Last month, Avicii's management announced that he was taking an indefinite break from touring and promotional activities. However, we hadn't heard directly from the superstar producer until now. Avicii sat down with Billboard to discuss his health issues and his new single, "The Days," which was released today.
Avicii told Billboard, "For once in my life, I don't feel the rush to do anything. I can take my time and focus 100 percent on the album, which has always been where my first passion really lies -- in the music."
According to Billboard, Avicii's health issues started back in January 2012, when the producer was hospitalized in New York for 11 days due to acute pancreatitis. This was reportedly caused by all of the heavy drinking Avicii did while on tour. The issue returned again in March 2013. This time, Avicii was hospitalized in Australia. He refused to have his gallbladder removed, as he was focused on marketing his True album. He left the hospital and continued his tireless work schedule. Eventually, Avicii was forced to remove his gallbladder in March 2014 when he also had to remove his burst appendix.
Despite having both his gallbladder and appendix removed, Avicii went almost right back to working. He says, "I took a month off, but it wasn't really a month off. I was in the studio 12 hours a day, and then went right back to touring. It's hard to say no in this industry. You want to play everything and be everywhere."
Leading up to his decision to cancel all of his tour dates, Avicii's physical appearance had been worrying his fans. It looked like he was fading away before our eyes. He says, "Since my operation, I'd just been going and going. I was dropping weight. I needed to take a break."
Billboard reports that friends and family are helping nurse Avicii back to full health. His girlfriend Racquel Bettencourt has been by his side as well. Avicii says, "I'm going to try to slow it down. Taking a break was the absolute best thing I've done. I'm doing better and better."
What a lot of fans fail to realize is that Avicii didn't completely stop working completely. He's still making progress on his upcoming album while at home. However, he's simply not putting his body through the rigors of an international touring schedule. Touring takes a lot of energy, and it is something that even completely healthy people struggle to get through. Avicii has taken a step back from that, but he's still hard at work in the studio.
Billboard reports that Avicii's upcoming album, Stories, is tentatively due for release in Spring 2015. Avicii says that the album will consist of rock music, and it is heavily influenced by Toto and Queen. Avicii says, "I wanted to take a step away from 'Wake Me Up' and the folky stuff to explore my influences growing up. There's no limitations."
The first single off the album is "The Days," featuring Robbie Williams. The single was released today, and you can listen to it in full below.