Avicii Collaborator Says Finishing Posthumous Album Was 'A Grieving Process' After Avicii died by suicide last year, a team of longtime music partners was tasked to wrap his album. When it came to manipulating his friend's work, producer Carl Falk had to ease into the process.
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For Avicii Collaborator, Finishing Posthumous Album 'Was Also A Grieving Process'

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For Avicii Collaborator, Finishing Posthumous Album 'Was Also A Grieving Process'

For Avicii Collaborator, Finishing Posthumous Album 'Was Also A Grieving Process'

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  • Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And finally today...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SOS")

AVICII: (Singing) Can you hear me? SOS. Help me put my mind to rest.

MARTIN: New music by deejay/producer Avicii. It's an album full of songs he'd been working on before he took his own life last year. The tracks were not quite complete, so Avicii's family turned to a group of his close collaborators and friends to finish what he left behind. One of them is Swedish producer Carl Falk. He spoke to NPR about the emotional and creative challenge of finishing his friend's last album. It's titled "Tim," a tribute to Avicii, whose real name was Tim Bergling.

CARL FALK: It was almost impossible to go to the studio the first couple of weeks because I would open a song, and I would play the song. And all of a sudden, you're, like, oh, this piano. That was recorded on this keyboard in Tim's house. And these vocals - oh, I remember. It was so many memories that came up. And it didn't take me long to realize that, OK, I can't - what should I do with this? I can't take anything away. I can't add anything to this. I don't have the right to do it. This is, like, Tim's work. This is Tim's legacy right here that I'm looking at. So I decided to, like, OK, I'm just going to listen to these tracks, and then I'm going to go home.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BAD REPUTATION")

JOE JANIAK: (Singing) Can you see my emotions sinking away in slow-motion? Like a break in the ocean, just getting lost out at sea...

FALK: I realized for me that all the songs me and Tim have done has been a little bit of Tim and a little bit of me, which was an eye-opener for me because I realized that I can actually make decisions. I can finish this without the team as long as it's done as a celebration to him and feel like Tim's sitting there with me.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BAD REPUTATION")

JANIAK: (Singing) 'Cause it's going to follow me, follow me, I know.

FALK: I felt really confident on what I think or what I would have guessed that Tim would have wanted based on working so much with Tim in the past but also since I knew him so well as a person. It was more sad. It was so sad to sit there and finish the songs without him. He wanted this to be Avicii 2.0. - slower tempo, more organic instruments, lot of African influences, lot of darker lyrics - you know, stuff like that. So this is new ground for Tim.

(SOUNDBITE OF AVICII'S "FADES AWAY")

FALK: The last track on the album, "Fades Away" - and that was one of those songs that weren't finished because Tim couldn't decide what should be the verse and what should be the chorus. So I came back to Sweden with this piano track. It was the original piano. It's still on the intro. That's Tim's original piano. And it's also Tim's words - and I can't go on, and I can't go on. Don't you love it how it all just fades away?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FADES AWAY")

NOONIE BAO: (Singing) Don't you love it how it all just fades away?

FALK: Those were Tim's words. And I still have the text message in my phone with Tim saying, like, oh, my God. Those lyrics are so good. And all of his songs instantly had a new meaning for us songwriters after what happened.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FADES AWAY")

BAO: (Singing) Don't you love it how it all - it all just fades away. It all just fades away. All of the...

FALK: To finish the songs, it was some mixed emotions because it was - one was the whole mission to finish what we started. But it was also a really hard process because all the memories and all the happy times, all the sad times and everything just came up during this process. But it became almost like a comfort to work on these songs and to have them, to listen to them, to remember and to think back on all the whole process how they were put together. That also became nice and positive memories.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FADES AWAY")

BAO: (Singing) Don't you love it how it all - it all just fades away.

MARTIN: That was Carl Falk, one of the producers on the final Avicii album, "Tim."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEAVEN")

AVICII: (Singing) Step out into the dawn, You pray till, you pray till the lights come on, and then you feel like you've just been born. Yeah, you come to raise me up...

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