Darude talks to The Star about his new label, Vibing Out, new music, Sandstorm and Sheffield's 90s Fest
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“It’s not the first time I’ve been to Sheffield, I was there two years ago”, Darude says as he enthuses about his upcoming set, which promises some Trance/EDM classics and a mixture of some of his new upcoming material.
The legendary Finnish DJ and music producer is a name well known for his early noughties hit, Sandstorm, which saw him become the first artist from Finland to chart in the UK Top 10… a feat that still to this day is greatly appreciated by the dance music icon — even if it deserved to be number one.
But it may never have been released. Initially, Darude sat on the song for quite some time and when it was finally given to a DJ to play in a club he saw for the first time how much bigger the track was than he realised.
"We went to a club and gave it to a local DJ to play and on the first play ever people were running to the stage and going nuts.”
“We were like, who has arranged this ‘Punk’d’ TV show feature because it was so strange, and crazy, y’know. We did have hints that there could be something in this track but honestly we didn’t know for a while.”
“It was released in the UK in like June 2000 and it went to number three. I mean it was insane and especially when you think that I sat on it for so long. I didn’t know what I had.”
“I’m not really very spiritual and sometimes I get really angry when people say that ‘things happen for a reason’ because there are really negative things that happen, and I don’t think that there’s a reason for that.”
“But in this case, I do think that I had to sit on it… and with hindsight that was obviously the right thing to do.”
And, he’s not wrong there at all. Just a couple of years ago it was estimated that royalties for Sandstorm had exceeded $1 billion, a milestone that didn’t go unnoticed by Darude. To celebrate he made the song available to download for free for 12-hours and also announced some charitable causes he intended to contribute towards as a result of the song’s success.
But twenty years later the song that’s endlessly related to and even a meme to an extent is merely part of this artist's journey, without being the defining characteristic of the man in question. He’s released many records and songs since, Feel the Beat, which also featured on Darude’s debut album, Before the Storm, is a verified Trance classic. 2015s Moments is also an album packed full of music that could have been released right now and still wouldn’t sound out of place.
Time or rather timelessness is a key proponent of his music that Darude is intent on pursuing. His musical output has always been created with a survivalist’s intent, longevity and relevance is his aim when it comes to creating a track. It’s a mark of the measure of his body of work that this is why you can play his 2023 output (such as the single Outlaws) with his earlier work and it can blend so well, while also showcasing the growth of the artist over the intervening years — a tough balance and not something many can do.
Darude recently launched his new record label, Vibing Out. It’s a place where not only can he deliver a platform for new and established artists, but importantly it’s a safe space where he is able to receive honest and structured feedback on his own material.
Case in point being his upcoming single (which is out tomorrow), Nobody Listens with the excellent Gid Sedgwick. An artist that Darude took pains to stress that this was a collaboration that he wanted for quite a long time.
“Gid Sedgwick is great, he’s someone that I’ve wanted to work with for years now. Various peers of mine have worked with him and I’ve always been sort of jealous because those tracks were amazing.”
“Somehow at some point we connected and we got to talking, and actually there’s going to be two tracks on my upcoming album with him. I’m very happy about that.”
Authenticity is key, as is humility. Something that is present throughout our lengthy conversation that runs way past our planned interview time. But sometimes when you’re in the midst of a good conversation you really have to let it flow to its natural conclusion.
What is apparent though is that coming up to his third decade in the industry, Darude still has so much more to say, share, impart and to bring to the table it will be incredibly exciting to see where he goes next — as well as who he is able to empower to break through on their own artistic merits.
“This is going to be a little bit geared towards the classic heads, probably with a little more classics than is normal in my sets.”
Listen to the full uncut and extended interview with Darude on the Chris Talks Music podcast at: https://anchor.fm/chris-talks-music
As for his Sheffield set this weekend, he’s not giving too much away about what people can expect. But perhaps that’s a good thing?
“I don’t know what the greatest and craziest thing is going to be, I don’t know what fireworks I will bring.”
“You’re going to see me smiling, very selfishly playing exactly the music that I love. But at the same time I think that’s contagious. People see me having fun on stage and they feel the energy too.”
“This is going to be a little bit geared towards the classic heads, probably a little more classics than normal in my sets.”
“Now that I have an album of new tracks of my own, I’m definitely going to be showcasing a few of those.”
“When I’m onstage, I feel home, I feel happy. I make eye contact with the crowd, I love the interaction. The more love and energy from the crowd the better. But at the same time, quieter, more focused crowds are also good.”“I feel like I know this crowd now and I just know it’s going to be insane.”
Darude will be one of the headliners at this weekend's 90s Fest at Don Valley Bowl, Sheffield on August 5, 2023.Tickets are available from here: https://90sworld.co.uk/
His new single, Nobody Listens feat. Gid Sedgwick is out on Friday, August 4, and will be available from all of the usual streaming outlets.