Pete Tong on Avicii's death: 'How could this have come to be?'

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  • In a speech at the International Music Summit in Ibiza, Tong wondered if it's time to establish a "support group" for the industry.
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  • Pete Tong examined the perils that touring DJs and artists face, citing the recent death of Swedish dance music superstar Avicii. "How could this have come to be?" Tong asked in a keynote speech at the 11th annual International Music Summit, which took place a little over a month after Avicii, real name Tim Bergling, died at age 28. The family of the artist, who had retired from touring in 2016 amid struggles with alcoholism, anxiety and other health issues, implied that the cause was suicide. A globetrotting DJ himself, Tong pointed out that while Bergling's sudden rise to stardom at a young age placed him in unique position—"He was the first teenager of the EDM era to make music inspired by his peers and then join them all within a matter of 12 months"—issues like anxiety, loneliness, drug abuse and even trying to maintain sobriety can be challenges for all DJs on the road, especially when there's a stigma associated with bringing those issues out in the open. He continued: "In my 40 years of being around this world I can't think of a single person who's achieved success who hasn't paid a personal price via health, relationships, divorce, broken homes, addiction, depression and anxiety... People were not supposed to die chasing the dream." "The more we can share our experiences and educate, the more we can help those suffering in silence," Tong said, before invoking Bergling's memory with a final question: "Is it time to establish a support group or fellowship for those in the electronic music industry?" Read RA editor Will Lynch's recent opinion piece about the hazards of DJ culture.