Avicii’s dance music reign over the past half-decade has catapulted the 26-year-old Swede into the upper echelon of pop music and Top 40 radio. Standout releases like “I Could be The One” alongside Nicky Romero, “Levels” and the multi-platinum selling “Wake Me Up” featuring Aloe Blacc have earned the progressive house producer, real name Tim Bergling, a seat among the industry’s A-list. Not to mention two Grammy nominations.

He’s also no stranger to backlash for his commercial-centric anthems; Bergling has crafted an experimental (and lucrative) niche sound in recent years drawing elements of rock, indie and folk into his records. While the reception was lukewarm at first, Avicii’s belief in his creations soon gave birth to a genre-bending, blues-inspired form of electronica in the shape of his 2013 debut album, True, which captured new audiences while reaffirming credence in him as a talented producer.

With the release earlier this month of his sophomore follow-up, Stories, Tim embodies the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra, as he sticks with his innovative foresight to blend genres, while enlisting the help of heavy hitters such as Wyclef Jean, Zac Brown Band and Coldplay’s Chris Martin. Avicii took some time out via email to open up to REVOLT about the tricky business behind electronic album sales, the idea of selling out and the biggest misconceptions about himself as an artist.

Your second studio album, Stories, was just released. What head space were you in during the songwriting and production process of the record?

Rather than departing from True, I wanted Stories to build upon it. For me, Stories refined what I didn’t feel was perfect last time. I carefully considered lyrics, even delivering one of my most personal songs to date. All of the songs on this album have a story I wanted to tell.

You stated in a Rolling Stone interview that you worked on over 70 songs for this album. How did you decide on the ones chosen?

That’s always a difficult process. That’s when I’ll bring in my manager, Ash, or a trusted friend to give me their opinion.

Blending and experimenting with genres has been something you’ve never shied away from. Do you even think about producing EDM anymore or do you think your sound has transcended electronic music?

I think it’s transcended, but house music is what is close to my heart. I’ll never forget where I come from, and I’ll always love house music. It’s just fun to branch out and try something different. I want to keep making new fans, and I want to keep surprising the fans I have. I just want to keep raising the bar.

Avicii in the studio working on his sophomore album ‘Stories’

You draw a lot of rock, country and folk elements into your music. How has dabbling in other genres helped you as a producer/songwriter/musician?

I have gotten a lot out of it. Because I’ve done house music for so long, to be able to make rock songs and ballads, and explore reggae, blues, and jazz, it’s really challenged me as a musician, and helped me think outside the box and grow as an artist. Not to mention, I’ve been able to work with incredible artists that I wouldn’t have had a chance to collaborate with otherwise.

Duke Dumont said in a recent interview that the electronic album is “almost dead,” presumably in terms of industry sales and unpredictable consumerism. Do you agree? Are there certain DJ/producers who are exempt and continue to sell?

I wouldn’t say its dead, but that it needs to continue to evolve, or people will eventually tire of it. I think some of today’s DJs/producers have been doing a great job of that, but I wouldn’t say that anyone is exempt to it. If they’re creating new and innovative music, then they’ll continue to sell.

The mainstream vs. underground debate is always a hot topic. What do you say to those who feel dance music has sold out or become too commercial?

I don’t consider transcending into the pop music scene as selling out. It’s not fair to label someone as a sellout just because they’ve became successful.

You recently announced that you are taking a break for the rest of 2015. What is the most difficult aspect about touring for you?

Although I love to travel and see all of these incredible places, it can be really exhausting. And having such a loaded tour schedule eventually takes its toll.

You’ve been with your manager, Ash Pournouri, throughout your massive successes, what has been the most important thing you’ve learned from him over the course of your career?

To not be afraid to take a chance. Sometimes I just want to make lots of music, but he is really helpful in picking the best music and helping me see how it all fits together.

Who are some up-and-coming artists we should have our eyes on that you think will be big soon?

There is so much talent out there, but Otto Knows, to name one!

At this point in your career, do you consider yourself a better DJ or producer?

More a producer, since that’s where it all began. But I love DJing, and I’m always looking for ways to improve as a DJ and engage the crowd.

What is the biggest misconception about you?

Probably that people think DJs just push a button. A lot of work and thinking goes into DJing. It’s a whole creative process, and I take a lot of time to prepare for a set. And last minute tweaks and changes onstage are inevitable. There’s a lot more to it than people realize.

Do you consider the DJ Mag Top 100 poll to be relevant? Why do you think it gets so much hate?

I don’t really look at or pay attention to lists. It’s definitely nice to get a good ranking, but I think there are plenty of incredibly talented producers and DJs that have yet to make the list!

You’ve accomplished so much at such a young age. Do you ever feel burnt out or bored artistically? Where does inspiration strike you?

Physically, yes. Artistically, no, not really. I feel like I’ve created some of my favorite tracks when I’m on a break, I’m able to hone in and really focus on making music that I love. I never know when inspiration will hit; it can happen at any time, any place.

What do you want your legacy to be?

A songwriter and producer who wasn’t afraid to take risks.