World-renowned Finnish DJ and producer Darude has released a new track titled ‘Surrender‘ in collaboration with trance/progressive phenom Ashley Wallbridge and uplifting vocals featuring Foux. ‘Surrender‘ is the first release on Ashley and Gareth Emery‘s renewed and rebranded Garuda label.
‘Surrender‘ revels in reminiscent synthwave progressive grooves as the lyrics paint the love tale of not giving up one another. ‘Surrender‘ was first premiered on Part 2 of Armin van Buuren‘s A State of Trance 850 episode and has been supported by the likes of Markus Schulz, W&W, Andrew Rayel, and many more.
‘Surrender‘ is set to become one of Darude’s biggest releases since his previous ‘Moments‘ album and indubitably ‘Sandstrom‘.
Ahead of his busy touring schedule Darude took some time to answer a few questions regarding how his latest track release came about as well as his favorite remixes of ‘Sandstorm‘, and personal and musical introspectives on the ever-growing scene of dance music. You can catch Darude on his 2018 ‘Surrender‘ tour here.
Describe working on your collaboration ‘Surrender’ with Ashley Wallbridge.
Ashley & I have known each other for a couple of years now online and over the years starting way before that. I’ve played a good bunch of his tracks as well as other Garuda family tracks in the same vein, so when we met in San Diego when I played at TwitchCon 2016 and went to see him afterwards smash it at Omnia, we hung out and got to talking about collaboration, I was more than happy to do it.
Describe your way of not being afraid to go outside your own comfortability. Both musically and as public figure in the DJ scene.
Well, it’s not always easy, but I’m a grown man and I’ve learned to know myself well enough over the years and I know what I want, I know what I like and I know what I stand for and stating that publicly is not difficult because I can stand 100% behind it. Becoming an artist and producer first, then DJ, it has taught me a good bit of both pleasing the crowd and being true to yourself.
As a DJ I always do my own thing, but I’m not stupid, I won’t try to force feed something that’s not received by the crowd at all; I can compromise on my own terms, for e.g., if the crowd tonight is very very commercial, I can choose to play a couple more commercial known tracks than usual, but banging remixes of those. That won’t compromise my style of playing or the flow of the set and the crowd gets a bit of a recognisable vocal of a hit record, and will be more open to take the next track they DON’T know. It’s kind of sneaky educating tactic a lot of good DJs use ;). I like a lot of the pop music around anyway, but I’d never play an original pop version of a plain pop song in my set, because it won’t fit stylewise, but if there’s a cool remix that I like, I have no problems playing it.
As a public figure I’m not that much into preaching about anything, but I’m all for love equality and I’m against racism, for e.g., so I’ll happily be vocal about those topics should there be a natural moment or opportunity.
Why do you think trance has stuck around for this long? Do you see it progressing or even growing bigger?
Trance has been around for so long because it has and evokes big emotions in so many various forms. You can have an instrumental with big lush synths that make you cry… You can sing along a beautiful vocal that makes you laugh and jump up and down AND cry at the same time… Trance can calm you down only to make you take off again, or trance can be more longwinding and even and hypnotise you, put you in, err, a trance, for hours on end. Though it never left really, I think the trance umbrella with its numerous sub genre variations is strongly coming back again, a cycle of sorts is coming to an end and another one begins :)
You’ve seen dance music go through it’s cycles, do you feel like we are currently at the point once again in which artists are able to breakthrough with risk-taking sound? Do you agree that dance music needs to constantly evolve and push it’s boundaries in order to survive?
Not to hate “EDM” (which I hate using as a term generalising and pointing to a certain sound, but here I am doing it…), but as with any cycle, the “EDM sound” pretty much burned out at some point when EVERYONE and their mom did the exact same track over and over again… That inevitably leads to saturation and slowly the general public gets tired of the same sound and starts opening their ears to new or different sounds. That opens the possibility for something like good old trance coming back, or totally new things popping up. It kind of doesn’t matter what it is, as long as new stuff comes around, that’s what music is all about! :) If you listen to it side by side with a release from 2000, the trance of today is not exactly the same thing anymore, but evolved and convolved with anything and everything since “the good old days”, but as it has the main big elements AND it’s been so long since it was in the mainstream spotlight, it feels the same, which is not a bad thing at all.
