Leamington singer reflects on recording with electronic dance producer Avicii
Leamington singer Billy Raffoul poses with Avicii. (Billy Raffoul / Facebook)
Leamington singer Billy Raffoul spent a considerable amount of time thinking about the moment he'd sit down with Avicii in a Nashville studio.
Knowing the Swedish DJ's reputation for writing infectious songs, like megahit ``Wake Me Up,'' the 23-year-old musician didn't want to come up short in his presence.
Avicii, born Tim Bergling, was found dead Friday in Muscat, Oman, sparking tributes from many people in the music community and fans across the globe. His family said Monday they were thankful for ``all the initiatives taken to honour Tim, with public gatherings, church bells ringing out his music.''
A week before they met early last year, Raffoul began writing guitar riffs to impress the electronic producer. He gathered his favourite instruments to bring along as a sign that he wasn't taking this opportunity for granted.
``I showed up with everything: a guitar, an amplifier, a microphone _ anything short of a drum set,'' he said.
``I remember having to leave some of it in the hallway because there wasn't enough room.''
The gesture seemed to impress the legendary artist, who Raffoul said smiled at the sight of him dragging his own belongings into the House of Blues studio.
``The first thing he told me is I should be comfortable,'' he added. ``So I set it up like I do in my bedroom.''
Raffoul spent the rest of the day working alongside Avicii and two songwriters to craft what became ``You Be Love,'' featured on the recent EP ``Avicii (01).''
Released last August, it was the final EP from the producer before he died.
Raffoul said the news caused him to reflect on the unique experience he shared with one of electronic dance music's most successful artists.
Avicii was praised for building unique club tracks that crossed genre boundaries, such as the country-infused ``Hey Brother'' and ``Levels,'' which includes a vocal sample from Etta James.
Working in the studio with Bergling was also an experience, said Raffoul, who had recently finished a track with Norwegian dance producer Kygo.
Unlike many electronic artists, his recording sessions seemed to focus strongly on the lyrics and vocals of a song, rather than its infectious groove. All of those elements might have been stored in Bergling's head as he worked, Raffoul supposed.
``He knew exactly what he wanted, which you've really got to respect because so many people don't,'' he said.
``Rather than me trying 50 different things, he knew on the second or third (try)... and you trusted him.''
The pair hung out in the studio eating sushi after ``You Be Love'' took shape, but Raffoul said they only crossed paths a couple times more.
Ahead of the song's release, they met in Los Angeles to begin work on two other songs. Neither of them was completed, Raffoul said, though he wishes they could have spent more time getting to know each other.
``Working with someone in a creative capacity can really amplify how much time you spend together,'' he said.
``When you create with someone and tell stories... it really can fast-forward that relationship. I feel like he had so much more he wanted to do.''