Spin it Back Saturday: What So Not – ‘High You Are’
April 6, 2019
April 6, 2019
Dada Life put on a wild show for all of Arizona at Wet Electric this past weekend. They always bring an incredible amount of energy to their shows and people love the inflatable bananas and champagne all too much. On top of the bananas and champagne Dada Life also creates the idea of “Dada Land”. If you are unfamiliar with the territory of Dada Land, check out the description they have for it themselves! “This is Dada Land. Get ready to arrive beautiful and leave ugly. There are no rules, but the rules of Dada. Don’t look back in the past. Always go forward. And whatever you do: don’t trust us.”
Even with some of their songs like “One Smile”, “Cookies with a Smile”, “Tic Tic Tic”, and “Tonight We Are Kids Again” you can tell that they try to inspire nothing but happiness and smiles the whole time through their performance. Before Stefan Engblom (Ollie had to stay home unfortunately) took stage this past weekend at Big Surf for Wet Electric, he gave us a minute of his time to sit down and talk with us so we could get to know them a little better. You’ll see for a self in your second why, but within seconds of conversation with Stefan you immediately understand his happy presence and how he tries to push that onto others as well.
So how did you and Olle actually meet?
“We actually met at the line in Disneyland! You know how the lines criss cross back and forth? I heard someone talking Swedish so I kept thinking, “huh what is that?”. So every time the line would go back and forth we would end up next to each other and we would talk for a little bit. So after a bit of talking we were like, well when we come back to Sweden we should try and work on something together! So we got back and sat down in the studio and we made “Big Time”, which was the first Dada Life release. And back then it was a vinyl release too, but yeah that’s how we met!”
So you guys had been producing music for a long time before you met actually?
“Oh yeah! My story is that, my first track was signed when I was 16. So I’m 33 now, so I’ve been doing this for 17 years now.”
So pretty much more than half your life!
“Yeah, half my life! Whoo! I’ve never thought about it like that actually!”
That’s a mile marker right there then!
“Hahaha yeah it is, but in my head I still feel like I’m 16! But yeah as always in the beginning, it’s funny enough, it hasn’t been like this all the time. I’ve been living on water and oats for years and years, just getting by like f*** everything I just want to make music.”
That’s all that really matter though, if you’re doing what you love and enjoying yourself.
“Yeah, that’s totally true you know and like I lived in a one room studio for a really long time too.”
So you would just spend a lot of time in there I’m assuming working on music and what not?
“Yeah, that’s exactly what I was doing all the time I was in there every single day.”
So one of the most unique things about Dada Life is the idea of Dada Land that you have created. Where did that idea come from because that’s a really unique experience you create for your audience.
“Basically Dada Land is something that we need to have. Because to live at Dada Land you need to be able to be free, like fully free. In order to do that you need to be able to bypass all the rules from the government. You just need to be yourself and let loose. So that’s where it originally started because whenever we played a show we claimed the area as Dada Land and we know that people don’t have to think, they can come in and are completely free and can have fun.”
Another unique thing about Dada Life is all the bananas and champagne. Is there a specific reason you chose these two?
“It’s actually kinda a funny story because in the beginning when we started playing, we played a lot in Germany in these super sweaty dark clubs and we needed the energy! So we had people come and bring strawberries and other fruits. But none of that worked! But bananas since you open them and they are fresh inside we always had them available! So we were always eating bananas and drinking champagne and then we were like okay well we need some type of logo. We would think and couldn’t come up with anything. Eventually people started posting on our youtube videos and were like “Oh man look how crazy these people are, they’re up on stages eating bananas and drinking champagne!” So then we realized we had been doing this since day 1 so we put it together! It’s also very a way of Dada, it’s very high and low, you know you have bananas on one side and then you have champagne over here, it’s like the most stupid combo.”
Well it turned out to be a great combo because everybody absolutely loves them! Your next show is going to be Dada Life: Dada Land before time. What makes one of these shows unique compared to something here like Wet Electric?
