An Interview With AVAION: “If You Force Creativity, There Will Be No Creativity”
© AVAION - photographed by Max Schwarzhans
Genre-bending, chart-topping musician AVAION, tells INJECTION his secrets to seemingly effortless success.
AVAION is a German producer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and singer whose growing success seems unstoppable: he boasts the accolades of holding positions in the Top 50 Apple Music Charts in nine countries and innumerable Spotify Top 100 lists and has accumulated over 180 million total audio streams.
He considers his music like therapy - turning dark past experiences into songs that incorporate pop and dance elements to produce something positive. Fusing melancholic, upbeat, futuristic, and acoustic elements all at once creates his unique “AVAION style,” one that resonates with people across the world who are able to use his songs as an escape.
You have said your favourite song of yours is Pieces, which currently has over 70 million streams on Spotify. How does that make you feel?
It feels amazing! I made the song in my bedroom with big dreams. I remember my best friend came over the day I made the song. He’s pretty honest with the music I make: when I do trash he says it’s trash and when I do good songs he says it’s a hit. So when he looked at me and said it was a hit, I was like “really?” He said, “it’s a cool vibe just send it to Sony.”
I knew it was something special but I didn’t know it was going to blow up like this - that’s a nice add-on!
A lot of artists feel huge pressure to keep releasing great music - do you feel this?
It’s quite a pressure. Right now it’s pretty chilled because Sleepless is a really nice release and I’m super proud of it, and I’ve already got a new one in the pipeline.
That’s two releases in a short time but they’re strong so I think they’ll please people for a while so I have enough time to get creative again - no stress just jamming!
The number one rule is don’t force it: if you force creativity there will be no creativity.
You’ve previously said that many of your songs draw on difficult personal experiences. Do you find it hard to revisit these, or is this quite relieving to be able to talk about?
Most of the songs are personal experiences that I try to “therapy myself” through. This is the main reason why I make the songs with my own voice. [when] I had a really bad breakup in 2017 I was making music and beats for other people but not using my own voice. I remember that I was in my room and made a song called “Fucked Up” which was released before I was with a major label. I released it and people were like “I like your voice, it’s special,” and that was the start of the concept of producing my own songs, writing them, and singing them.
It’s quite like writing in a diary but it’s more special. You give so much intimacy out to people because you share personal stories. It’s nice when people write you messages or tell you that they feel the music because they’re going through the same stuff or it helped them get over that stuff. That’s the most crucial thing about the music - you literally can help people.
© AVAION - photographed by Max Schwarzhans
Do you find it easier to draw on melancholic themes than writing about positive experiences?
I think more melancholic because it fits my music, the vibe of my music, and the whole concept, but I don’t want to be the “depressed guy” who only writes sad songs. I switch it up a lot; I wrote a song called She Dance which is more catchy indie pop, but I mainly like to write about melancholic styles.
It’s easier to me because it’s more real - you want to ‘therapy’ the bad things and not the good things. It should be emotional, that’s what I want to put out into the world.
So what’s your creative process like when you make a song?
I usually start with a guitar melody or the chords. I then get a pretty quick flow of what the sound and whole song will be about. I do a quick recording and see how my vocals fit to the melody because I’m not a singer and my vocal range is higher. If the song doesn’t fit my vocal parts then I don’t do it. It’s a pity because sometimes I have so many potential songs that my vocals don’t fit on.
If the melody fits then I start percussion stuff and try drums with my synthesisers. Then I record, vocal arrange, mixing, mastering, release!
You do “jam sessions" on Instagram where you give your followers an insight into this process. What inspired you to start doing these? Does it make you feel more connected to people who listen to your music?
That’s exactly the answer! I do it to get the people more connected to my process. A lot of fans write to me telling me they love the jam sessions and the nicest part is that I inspire others to also do things like this. Giving people tips and inspiring them is the whole point of it!
The biggest secret is that I do these jam sessions to see if a song will work later. All my jam sessions are songs that are coming out – or not if the jam session response is not nice enough!
Sometimes when I do them people freak out, then you know they will like it. It’s like a secret feedback before the song releases.
Your father was a musician as well. Do you think this had an influence on your career?
I think yes! He was a full-blooded musician since he was a child and so was my grandfather. They were different types of musicians - my father was a trumpet player and my granddad played the clarinet. I was so blown away by playing an instrument in a band. I did it with the piano and then the guitar but I was never fully satisfied, I wanted to make my own songs so I started composing piano pieces.
It was a big influence, since my childhood my father has supported me. My mother is a bit more old school encouraging me to go to school and be a lawyer. I thought, no, I want to be a rockstar!
© AVAION - photographed by Max Schwarzhans
As you’ve mentioned, your songs have different vibes. How would you describe your music style?
That’s my most asked question - what is my style about? I think it’s a good mixture of deep house, indie pop, and mixing acoustic and electronic elements - with a little bit of melancholic vibes added to it. I think together this is the AVAION style. I want to make my own style and it’s nice that it’s working: people on YouTube do “AVAION-style” tutorials on how to sound like me!
It’s not specifically any genre so I would say it’s my own style!
Your new single Sleepless has just come out! Can you describe it in one word?
Motivated! Because the whole song is so “me” and my style that I just feel like I want to do more like this!
It’s my new favourite! Pieces is now legend status for me but Sleepless I really love and I’m really proud of it.
What was the inspiration for this one?
I was hanging out at a music camp in Berlin in November last year. On the second day it was Nu Aspect, Paul Wetz, YUMA and me. I had the idea of Sleepless already on my laptop but I couldn’t find fitting synthesisers or lyrics. Paul was jamming on his guitar and the whole vibe was nice and we liked it. New Aspect pulled out his laptop and was like “check out this synth,” and that was the start of the song. We spent the whole day working on it but it took us six months to finish it completely. Here we are! Perfect timing I think - it wouldn’t have been the best time to bring it out in winter but now feels like the right time.
What do you love most about being a musician?
I can’t name you things that are not good about it! The only thing that is “not good” is that you have the pressure of delivering stuff.
To name the good things: it’s nice to be free. I’m in Berlin just vibing here then let’s see where we’re going next! You can plan your life differently than other people. The more you travel the better your music gets. It’s nice to make money with what you love!
The most important part is touching people with your music. The craziest thing that happens is when people say that I’ve saved their lives through my music, or they’re not alone with my music. That’s the best payment you can receive as a musician, no money can compare to that.
© AVAION - photographed by Hubert Sturm
What are your goals for the future? Do you have a dream collaboration?
I want the whole package: to play the biggest festivals and shows, for the whole world to hear my music. I want to manifest my style around the world so everybody knows it and create a new genre. I have big dreams!
My dream collaboration would be with Elderbrook. He has a similar style and sings and produces on his own tracks like I do. We have already planned a session so it should be happening in the future!
Finally, what’s the best advice you’ve been given about your music and what advice would you give other people?
The best advice that someone gave me was to find my own style. This changed everything completely!
The best tip I would give is never stop! There have been so many times in my career where I’ve thought it’s not working but just don’t stop, do your thing and love what you’re doing!