This coming July, Dada Life is putting on their famous The Voyage festival for a second year in a row. In light of this, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Olle and Stefan from Dada Life this past week to discuss this years voyage to Dada Land, their trip to the food bank, and everything else that the Swedish duo has been up to.
J: To start, just how many bananas does Dada Life go through on a daily basis?
Olle: Well on off days like right now, just one but at a show, a lot of bananas. It’s different, when we don’t have a show, we don’t eat that many bananas. They’re perfect for shows, they really are. At least for me personally, they are really connected to shows. If I eat a banana on the street when I’m not having a show I’m just like *makes crazy noise*. It’s not good for me I’m not crazy!
J: So you guys went to the food bank earlier today to donate a few thousand bananas. What was it like giving back to the community in such a unique way?
Olle: It was interesting to be there in person and to see how a food bank system works. For example, the lady there showed us that when families get there they get to fill out a form saying what they need and what they are interested in, like if they need vegetables or canned meat or whatever. It was actually really fun to do while we were here!
J: So you’d say it was a rewarding experience?
Stefan: Yes it was great to actually go there behind the scenes, see how it works and talk to the people.
J: Do you guys have plans to continue doing philanthropies in the future?
Olle: We have other ideas involving bananas for the future.
Stefan: We’re working on it and hopefully we’ll have more stuff. We don’t want to say anything now in case something doesn’t come through or if there is legal stuff or whatever.
Olle: We do have something planned for The Voyage show though.
J: That’s great to hear! So what was it like getting all of the bananas together? Was it easier or more difficult than trying to get 5,000 pillows together.
Olle: Oh, it was easy you just buy it from the wholesaler!
Stefan: Yeah, the truck just showed up and we just carried it in. It took a while but we did it.
J: So you didn’t have any problems like you did when getting thousands of pillows?
Olle: Getting pillows has always been a problem. Even when we do smaller pillow fights, it can be a problem if we’re in a smaller city, for example.
J: I could imagine, since you guys cleared out half of the Ikeas in America right?
Stefan: Yeah, after breaking the Guinness World Record for the biggest pillow fight we did!
J: Over the past year, Dada Life has had to deal with some serious health issues to say the least. How have these experiences influenced the direction of Dada Life?
Olle: It wasn’t really the direction but more influenced us in the way that we are just happy to be doing what we are doing. You are reminded that you are in the right place, basically. I personally realized how important music is on a broader scale. I knew it from the beginning but it is one thing to say it but another thing to actually feel it. I would say the big difference from before and after is thinking a thing and feeling it.
Stefan: I would also say it was like coming out of surgery, picking up your phone and reading thousands of comments of people saying stuff like “Wow this is gonna be okay!” was crazy. That’s one thing that personally helped me to get better quicker because you get so much positive energy from the scene that it’s like wow, this is actually a big family where people care.
J: That is actually what I was going to ask next. If your fans, the citizens of Dada Land, actually helped you guys recover more quickly. Did you really see the connection you had with your fans from this?
Olle: Before, we knew that we had a special relationship because we always go down and say hi to everyone. Like last year at the Voyage show we went out after the silent disco to the campsites and to say hello and that’s when we said “Wow, we really have something special with them”. But now after the surgery we saw how much they really care and it is a really amazing feeling.
J: So you would say that it really helped inspire The Voyage festival and this Dada Land experience that you guys are trying to give.
Stefan: Yeah it’s so good that it’s our festival and that we can do whatever we want. That’s the whole thing, it’s that we want to bring all of the citizens together with us. Its not us and them its us together and then we just have fun.
Olle: And I hope you saw this morning that we are going to try to break another record with the most people dressed in banana suits. That’s the goal for this year’s The Voyage is to break that record. It’s also amazing for us because, like Stefan said, it’s not about the crowd and then us its about us together. Especially when it comes to breaking the record, because then you know we’re all apart of it and that we need to create this history together.
J: And that’s because this all is less focussed on you guys and more on the community?
Olle: Yeah we don’t do anything, we need people to show up in banana suits! We’re just the facilitators of the record.
Stefan: It’s not everyday that you get to be apart of breaking a world record.
