The first time I had heard Darude’s “Sandstorm” I had just discovered a site known as saltybet. I can recall watching the stream and as “Sandstorm” came on, the chat started freaking out. I was confused as to what was going on but it was not long before the chat was a stream of “DUDUDUDUDDUDUUDUDUDUDU” and dongers.
Inthemix.com recently had the chance to speak with Darude and his rise as an internet meme.
When you were writing and recording ‘Sandstorm’, did you have any idea it would turn out to be as big as it was, even in its initial response?
I honestly can say I had no idea. I was a hobby music maker. I was a DJ at the time, making music for myself. There were a couple of buddies who I worked with, and it was just my tiny little home studio, if you could call it that. I burned CDs and gave them to my local DJ buddies and just wished they would play a track of mine one day, then being there seeing people dance to my music. Then at one point I gave a CD to Jaako Salovaara, also known as JS16, who became my producer and first signed me, getting Sandstorm to the form everyone now knows it. I call it a series of happy accidents. It just snowballed and it’s incredible, still.
Why do you think it’s been ‘Sandstorm’ specifically to take off like that?
If I knew, I would have done ten or more the same. It’s a really good question, and I honestly don’t know. It all comes back to some sort of universal thing. The lead melody is so simple, and it’s catchy. I don’t know why it is like that – it’s catchy and simple, but it’s not boring or irritating. So many tracks, after a while, no matter how good they are, people get tired of them. That’s the million-dollar question.
Australian duo Peking Duk played ‘Sandstorm’ at Stereosonic a few weeks ago to a huge reaction from a huge crowd. Have you seen that footage and how does it make you feel?
It’s incredible. I’m very appreciative, especially that kind of thing. It gave me goosebumps watching the videos. I know the track like the back of my hands, inside out and upside down, then seeing someone else play it and get that kind of reaction, it’s pure joy.
How have you seen the dance landscape evolve since you began around 15 years ago?
I think that the biggest thing, especially in the past couple of years, especially in America, we’ve had this huge explosion in the mainstream. I know Australia has had a dance culture for a long time, same with several countries in Europe. I lived in the US for six years and that’s been my main market. Because the US is such a big market and a lot of places have followed, the commercialisation of dance music has been the biggest thing that has happened. That has brought a lot of these huge festivals.
And to me, that’s a good thing. The more the merrier. I think maybe the club-going crowd might have been a little bit older back in the day, but now with everybody having access to the internet – various download sites and Spotify, Pandora – the crowd these days could be a little younger, having access to dance music as well.