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[Interview] Dada Life’s Epic Year with ‘One Smile,’ DadaLand & More Ugliness

Few artists in the world today have accumulated such a wild and irreverent reputation as Olle Cornéer and Stefan Engblom, otherwise known as the Swedish powerhouse duo, Dada Life.  You know you’ve found yourself a pretty exceptional person or persons, when in conversation about said person(s), someone asks you the question…”why?” and the best answer you can come up with is…Because (insert name).

Currently hosting a massive residency in what is currently the United States’ #1 club on the World’s Top 100 Clubs list, Dada Life is operating at peak performance, and continues to take their tried and true formula to bigger and crazier heights.  They’ve used marching bands, they’ve set world records, and even took their music an extra step into mainstream legitimacy by ditching their electro synths and going Dada Life “fully unplugged” for the fans in attendance during 2014’s Las Vegas EDC Week.

Why?  Because they’re Dada Life.  And that should be the only reason you need.Perhaps its their cult-like following that caused the Swedish government to suspend their passports for concern that they might actually try to take Dada Land from an idea, to a coupe de’ etat.  As an outsider, this would not seem terribly ridiculous.  Everything we see about Dada Life is the musical embodiment of when immovable forces meet their own unstoppable Dada Life-themed objects. They cannot and will not be stopped.

The month of June and EDC week marked the heavily anticipated return of Stefan to the stage after having major surgery.  One would assume that he may have been a bit hampered in his return, but then one would be forgetting exactly who we’re dealing with here.

See for yourself.

Olle, who had been waving the Dada Life flag in Stefan’s honor as he recovered, couldn’t have been happier to rejoin his tour-mate and continue their shenanigans.

O – “It sucks being on your own, traveling as much as you do.  It’s really amazing to be back on tour with Stefan.  You can feel the energy, and it’s like your other half is a part of you again.”

Perfectly unpredictable, its hard to walk into a performance from Dada Life knowing what to expect, other than some very fundamental pieces: 1) ‘Follow the Rules of Dada is their mantra, 2) Champagne & Bananas are their fuel, and 3) and general pursuit of ugliness is their quest.


They’ve been such a prevalent force in dance music culture that they’ve carved out their very own special niche, frequently contributing new and memorable pieces to our cultural lexicon.  Most recently, they made world headlines, as they set their names in the Guinness Book of Records for “World’s Largest Pillow Fight,” and have been sharing that experience with fans everywhere, even calling it “The Ugliest Moment” they’ve ever witnessed while on stage.

S – “We just got back from our tour in India.  Lately, we’ve been having ugly pillow fights as part of the sets.  Normally we do it, we have the synthetic fluffy stuff in it.  In India, we didn’t have any of this fluff, they had, real…bird feathers.  These feathers fly so much better so, once they, hit each other with the pillows, feathers would just keep floating up in the air, and it made the air thicker, and sweaty, and it stuck to everyone.”

S – “Basically everyone looked like a bunch of big chickens….(laughs)”

Taking the concept of a rave and adding a pillow fight was a pretty creative endeavor.  They had this to say when asked if the pillow fight will continue and what they had planned for the future:

O – “Pillow fighting is about the most happy/violent we can imagine, but are always asking fans for suggestions.  For now this is what we believe is the best example of happy violence.  We won’t promise that you’ll be seeing anything like a pillow fight at a big festival like EDC though but it’s always possible…

S – …yeah honestly, it’s sometimes really really hard for us to take all of our plans, and make them all happen during a set.  Things just, happen, and we get to the end of the set and are like, wow, we didn’t expect it was going to end like this…(laughs).”

O – “Other than at EDC, first, small steps, we have a new single that we’re really happy to release this summer, and premiering it at EDC called “One Smile.”

Premiere it they did, to a packed house of what was estimated to be 40,000+ at EDC’s Circuit Grounds. This track pulls together a lot of elements that are decidedly ‘Dada’.  They’re sticking with the theme from ‘Born to Rage’ by bringing in some heavy vocals that are traditionally found in hard rock anthems, adding a gritty pitch bend for the vocal bridge, and then turning the drop into a melody that is the complete embodiment of what fans love about them: upbeat, a bit frantic, but just enough to make even the most iron-footed fan leave the floor bouncing up and down with “one (big) smile” across their face. The tune is set to be commercially released on July 15th. 

O – “After EDC, we’ve got a number of bigger steps, we’re working on an acquired territory.  (laughs) That will be pretty fun.”

O – “We’re hoping to be pretty far away from Sweden, so the Government doesn’t need to be involved (laughs).”

S – “We’re on pretty good terms with the Swedish Government, since they took our passports, and we’ve learned a few things about making sure to have communication with them so we don’t end up stranded in Sweden again.”

S – “Oh yeah.  It’s kind of shocking to see that it got that far.  You know how dark Sweden is during the end of Winter?  We were in the airport ready to go to beautiful sunny Miami.  And then, we get stopped at the airport saying ‘you can’t go’ – we’re just standing there in the airport with our luggage thinking….womp womp womp (laughs).”

When asking Stefan and Olle what country most likely represented their vision of Dada Land, after a brief look at each other and without hesitation, a spirited “None,” was all they needed to say.  You would suppose this is exactly why they created their vision for what is now the next phase of their Dada Land Compound, called “Dada Land – The Voyage.”

Taking homage from the elusive Count of Monte Cristo, they’ll be entering into their own personal Southern California camping festival in a hot air balloon, and will play what they call “a classic” and “epic” set, and are bringing a number of artists including Brillz, Morgan Page, Madeon, Mercer, and Oliver Heldens with them.  (this is an extremely unique “do-not-miss event” – Get your tickets HERE).  As if the sets weren’t enough, fans will be able to eat their heart out Disney world, because they’ve got some unique entertainment planned for all camp-goers.

S – “It’s like a big birthday party for adults, with crazy stuff happening.  It’s so-so-so Dada Land.  It’s funny, because the main thing we’re worried about is, ‘Can you steer a hot air balloon?  We’re going to come in, land, and from what we know, it is not as accurate as we would like – that’s actually our main concern.  We haven’t gotten an answer from management on that yet, but we…we are hopeful (laughs).

O – “I mean who knows, we might not even come close to the stage, we might be flying down the freeway, and have our loyal banana fans raging down the freeway with us.”

Gideon Miller
I spend my weeks hard at work, "one deeper" inside corporate America, headphones in, getting my fix as a progressive house and trance 2.0 junkie. On the weekends though...I am on a quest to experience the best electronica our world has to offer.
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