- Real name
Ville Virtanen
-Date and place of birth? Eura, Finland, on the 17th of July, 1975
- How did you come up with the name 'Darude'?
When I was studying my first year in Turku Polytechnic we had a party at my classmate's apartment. We were eating and drinking and playing records and I guess I was feeling really, ummm, "happy" as I played one favourite track of mine of that time, 'Rudeboys' by Leila K, several times in a row. In short, it's because of that my friends started kind of mockingly calling me 'Rudeboy'. I started using that as a nickname online and as my artist name when I started making music. Later on it got shortened to 'da Rude' (I didn't wanna be a 'boy' ;) which was then put together by the graphic artist when the single cover for my first single 'Sandstorm' was made; it looked visually better like that so... 'Darude'.
- How did you get in the music business?

I've always been interested in music, been listening to dance music for years, started making my own music 1996 after some friends of mine showed me what they were doing with just a computer and some freeware programs. I realized that I could make my own music and decided to have a go at that. I bought my first pc and started fooling around with it and loosing too much sleep... ;) I never thought about 'making it big', I was just making music because I liked it so much. I teased my friends with my early production and sent some demos to a magazine and radio stations in Finland in '97 and '98 and also to some record companies and got some good feedback, but nothing more. I made music on my own and also had two separate projects with two of my friends. On a Wednesday night in August '99 after his DJ set I gave my producer of today, Jaakko "JS16" Salovaara, a demo CD (my third one for him actually) which included my original demo of Sandstorm (and some other tracks of mine) which got Jaakko's attention. All I wanted was his professional opinion of the tracks and some tips about better sounds and things like that. What I got was a phone call a week later from him. We met the same night in the same club in Turku, Finland, and agreed on working together. We spent two or three days in his studio and the next Tuesday Sandstorm (with his remix) was ready as you hear it now on the single. It took a few weeks to get the track mastered and to get the singles from the plant and to get it on the Finnish Dance Chart. After three weeks it was number one and stayed there for 16 weeks. The things snowballed from there and I started touring in Finland, then Scandinavia, Germany, Holland, France, Spain, UK, US, Australia, all over the place.

- What kind of music you listen to yourself? I constantly listen to all kinds of electronic dance music (edm) with my DJ sets in mind so mainly it's various progressive and uplifting trance, progressive house, vocal house and some breaks that's in my player...
Listening to music in the car and in the background in not-so-professional manner is a bit different, not always only edm but also rock, metal, punk, and some pop, too. To name names: Faithless, Paul van Dyk, Ferry Corsten, Armin van Buuren, Super8 & Tab, Dallas Superstars, Modulation, Prodigy, Madonna, WASP, Twisted Sister ie. all kinds of stuff.
- What gear do you use in the studio / live? In my studio I've got an Apple computer with MotU audio interfaces and Emagic midi interface running Logic Pro. I've got a couple of Korg, Roland, Yamaha and Access hardware synths/sound modules and I monitor with Genelec speakers. Along the hardware I'm using more and more software synths these days; in addition to Logic's own synths I really like FM8, Absynth, Korg Legacy, Vanguard, Nexus, Sylenth, Omnisphere and Stylus RMX. I also like Ableton Live a lot, I often use it as a quick sketch pad for my studio productions before I take stuff to Logic. I love its easy time-strectching features and the simplicity of use.

When I DJ I use Traktor Pro with EKS Otus controller (and sometimes Ableton Live as a extra loop/mashup tool) and Pioneer DJM800/900/1000/2000 mixer and CDJ-2000 players as back-ups and controllers. My live set consists of a laptop with Ableton Live, MotU UltraLite audio interface or Korg Zero 8 mixer, a keyboard or two, an effect unit and live visuals run by my VJ. When playing live I often have a percussionist playing live electronic and acoustic stuff and a singer and a guitar player with me, too.

- Why don't you spin vinyl?

When I first started learning to mix I was using Pioneer twin CD-players and a DJ mixer and I've never looked back. I did try playing a vinyl or two because I heard people say that "every good DJ spins vinyl" and I can mix with vinyl adequately. I just didn't like it then and I still don't, and I didn't want to do that just for the all-important credibility. I do understand if someone learned to mix with turntables and vinyl and knows them like the back of their hands and still wants to use them. What I don't understand is negative attitudes towards new technologies (like CDs and DJ software) which not only makes spinning more comfortable and effortless, but also opens a lot of new creative possibilities. I don't think the art of mixing lies in trying to be careful and calm enough not to make the needle skip... ;) It's the music that matters, not the media.

- Thoughts on the mp3/p2p matter:

Illegal downloading puts honest and hard-working people out of business. If you're trying to justify downloading stuff with that good old "I'm not finding it in my local store" -line, try ordering the music from the web (iTunes Music Store, Streetbeat.ac, eBay, Amazon... use Google!). Ask the artist's original label about the 3rd party labels who have licensed the music in your country, they should have the general info about the singles and the albums and their availability near you. Promoting your own music in the internet with mp3-samplers is of course ok, but has to be authorized by the record company if you're signed.

- Favourite food:

Nakkis, pizza, home-cooked food; (honey-marinated) chicken with pasta or rice, ...

- Hobbies:

Making music, watching movies, seeing friends, ice hockey, roller hockey, gym, floorball, frisbee, motorbikes, being a tech-junkie/nerd...

- Best gig:

It's very hard and unfair to name one as the best one... One of the first bigger and more meaningful ones was at the MTV Ibiza festival in July 2000. I also remember an insane one in Lohja, Finland (@ Pottenperi) and amazing ones in Salt Lake City, US (@ Axis & Vortex).

- Biggest gig:

One Big Sunday performance in UK, I think it was in Middlesborough. I was told there was close to 100000 people in the festival area, about 80000 directly in front of the stage. Nuts.

