhelming cacophony.
The next area tracks the roadtrip Tim and a bunch of his closest friends and collaborators did across the U.S. after Bergling announced his retirement from touring in 2016. This is followed by a replica of areas of Bergling’s sprawling house in Los Angeles, including a view of the twinkling L.A. skyline and a replica of the house’s studio that was built by the same Swedish team of engineers that built the original.
Beyond this, the Experience transitions into the era following the end of Tim’s life, with a room featuring 360-degrees of LED screens showing footage from the 2019 Avicii Tribute Concert in Stockholm — which featured performances from David Guetta, Kygo, Aloe Blacc and many others — allowing fans to be part of a show that many around the world would have liked to attend in person.
Towards the end, a replica of an area of the Stockholm church where Bergling’s 2018 memorial was held serves as a quiet place of reflection, with both digital and physical guest books allowing visitors to leave their thoughts and reflections. And finally, just outside the exit, in area open to the public, is information on the Tim Bergling Foundation, which works to further suicide prevention among young people.
“This is on the outside — because you shouldn’t have to pay to get the information,” says Halling-Aadland.
Altogether, the Avicii Experience offers both massive fans and those new to the Avicii story the chance to immerse themselves in Tim Bergling’s story, his music and his legacy — one that becomes further cemented with the opening of a facility created via years of intense research and tremendous respect for both the artist at its center and the musical genre he forged.