Music genres tend to rinse and repeat itself throughout the years, have you noticed that at all with dance music? Do you believe that the “techno” sound that first influenced you will ever come back?
Techno never went anywhere!!! :) Techno in its various forms is huge around the world at clubs and festivals, but due to the highly repetitive, long building and minutely evolving, non-peak, non-hooky, non-hit nature of the music, it’s pretty darn hard to imagine it ever making it to being the general mainstream public’s favourite. Techno, like most dance music anyway is at its best in the right environment, listened through a chest thumping PA system surrounded by bunches and bunches of likeminded people.
What’s the biggest takeaway from when you were first beginning to progress as a producer and DJ that potential upcoming artists should know/teach themselves?
As a producer or DJ, which by the way is not the same thing, you don’t have to know the whole history of music of course, but surely it is good to know a thing or two of the genre you’re into, and people who were there before you, pioneering, inventing, defining, and to respect all that. Prepare to do a lot of work, there are no shortcuts. Be active with your self promo and social media, but don’t be a dick, don’t be pushy and don’t act entitled. Also, don’t overhype, let people hear your music and do the talking!
In today’s world of modern technology and social media, do you think ‘Sandstorm’ would have made a much bigger impact if released today than it did then? For yourself personally and culturally; and how do you think it has impacted the world as a whole since it’s release?
I have no clue. It’s an interesting thing to ponder, but impossible to know. Different times, different tech, different tastes and attitudes. I definitely wouldn’t be as bold as to think I’ve impacted the world in any big way, but I am extremely proud to have met people around the world who’ve told me stories of them remembering situations where my music was playing and it played a part of that good memory!
What’s the best remix/bootleg you’ve heard of ‘Sandstorm’? If any, or do you always prefer the original.
I’m I guess very old school with this… I don’t care technically or musically how good a bootleg is, if the maker didn’t come to me or my rep first, I won’t support it. It’s a respect thing. Feel free to make bootlegs and mashes of tracks for your own DJ sets, but do NOT advertise yourself with them without original creators’ or right owners’ consent. It’s not a ‘release’ if you put somebody else’s track out on SoundCloud with your name attached to it. Do NOT Like gate with them, do not try to gain name and thus gigs and other opportunities with other people’s work. Make your own stuff, create your name over time, prepare to do a lot of work, it’ll pay off eventually.
That said, I rarely play the original mix myself, I play one of the remixes I’ve made over the years, or for e.g. this great remix by my buddy K-System, who is half of the newly formed power duo ‘Lumïsade’ who’ve now had a couple of great releases on Statement! and more to come. Back in the day I had a stint where I played the Terpsichord remix a lot, then the Jan Driver one, then the Dallas Superstars one and here and there in housier mixes the Superchumbo remix :) In the last couple of years there have been pretty cool quality ones by Dash Berlin, Mark Sixma, Paul Oakenfold for instance that have gotten crowds crazy at festivals and clubs alike.
Is there lack of focus when it comes to culture and communion in today’s scene? Are we focusing too much focus on the wrong things? What do you think we should do to better to educate the new generation so that they may love dance music as long as you have?
A lot of hard to define assumptions there, but I think you might be onto something… ;) I think the main thing to learn or realise is that while I understand it’s awesome to dig something with your friends, share a moment of joy with music, it’s even more important to truly know what YOU like, what you’re after and then go find it or do it. Your own taste in music is the most important thing, and if it is more left field than the next guy’s, so be it, no shame or harm in that! It applies to pretty much everything in life, the more you think for yourself, the happier with yourself and with life in general I think you’ll be and when that’s the case, you can be happy with people and conditions around you as well. What comes to educating people… I don’t know… If you’re a musician, do YOU, don’t try to please people trying to make what you think they want, and it’ll show and will create meaningful fan – artist relationships.