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Milos Karadaglic: Avicii is my guilty pleasure

Dubai: It seems like everyone wants a piece of DJ superstar Avicii these days, from his genre predecessor, David Guetta, to the pop queen herself, Madonna. Classical guitarist Milos Karadaglic is no exception.

The 30-year-old is set to perform a recital at the Abu Dhabi Festival on March 26. He shared that, despite a perceived discordance between classical music and electronic dance music (EDM), he’s more than keen to collaborate with the 23-year-old Wake Me Up producer.

“I really enjoy Avicii — that is my guilty pleasure, because I really like his stuff, and actually, it’s really in line with an acoustic sound, which I love and, in a way, produce myself,” he told tabloid! over the phone. “I like him because I think he’s very, very unique and I would love to work with somebody like that some day.”

If the two had planned their touring schedules differently, they might have even crossed paths in the UAE. Avicii will perform on April 4 at Atlantis Beach, two years since his last Dubai performance, and nine days after Karadaglic’s performance at the Emirates Palace Ballroom in Abu Dhabi.

“I had a little stopover a couple of months ago, but [this is the] first time I’m properly performing and visiting,” he said. “It sounds like the place that I’m playing at is really quite something, isn’t it?”

Karadaglic, like any young and eager musician trying to get his foot in the door, used to take a larger chunk of inspiration from classical performers and “the greats” when he first began his love affair with the guitar. But now that he’s planting his roots more confidently in the genre, he tends to take his cues from elsewhere — like jazz, rock and opera.

“They remind us of music being this one big universal thing, rather than this compartmentalised thing of what is classical and what is not,” he said. “It’s really not the way to go in the 21st century.”

Karadaglic stressed the importance of always opening one’s senses to things that are a little bit outside their comfort zones, and so passionate was he in saying this that anyone would have been hard-pressed to disagree.

Articulate as he was, however, Karadaglic has an undeniably cheeky side to him. He said that the first thing that attracted him to the guitar was that it was “super cool, that’s all” and that he needed a break every now and then.

“You know, when you go out and you’re clubbing, you certainly do not want to listen to Bach and Beethoven,” he laughed.

But when he’s on, he’s on. The Montenegrin revealed a reverent excitement to play a nearly two hour recital at the festival — split into two halves — so he could “show the full width and breadth of my repertoire and of my artistry.”

He was also excited to be sharing a festival bill with one of his all-time biggest inspirations, American soprano Renee Fleming, who will perform in the capital city on March 23.

“When you listen to a great singer like Renee, like Angela Gheorghiu, like Jonas Kaufmann, like all those incredible artists, you really understand what a phrase is, and what the magic of a line is. Every instrument tries to imitate its human voice, so it’s very important to approach an interpretation from that perspective,” he said.

And as for what Karadaglic will bring to the table, he said he will add a bit of a Middle Eastern flare to his set, inspired by Turkish folk.

“When you think of the Spanish music, it is highly influenced by the Middle East, because guitar, originally, comes from that area, and it was brought to Spain by the Moors — and when you look at the architecture, it is inspired so much by the Islamic culture in Spain,” he said.

“So, absolutely, I think that the Arabic influence is extremely strong in Spanish music, but also, it’s very strong in the country from which I come from.”

Don’t miss it

The Abu Dhabi Festival features a number of music performances until April 7. Tickets for Milos Karadaglic’s recital at the Emirates Palace Ballroom on March 26 are available at virginmegastores.ae for Dh150.