The Avicii Experience
Did you know that Sweden is one of the world's largest producers of pop music? You might think: well, yeah, there is ABBA. But, the Swedish contribution to popular music is so much more. Besides other big name artists/groups, like Roxette, Ace of Base, Robyn, Icona Pop and Swedish House Mafia, Sweden has very successful music producers and song writes (Max Martin, Shellback, Denniz Pop, etc.) and chances are that when you are humming a hit song from an American artist, a Swede wrote it. For example, "Can't Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake. There are many theories on the reason behind "the Swedish music miracle", but if you want to take a deeper dive into this phenomenon then I recommend checking out the "This is Pop" documentary series on Netflix.
|Entrance on Sergelsgatan|
The biggest name to come out of Sweden onto the international music scene in the past 10+ years is, undoubtedly, Tim Bergling... better known by his artist name: Avicii. In fact, in his relatively short career, Avicii, a DJ, song writer and music producer, became the 5th biggest selling Swedish music act in history. One of Stockholm's biggest arena (and world's largest hemispherical building) Globen was even recently renamed the Avicii Arena. Avicii is the perfect blend of Sweden's history of pop artists and song writers/producers. As he used different singers and dabbled in various music genres, it isn't always easy to recognize a song as being an Avicii song right away... but you have surely enjoyed his music over the past ten years. Sadly, Avicii's story came to a tragic end in 2018 when he took his own life.
Thankfully, there is now a place in Stockholm where fans of Avicii's music can celebrate his life, career and talent... the newly opened Avicii Experience. This interactive tribute museum is a collaboration between Tim's parents and Pophouse Entertainment (the company responsible for ABBA the Museum, ABBA Voyage, Mamma Mia the Party and more). I was lucky enough to be invited earlier this week to see and experience the museum. It is a wonderful place to get to know more about Tim Bergling the person as well as Avicii the artist.
|Tim Bergling's boyhood room|
The museum is set up chronologically so you start in his childhood bedroom and work your way through his life and career, past his first studio in Stockholm and later studio in Los Angeles, all filled with his own personal items. Other cool details include having the L.A. skyline as the backdrop for the studio where the "sunlight" changes to match the time of day. The final room in the exhibition, while not a complete recreation, is a nod to the funeral services for Tim held at Hedvig Eleonora Church.
Much of the museum is music, film and cutting edge technology which, sadly for my blog, is hard to capture on photographs. There are, for example, three sound booths where you can put on virtual reality goggles and be transported to a studio where you can give your try at singing an Avicii song. I had never tried virtual reality glasses before and they were both very cool and a little disconcerting. I have no idea how they work! Other tech exhibits include being able to remix songs and play a virtual piano with a wave of your hands.
|"Karaoke" booths with virtual reality glasses|
Avicii found touring, where he was selling out stadiums and arenas around the world, to be stressful and detrimental to his mental health. He announced in 2016 that he would stop touring. One room in the museum has been created, where your senses are bombarded with stimuli, to give visitors a feeling of the stress involved in touring. Just a drop in the bucket, I am sure, but it does give you an idea of what it must have been like. It especially interesting and poignant considering the high profile athletes who have recently stepped forward to talk about stress and mental health in similar situations.
One of the final rooms is dedicated to the Avicii tribute concert which was held at Friends Arena in celebration of his life. The tickets sold out within 30 minutes and all profits went to the Tim Berling Foundation. The room is circular and in the middle is a DJ booth... video from the concert is shown on the walls (nearly 360 degrees) so that when you stand in the booth it gives you the feeling of what it must have been like to stand on stage and feel the love from the crowd. Very powerful.
The museum is a great addition to the music and cultural landscape of Stockholm. And why not combine it with a visit to ABBA the Museum, see how Swedish pop music has evolved over the decades? The Avicci Experience is located in the downtown area, just next to the square Sergelstorg. It is located inside of Space, a new exciting digital cultural center (gaming, music, content creation, etc.). The easiest way to get there from the Hotel Rival is by taking the subway, red line, three stops to T-Centralen and then exit to Sergelstorg.
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