Talking the road to Eurovision with Darude

We caught up with legendary DJ and producer Darude who’s in Tel Aviv ahead of last night’s performance at Eurovision, We talk all things Eurovision, what it means to represent Finland, his collaborative efforts and of course discussing the impact of Sandstorm twenty years on.

Congratulations on being selected to represent Finland in Eurovision, what does this whole experience feel like?

It’s insanely awesome, I really didn’t see myself doing this kind of thing a few years ago, but when the opportunity presented itself I decided after some consideration that I would jump in.
It’s a pretty big thing to be taking on workload wise and what not. But it’s also given me so much and everyone in the Eurovision “bubble” is just so amazing.

All the other artists are so cool and so talented, and then there are the fans celebrating all things Eurovision, not just a single artist but the whole thing.
The organizers are very, very professional. It’s a big music festival experience; we’re backstage slapping out high fives and enjoying great performances. And to me, it doesn’t really feel like a competition at all.

For Eurovision you’ve joined forces with The Giant Leap’s, Sebastian Rejman for the song Look Away, what was the process of writing and creating that song?

I’d connected with Sebastian back in 2014, we’ve always worked well together, wrote a lot of great stuff together and it helps we enjoy each others company.
He was touring when my album was released and toured with me for a little bit, and we have a long history of doing clubs, and festivals together.

So when the Eurovision opportunity came up to me, he was one of the first people who I asked if they had tracks, vocals or ideas that we could work on.
I Started narrowing it down to the thirty or so tracks that I was starting to choose, and one of them was a song called Look Away.

The original demo was his kind of a take with what is currently going on in the world at the moment; a lot of us tend to look away from the harder stuff. We wanted to inspire people to looks towards the hard things and inspire change even if it is minor.

I sort of embraced his message, and I wanted to make a dance record out of it, and I’m very happy that he let me. There were two other tracks we chose for our Finnish national selection and the track ‘Look Away’ was the one that was selected,

Do you feel you have real collaborative energy with Sebastian?

Oh hell yeah, hell yeah!
I think I’m the happiest one here, having him as my partner, he’s such a nice dude, he’s so charismatic on stage and a great singer.

We’re just two idiots getting to do this together; we’re goofing off in interviews. We’re serious about our profession and our art, but we’re not serious about ourselves.
he whole collaborative process in Eurovision isn’t about the song; it’s the several months of working together, promotion-wise and practice wise and learning to work together as a team, with our technicians, background dancers and singers.

One thing I have noticed is that you’ve also remixed another Eurovision entrant Paenda’s song ‘Limits, that’s something that’s never been done before in Eurovision history, would that be considered working for the competition?

I loved the song, and now that I’ve met Paenda several times, and I loved the track, I felt that the vocals opened themselves to trance music. The original track itself was short, coming in at 1:31 and was orchestral sounding; it had a really low energy mostly to show off her vocal prowess.

I met her in Amsterdam at one of those pre-parties for Eurovision, and I was already kind of working on the remix, with just the vocals, and so she sent me a copy a clean stem so to say with just her vocals, and that helped me out tremendously of course.
She’s a very artistic girl, she produces her own stuff, and I’m fortunate and happy that she let me mess with her song.
She said the other day she really loved the remix of her song, that is quite personal and emotional to hear, so that’s cool for me.

Obviously, this is a contest, but I don’t feel like we are competing, we made our songs, and we do our own performances, the vibe here is fantastic among the artists. I think I was the first person to work with another competitor and that’s history man! It’s awesome!

Talking about completing great tracks you’ve worked with fellow Finnish artist Magik Muzak on the track High, what was the process like on making that track.

So myself and this guy Sami I’d gotten to know his stuff through a mutual friend who is also a Finnish producer, DJ and owns a record company and they collaborated a couple of years ago, and I played their collaboration track a lot and some of his other stuff myself.
So I asked him if he wanted to collaborate on this other idea that I had, this very raw thing, and I sent him the basic bits and chord progression and some other stuff, and I told him about the style and how I want to go on with it.
I knew it would be something for him in there as well, in a couple of days he sent me back half a track ready, with some great ideas.
I jumped in and added some stuff; we passed it back and forth a couple of times.

Then I was working on a track called Timeless with Jamie Lee Wilson, and it released November sometime last year, and we decided not to make it instrumental, but to pass the track to Jamie and in a couple of days she sent me back these fantastic vocals, I was happy how effortless that came about.
So I’m thrilled with it.

We’ve also got to take some Australian pride into account and mention that Jamie is Australian and a Gold Coaster to boot!

Of course, I think that is the perfect timing, because I’m taking part in Eurovision and last night here in Tel Aviv, I went to the Australian delegation party held by the Australian ambassador and got to shake hands with the man, and hang with the Aussie delegation and even got to speak with Kate a little bit.

I love Australia, and I’m not just saying that cause we’re talking, but I’ve been coming there many times over the years and have had so many tours and shows hat’s also why this Jamie connection is amazing, and it’s also a nice plot point for my Eurovision story.

Well just breaking out of the Eurovision topic and talking history, your phenomenal track Sandstorm is 20 years old t his year, what does that mean to you as an artist having a song that is still beloved, talked about and referenced by millions to this day?

HA, it means that I’m an old man, no, it’s the best.
What can I say it’s started a life of its own and definitely for some people it’s something that defines me or my career, but at that same time it translates it for me in a way that it got me my start.
There’s been now twenty plus singles, four albums and seventy destinations where I’ve toured, and I still keep going, and if someone likes Sandstorm and comes to one of my shows in 2019, I’m happy about it.

If you could collaborate with any living artist to make another dance anthem which would it be?

Madonna, sorry for interrupting but Madonna, I’m just jumping straight into it, because that’s my standard answer of who I want to work with, and I still hope that one day I still get to do that/

Alright here’s a slightly different question then, are there any Australian songs or artists that you want to remix?

Yes *Starts singing Never going to give you up by Rick Astley* Rick Astley is the man!

I don’t think he’s Australian; I think he’s British… * We’ll claim him anyway*

I don’t know if he’s Australian, but that song is such a big thing everywhere. We had a jam session with the Australians the other day, and we were singing Rick Astley, and other Australians came over and congratulated us, and that’s where the Australia connection comes from.

But I would also do any Kylie song as well.

So after Eurovision’ what’s next on the horizon for you?

Well, I had Hide come out last Monday, and we’ve got a couple of more songs to be released.
I still sort of on the same journey I started nearly over twenty years ago, and now more going on a more track by track basis with various labels, for instance, the Eurovision songs were released on Armada and Hide was released on Magic Muzak which is under Blackhold records.

I’m Trying not to tie myself to anything and keep in control of my career, and I just want to enable myself to collaborate with whomever I want and to, remain quiet artistically quite free. I just my fans to keep listening regardless if it’s trance or another kind of style, I just want to keep the vibes going and the fans happy.

Well, thanks for taking the time to chat with us.

“Thanks, Mate” have a good one!

The Logies roll into town with a Star-Studded lineup at the Star Gold Coast