How the guitarist from Incubus ended up writing one of the biggest riffs of the 21st century… with Avicii

Mike Einziger and Avicii performing live
(Image credit: C Brandon/Redferns via Getty Images / Mike Pont/WireImage)

This month, Avicii’s Wake Me Up became the highest-performing dance single in history, selling over 10 million certified units. It was a near-instant hit when it was released on June 17 2013, as its genre-smashing marriage of bluegrass acoustic strums, EDM beats and infectious country hooks set it apart from everything else on the charts.

But the track’s success is also significant from a guitar perspective, thanks to the involvement of one of the brightest guitar talents from the late-’90s/early-’00s alt-rock movement.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.