In episode 35 of the aptly named LEVELS podcast, Tim Bergling – aka Avicii, goes into extraordinary depth about his eight month tour-hiatus, his new album, Stories, and the source of his melodic inspiration. The Swede even discusses Sebastian Ingrosso‘s purported comment with the NY Times regarding underground dance music, and stands starkly in his defense.

Fresh off of a stellar performance in Miami at Ultra Music Festival, Avicii has returned for the crown. But, time will only tell if his new album has the potential of reaching the heights that tracks like “Wake Me Up” and “Levels” have.

Check out the full podcast here, and some important excerpts below.

On his melodic inspiration:

“Eric (Prydz) is my god in terms of production. He’s always been the one that melodically has been a huge inspiration of mine.”

On his eight month hiatus:

“It’s been really cool these last couple of months, mostly working in the studio and not having that many shows. I can hang out with my friends, it’s really cool just to be able to chill and listen to music and talk about everything… (but) I’m back in the game, feels kind of weird coming back after an 8-month hiatus. I haven’t been that nervous for the first show in Australia in a very long time.”

On Ingrosso’s controversial quote with the NY Times:

“I just kind of have to defend Seb and this whole ‘New York Times’ article thing. I’ve known Seb for a long time…I’ve known Seb before he knew me because I was his fan. I followed his whole career and what they wrote was taken out of context, and I couldn’t believe what a big deal that became. I just want to defend him because it’s just so unreal. So don’t believe whatever you read in the press, it’s all sensationalism.”

On his triumphant return to Ultra Music Festival:

“I did Ultra again, (I) didn’t get sick, I didn’t end up at a hospital, which was awesome. The show was amazing as usual and up to this point it’s almost like I’ve gotten to learn Ultra so much because you kind of keep looking forward to it the whole year, because all the buzz around the festival and everything that kind of goes around you in that week…it’s one of those times a year you’re really looking forward to, it’s like a DJ vacation.”

On his upcoming album, Stories:

“I just premiered my Ultra set a couple days ago now with a small taste of my upcoming album Stories, and so far it’s getting such a great response…a lot better then I though it was going to get. I thought it was going to be Ultra two years ago all over (again), but it’s good to see that a lot of people are supporting it now. So I hope you guys will continue to do so when I start playing it on the show.

I’m in LA now; I’m producing everyday, 8 hours a day. (I’m) trying to make this Stories album come together which is so much fun, and it’s one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, but it’s also one of the most fun things I’ve done. It’s very eclectic, It really really has a lot of everything in it and like I said before, I really honestly can’t wait to see what people say about this just because it’s really different than what I’ve done before, but then at the same time it isn’t. Some of the tracks are slower BPM and some of them aren’t even 4/4, but you can still kind of hear my influence throughout the whole track which I think has been interesting throughout this whole project with this album. Kind of whatever genre you can turn to there’s a way of keeping your own sound in that genre, which I guess is making it a little bit different too, making it something else. Like a blues track, and it’d be a blues track with the influences from where I come from which is Eric Prydz, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell. Everything becomes something else.”

H/T EDMtunes | Photo by Rukes