Photo Credit: Anton Sucksdorff

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Darude Talks UMK, Eurovision, And New Songs “Release Me”, “Superman”, And “Look Away”

We have one more day to go until Darude presents his three songs for Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK), with his featured singer Sebastian Rejman. The show will decide which of the three song will represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019.

Darude, real name Ville Virtanen, is one of the biggest Finnish DJs in the world. His instant hit, “Sandstorm”, went viral and hit the charts hard internationally. He’s gone on to have a successful DJ career spanning two decades. He’s released a total of four studio albums, won three Finnish Grammy Awards, and has had his music included in movies, TV series’, games, and events such as the Euro 2000, The Olympics, and Wimbledon. We also interviewed him, just last year, about the release of his fourth studio album Moments.

Now, we’re honoured to interview him a second time, focusing on his announcement as Finland’s Eurovision 2019 representative, his three songs he has submitted for UMK, and Eurovision overall.

Hi Darude, how are you today? What have you been up to?

I’m great thanks! I’ve been busy prepping for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019!

What made you decide to do Eurovision this year?

The timing was right. It felt like a fun and exciting challenge for me to be a part of.

For the past three weeks, you’ve presented three songs that will be heard on UMK. They all feature Sebastian Rejman, what was it like to work with him?

I had worked with him earlier on my Moments album (2015) which was both fruitful and fun. During that process, we became friends so when I committed to Eurovision I knew I needed to work with someone I trusted and had a solid working relationship with, so Sebu was a no brainer! He’s obviously a great singer and a good looking guy which helps of course.

The first song you dropped was “Release Me”, can you tell us more about the song?

It’s pretty much how my personal life is… I’m a working/touring dad who has a supporting wife, everything’s good, but sometimes there is the homesickness and guilt of being away.

What was it like to film the music video?

I got to make all of the three videos with Jaakko who has made several of my previous videos so it was an easy process working with an old friend!

The second song was “Superman”, what is this song about?

The small deeds in everyday life helping others… That helping being seen as an everyday superhero, and kids often see their parents are superheroes!

You are literally Superman (or should we say Darude Man?) in this music video, what that like to film?

I was excited to try the ‘real Hollywood’ stunt equipment and the suit had a few extra muscles that I lack, so it made me feel great!

The most recent release was “Look Away”, written by you and Sebastian Rejman, what does this song mean to you?

Without naming specifics, we’re trying to make people think about things that could be improved in our world if we all took a little action.

What do you make of the music video to this one?

Well, it is plain and simple, it’s depicting people looking away from the issues we’re facing and neglecting to take action on fixing.

All three music videos were directed by Jaakko Manninen, what was he like to work with?

As mentioned, I love him! He’s a professional who allows input from everyone! Always a very positive experience working alongside him.

Out of the three songs, which one is your favourite, and why? Also, which one do you think will be chosen to represent Finland at Eurovision 2019?

I’ll tell you March 3rd ;-)

What can we expect from you on stage at UMK?

Each track has a different ‘show’ and theme but high levels of lights and energy similar to most all dance music! I think they come to life more during these live shows!

What is the most exciting thing about UMK for you?

Working with some of Finland’s best professionals and repping our country!

What are your plans after UMK? We expect you have promotional plans for the song…?

Promo wise we’ll be visiting some of the EV pre-parties. There will be a good amount of practicing for ESC in May. I’ll also continue to work on new Darude music.

Who has been your favourite Finland representative in Eurovision and why?

Lordi, obviously because they WON, but also they were so different & dared to break the mould!

What about Eurovision winners? Who has been your favourite from the past?

Outside of Lordi, Johnny Logan’s winning track “Hold Me Now”.

Which Eurovision entrants have been your favourite that haven’t won and why?

Saara Aalto, last year, did great in my opinion, but as always ESC anything can happen.

What did you make of last year’s Eurovision Song Contest?

As always it was big and colorful, but we could always use more lasers.

What are you most looking forward to when in Tel Aviv at the Eurovision Song Contest?

I’ve been to Tel Aviv once before but didn’t get to see much of the city, so I’m looking forward to spending time seeing the local culture, as well as getting to meet my fellow contestants! It should be a great event!

Have you been given any advice from previous Eurovision entrants? And what has the support been like?

Several previous Finnish contestants have reached out, given support, a few insider tips, and told me to prepare for a fun ride!

Have you seen the images of the stage? What do you make of it?

I’ve seen some basic designs, but can’t really make much of it yet… The tech team is on it!

Have you listened to any of the other Eurovision acts and their Eurovision songs, yet? Which is your favourite? And who do you think is your biggest competition?

I’ve seen many of them on social media and listened. Definitely some great songs, but it’s hard for me to be a judge as I normally don’t think of music as a contest.

In our last interview with you, we talked about “Sandstorm” and how much of an anthemic track it is and how it has stood the test of time, as well as A&R expecting another “Sandstorm” from you. With Eurovision being such a big stage and being broadcast all across the world, comparisons are inevitable. How would you say your music has changed and evolved from that of your debut hit single to now, your Eurovision track, 20 years later?

In general, while styles and genres have changed, I feel similarly during the creating process but for EV, the contest concept and the format of the three-minute song makes it a bit different.

What other plans do you have for the rest of 2019?

More new music & touring after I take a short summer vacation with the family!

And, finally, is there anything you would like to say to your fans?

My fans are a huge motivating factor in everything I do! Interaction on social media and high-5’s at my shows mean the world to me!

Thanks for having me and hope you enjoy the contest!

Thank you, Darude, for taking the time out to answer our questions. We cannot wait to watch UMK tomorrow to see which song is chosen to represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. We also cannot wait to watch your performance on the Eurovision stage in Tel Aviv, we reckon you’ll totally make it to the Grand Final and we will definitely be voting for you.

All three UMK songs are available to download and stream right now, released on Armada Music. As you await UMK, why not check out Darude’s previous releases.

What do you make of our interview with Darude about all things Eurovision? Let us know on Twitter @CelebMix.

Written by Jonathan Currinn

26-year-old writer, blogger, author, and journalist. Graduated from Staffordshire University in 2015. I write under the name Critic Jonni, on my blog. I also write for Channillo, Outlet Magazine, SPECTRUMM, Fuzzable, Modern Magazine, and Electric Mode. In the past, I have written for Fox & Squirrel Photography and the Daily Star. Follow me on Twitter @CriticJonni