- How do you feel when you hear your stuff played on the radio/in a club etc?

Great! :)

- Future plans?

My plans for the future include the release of a DJ mix album and a new Darude album is slowly but surely in the works as well. I'm also planning to collaborate & produce with other artists/producers and to build my own record company EnMass Music (with Randy Boyer). I'll continue touring around the world to support my releases and to reach out to my fans and I hope to tour more in regions like Asia, South America and Africa as I want to expand my "current territory" ;)

- Will you send me an autograph in the mail?

I hope to see you on one of my gigs one day, I'll be happy to sign a card or a photo for you there. I'm sorry I can't send you an autographed photo because if I did that I'd need to the same to the tens or hundreds of people who ask, and I'd have no time to do anything else.

- I came to your gig and you failed to sign my 'Rush' CD and completely ignored me... Why?

Oh, trust me, had I had the time or the opportunity I would've definitely autographed your CD! That's the least I can do for a fan after buying my album. During my sets I sometimes sign stuff but it IS, believe or not, sometimes quite intense and busy in the middle of the set (especially a live one) so I might've asked you to wait for a minute (or 5) but I definitely didn't dis you on purpose! I actually often request the club/promoter that I could have 15 minutes or something with the people who want to shake my hand or chat after the set so if I play last I try to start a little early so I can stop a couple of minutes before people are thrown out of the club.

- Where was the first ever club you played at?

My first gig as Darude was in Tampere, Finland at NiteTrain on the 5th of December, 1999.

- Do you get nervous before you play?

I always have some butterflies just before I get on stage or behind the decks, but I like that feeling, it's more excitement than nervousness I'd say.

- Do you have any horrible trainwreck moments that you'd like to share?

I guess I've blocked the exact places and moments out of my mind... :) But yeah, I definitely have had both user errors (ie. my own mistakes) and tech problems happen along the way, but I'm not horrified by them these days. I've understood that though I want to be technically perfect in mixing, I'm human and I make mistakes. Anyway, after all, it's all about the music, the tracks themselves and their combination, not about worrying about 100% perfect mixing. Personally I'll take an interactive-and-fun DJ any night over an I'm-too-cool-and-serious-to-smile-and-create-any-contact-to-the-crowd DJ.

- You must be sooo happy to see all these cities and countries!!?

Oh yeah, it is great to travel and see different people and cultures, there's no denying that. Many people don't realize though how much preparing all that takes and how straining all the flying and short nights can be. I'm not complaining though... ;)

- Is it a let down to play a small venue?

I like venues big and small as long as people are into the music! Sometimes 100 enthusiastic people can make more noise than 2000 scattered ones ;)

- What are the three things that are most important to you as you step up to DJ a set?

I like to be well prepared (ie. armed with great tracks and a thought-out set with at least the beginning, the end and a couple of highlights pre-planned), I expect to have the gear and the monitoring environment I've requested (I usually require and do a soundcheck, too, if timewise possible) and I want to have the slot for me that musically fits the night and my style (ie. the buyer should know what they paid for, and if they have more than one headliner they should communicate with them well beforehand to agree on the play-order so that everyone's happy and the "flow" of the night is the best for the crowd). Last minute changes and surprises might easily ruin a night.

- Which song changed your life?

Sandstorm... ;) (It did, REALLY!)

Hmmm... I don't know, there are too many... Bad Boys Blue - You're A Woman and Hungry For Love, Modern Talking - You're My Heart, You're My Soul, Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch - Good Vibrations, Black Box - Ride On Time, KLF - 3AM Eternal, Guru Josh - Infinity, Sash! - Encore Une Fois, The Shamen - Move Any Mountain, The Goodmen - Give It Up, Dr. Alban - No Coke and Rhythm Machine 4, 2 Unlimited - Twilight Zone and The Workaholic,.... Tons and tons more...

- How did 'Sandstorm' come about?

In the beginning I tried to learn stuff from other peoples' tracks, and now later on I still get kicks and inspiration from other people's great music. The vibe is the key thing, the right mood. Sometimes it might be a track, sometimes it might be a single sound or a drumloop that does it for me. With Sandstorm it was a certain club in my hometown where the DJ played good uplifting trance. I went there 2-3 nights a week just to listen to the music and practically ran back home, switched on my gear and started to make music. After one of those nights and early mornings 'Sandstorm' got the basic form and sound it still has. In August 1999 I gave a demo CD to JS16 (my producer since then and a dear friend these days) and asked for his pro opinions. He called me a week later asking me to meet him and talk about my music. In the meeting we agreed on trying what we could do together with this one track of mine he liked a lot... 'Sandstorm' it was... About a week later we had the track redone with some new sounds and better arrangement and started playing it for the local DJs and before we knew it it was charting in Finland and later elsewhere too.

- If you could play anywhere where would it be?

On a beautiful beach somewhere with a huge crowd enjoying the sun going down and the hot day turning into a warm night.

- How do I get you to play at my favourite local club or venue?

I might not have a date in your city in the calendar right now, but it's very possible that behind the scenes stuff is being negotiated as you read this. It doesn't work so that I personally just decide to come to a city, though. That said, if my schedule allows me to, I love to play anywhere where my booking agents get requests from and all the terms and conditions are met.

Go to your favourite local club/venue and ask the owner/promoter/resident DJ/their influential friend(!) to bring me over. Ask your friends to do the same so the promoter knows that there's demand. There's strength in numbers! The promoters sometimes are not 100% aware what's happening on the field and they sometimes might not figure it out that you want somebody to come perform to your city unless you're VERY vocal about it, they're not mindreaders! ;) Talking on the local forums might not be a bad idea either.