“Ah well, Dada Life The Voyage and Dada Land Before Time are completely our shows you know, so we can do things completely our own way and control what we want to do. And the planning for those shows is roughly like a year, there is so much thought behind it and there are so many ideas. It’s not all the time you see those ideas come to life too because you have insurance companies and what not.”
So to bring those ideas into reality isn’t as easy as it as it may seem.
“You know the thing is you always kinda of think that they aren’t realistic, but then the thing is they kind of happen. So we never let any ideas out to public. To be honest we had the idea of doing a pillow fight a couple years ago.”
You guys had done that at Crush here in AZ in 2015 right?
“Yeah we did do it then! But first time we tried to do a pillow fight was in LA and we had tried to do it so many times but the insurance company said no you can’t do it. So we had to prove them wrong somehow. So that was an idea that everybody was like no this isn’t going to happen but we just kept pushing them and pushing them. And the idea is now that we have to push for these ideas for a long time you know like maybe a year or so or even longer.”
So earlier you said that you can’t share any ideas, but is there anything you can share about Dada Land Before Time that is coming up?
“Hahaha no we have to keep everything a secret or else everybody will know.”
You guys recently came out with a new track titled “Tic Tic Tic” so could you tell me a little bit about this track and how it is typical to the Dada Life sound and how it is different?
“Yeah so when we did it, we really wanted it to have both rage and happiness in it. So for this track we really succeeded we think. It started out with Olle jamming out on the guitar, and then from there we just kept layering stuff on and having fun with it. Then after a while we realized that this could actually become something, and eventually we had a track finished!”
So Olle has his side project Night Gestalt where he will produce his own music. Do you have a side project of your own to produce tracks by yourself?
“I do some stuff on the side, because like when you’re an artist you have this palette of colors. And you paint one picture and we have Dada Life here, but I have ideas for others things as well. You know like making music is really fun and you can’t put everything into Dada Life cause it’ll be too much. But yeah I do make some of my own tracks.”
Do you ever drop some of these tracks at shows?
“Yeah and it’s really funny too because people will have no idea what they are listening to my solo stuff.”
That’s really awesome though because as a concert go-er you hear this awesome new music and you can’t find the song ever again, but you at least get to hear the diversity that artists can bring to their shows.
“Yeah and I’m still making those tracks so they will keep on changing. I actually haven’t released anything in a year, but they are still super fresh tracks and people love them because they can’t find it anywhere and they have no idea what it is! And believe me, in these days, it’s hard not knowing on fans because they wanna know what kind of music they are listening to.”
You mean like they want to know when the drop is and the build up/breakdown etc.?
“Well that but also people want to be able to search it and find it and be like okay lets download this song! But it’s no where it’s just in my computer and that’s it!”
What is one piece of advice you can give someone who is just starting DJing/producing and wants to one day eventually be up on the big stage like you?
“Ah man, you need to put hours in.”
As far as developing your own sound and making yourself stand out?
“Yes, but like not even because like… Get hours in because hard work pays off. You know like I wasn’t kidding earlier when I was saying I was living off of water and oats. After about 5 0r 6 months, just water and oats, my body started getting really f***ed up. I would talk to the hospital and nutritionist and they said you’re super deficient in salt and fat. So I added salt and olive oil in my diet and then eventually I was back in business so I could do like 6 months more. So hard work and putting in hours is definitely what you need.”
Last time you were here was a year ago for Crush 2015, so although you haven’t played yet, how does the scene in Arizona compare now to a year ago?
“Oh man I have no idea, I did just get here but I’ll find out in a second here haha!”
Alright and then the last question, is there anything that you want all of your fans here in Arizona or anywhere else to know?
“Start laughing more. Seriously like there is too much seriousness going on. Too much thinking, like even if you have to fake laugh your body will think you’re happy. You trick your mind into becoming happy and that’s what it’s all about, being happy. It’s kind of hard but if you fake it enough, you can make yourself happy. But don’t think too much, there’s too much thinking going on.”