(Original Photo By: Martin Adolfsson)
How familiar are you with the “Dada” or “Dadaism” movement? For those unfamiliar, Dadaism was an art movement spanning across Europe in the early 20th century (before making its way to other regions of the world). The goal was to inspire a reaction against art – or to create an “artistic revolution”. It was conceived after World War I as an anti-war movement. Many artists fled to Switzerland because as most of us probably know, Switzerland is known as the “neutral” country. Even though Dadaism was short-lived, it undoubtedly left a lasting impact on society. In fact, these protest art designs are still used in modern day art. This powerful movement is actually what inspired Stefan Engblom and Olle Cornéer to form the duo “Dada Life” in 2006.
How have you both handled your success, and would I be required to go down this path of leaving everything behind?
Stefan: “For us it’s not leaving everything behind. It’s a balance. We love being on tour but we also love being home and working in the studio. When we’re on tour we want to go back to the studio to try out the ideas we get from touring. And when we’re in the studio we want to go out on tour to try out the new ideas we’ve made.”
Both Stefan and Olle have been on the music grind since they were young so to see this dream come to fruition is indescribable. Due to their individual success as musicians, it only made sense for them to join forces. According to Olle and Stefan, “Shared joy is twice the joy!” They especially realized this after some unexpected news fell into their laps just months ago.
After the 2014 medical issues, have your perspectives of family, friends, or career changed? Any particular epiphanies?
Stefan: “The year started off with me having to get my whole large intestine removed due to cell changes. I got an ostomy, which I will have to live with for the rest of my life. When Olle got cancer, it all felt unreal. I think we’ve come to appreciate what we have and what we’re able to do. We came out of it stronger than ever and realized that we have to spread the Dada even further. Life is about having fun and smiling! It’s all about the happiness.”
Back in November, you may recall reading a blog post from Olle. In this post, he revealed to us that he was diagnosed with cancer. Olle’s diagnosis was unexpected as he was just at the doctor’s for a typical checkup. Fortunately for Olle, this is the “best” kind of cancer you can get and it had not spread to the rest of his body before the doctor caught it. Despite the positive diagnosis, Olle was forced to take an indefinite hiatus from touring.
How were you each able to deal with the news and stress of Olle’s hospitalization?
Stefan: “Since I’ve been in and out of the hospital my whole life with Crohn’s disease and also my liver disease (PSC), I’ve come to trust the doctors and hospitals. At first I was sad, but I knew that the doctors would do everything they could to fix Olle. There’s no point in me going around being worried or feeling sad, that would not change anything. Instead I became more productive and wanted to go harder. So when Olle came back he would get all the energy back. I even renovated the studio so it was extra nice when he came back!”
While Stefan was shocked at first and sad that Olle would be unable to tour for a while, he realized that being worried would only make matters worse. Since he has been in and out of the hospital throughout his life due to a rare liver disease called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC – a chronic disease that damages the bile ducts and can lead to liver failure), Stefan has been able to understand and support Olle through this difficult time. In fact, Olle’s diagnosis inspired Stefan to work harder and to rebuild their studio so that when Olle came back he would be surrounded by positive energy. After several months of undergoing chemotherapy and weekly visits to the doctor’s, Olle is now back on the road with Stefan for the Dada Land Compound tour and doing what he loves most – making music and performing.
What has been your favorite part of the Dada Compound Tour thus far?
Stefan: “It’s the opportunity to bring a full Dada Life experience to the crowd and having people realize that they were born to rage! It’s all in the titles such as – ‘Tonight We’re Kids Again.’ We all need to be reminded of those things!”
They have both learned a lot from this experience and advise us to, “Focus on what is important in life and get rid of the rest.” The support from their fans on social media and in person has really inspired them to keep going, especially during such a difficult time. They have seen that music truly has an effect on people and that there is nothing like it in this world.
Was there ever a time that you both broke the rules of Dada and what were the consequences?
Stefan: “One time we broke the rule “No BBQ before a show”… We will never break that rule again, that’s a promise!”
Stefan Engblom from Dada Life will be talking about the Dada movement, the challenges and triumphs the Dada Life team have faced after both dealing with life changing illnesses, and their plan to make this world a happier, loving place. Have questions for Stefan? Tweet #ATILive throughout the stream!
Watch Aspire to Inspire Live featuring 1/2 of Dada Life here: