The Story behind Darude’s ‘Sandstorm’ – Clubgoer turned iconic DJ

Darude EDM Authority News

It’s one of the most popular dance tracks to date. Darude’s Sandstorm is an iconic dance anthem, spawned a legendary meme and has become a recognisable tracks around the globe.

The track’s identity has recently been impacted after being ‘memified’ – Now becoming a popular amongst internet users and is often heard along with Viral videos. It’s recent resurrection makes it easy to forget the origins of the track, which are just as wild as the song itself.

The Story of ‘Sandstorm’ – The Best Known, Unknown Track in the World

Ville Virtanen (AKA Darude) started out as more of a clubgoer than a producer. Being from a small village in Finland, he had never experienced a festival or large club. It was only in 1996 when Ville started taking inspiration from tracks he had heard in a club and use that to make his own.

“There where many a night where I went to the club, come 3:30am when people are starting to get kicked out, I would basically run home and started making music having just heard something that I really liked.”

During this time, Ville made what would become the melody to Sandstorm. All the filter sweeps, level fades in the buildup and drums were all mixed live into cubase. Two years later Ville started working on the track again, along producer Jaakko Salovaara who would later start 16 Inch records.

Sandstorm was finally released in 2000 under 16 inch records, the first release on Jaakko’s label. That weekend they shared Sandstorm with a few of their DJ friends, where they saw first hand the effect the track had on it’s first listen.

“That happened to me in 2 weeks. From total hobbyist to seeing my music being played by DJs and it took off”.

The track grew at it’s own accord, being shared by DJs and could soon be heard in every club around the world. It had become one of the hottest dance tracks of the year.

Along with the tracks success, Darude was being booked in clubs and festivals around the world and was fast becoming one of the biggest DJs in the industry. But as with any hit record, it’s effects soon wore off and the world moved on from Sandstorm.

But only in the last few years, the track gained attention once again after a popular gamer played the track during a live-stream. The track grew amongst his fan base and soon spread, becoming one of the biggest memes on the internet, even being turned into an April Fools prank by YouTube.

“In the last two years we’ve had a huge increase in my bookings and online presence. We’ve really worked the track as a meme, and it’s great that 18 years later people are still talking about it.”

18 years on, Darude is still creating music. His latest track Surrender was released early February under Armada Music.

“What I want to do now is just make new music, collaborate with people and keep on doing what I do. That’s the only thing I know how to do and like to to. And I’ve been fortunate to do that as my job”

Oh and the title? Simple. Roland JP-8080 out of the box, first synth – Sandstorm.


*Quotes taken from Vice’s interview with Ville for their Sandstorm documentary.

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