J: That sounds like a great experience. Do you both plan to keep breaking world records in the future?
Olle: I don’t know, if it makes sense then yes. On one level it’s just a fun thing but you know if it makes sense it’s fun to make it happen
J: And you guys could really do some great things with that.
Olle: Exactly, its not like we would do something that doesn’t make sense like…
Stefan: …the world’s longest finger nail!
J: So tell me about how you guys went about developing the concept of Dada Land and the whole festival and why Southern California for the location?
Olle: I think we picked Southern California because it has always been almost like a second home for us. The first crazy shows we ever did in America were in Los Angeles, like with Avalon and the riot that happened. We kind of felt from the beginning that this was an amazing place. That way it felt natural to do it here.
J: The San Manuel Amphitheater also must be a great venue to host The Voyage.
Olle: Yeah there’s camping and its in the middle of San Diego and Los Angeles so people come from everywhere!
Stefan: It’s also a big open space that allows us to do all of the stuff that is fun. We’re gonna have banana tossing and the longest champagne spray competitions. That sort of stuff is what I want to do. Im gonna do it. Im gonna be there trying to break somebody’s record and if someone else breaks it Im gonna go and try it again.
J: With all of that space you guys were able to arrive in a hot air balloon. What was it like to experience that?
Stefan: Seeing a big crowd by a stage from a hot air balloon just blows your mind. Its indescribable.
J: So I’ve heard about how you guys are big on not playing out too much and spending more time on making music. How would you say that you two go about balancing playing shows and making music?
Olle: That’s exactly what it is, it’s balancing.
Stefan: When you’re in the studio you make music that you want to play out and when you play out you get these amazing ideas and want to get back in the studio. And if you do one too much then you’re missing the other one so if you have the balance its perfect because you just go back and forth.
Olle: Thats the whole thing is that it is impossible to find the recipe of the balance its just an ongoing process and struggle.
J: Do you prefer to work in the studio or do you guys like working on the road as well?
Stefan: We had a lot of trouble before working on the road because when you’re in the hotel room you can’t get the feeling of the studio and everything. But we found a thing called the SUBPAC. It’s actually a piece of equipment that you put on your seat that recreates the really low frequencies so when you have your headphones on, you can actually feel the super low frequencies that punch you in the stomach from the SUBPAC. It became so much easier to get inspiration and new ideas down because once you put on your headphones it’s like being in a club because you can feel the bass. In music, you’re supposed to feel it. You hear it but your body is also supposed to feel it as well.
J: Are there any new upcoming projects that you wanted to tell us about?
Olle: Well, apart from The Voyage which is a big thing for us of course, we have our new single coming out One Last Night On Earth being released in June.
J: So all seriousness aside, you two would consider yourselves to be banana experts, correct?
Olle: Oh yeah we are experts!
J: So where do the best bananas come from and what makes a perfect banana?
Stefan: I would say the thing with bananas that differentiates it from other fruit is that it has this protective shell. It can be really sweaty and dirty, but once you open it, its super fresh inside. and for us during the shows it starts really beautiful but then it becomes so ugly that you are just dripping sweat from the ceiling and you don’t want to eat a sweaty apple. Its also practical with the potassium and everything. It makes sense.
Olle: The perfect banana is roughly this size. *Picks up banana* You can hold it and eat it but thats like 90% of bananas. In thailand we had these tiny ones and they are fun but they are hard to eat while you are djing. Regular yellow bananas are that favorite.
J: So what is the craziest type of banana that you have come across?
Stefan: The apple bananas in Brazil definitely. It’s crazy because your brain sees a regular banana and then you eat it and it tastes like an apple.
J: So throwing cake at shows has become pretty popular amongst big named DJs. What is Dada Life’s stance on this? Do you guys partake in this as well?
Olle: No we eat the cake we never throw away!
J: What happens to people that violate the Rules of Dada?
Stefan: We violate the Rules of Dada but luckily for us we are presidents. The fans actually remind us about the rules. For example when we were playing a show in South Korea, we went out to get Korean BBQ and tweeted about it and people started tweeting us “What are you doing eating BBQ before a show?!” and we realized “Oh sh*t what are we doing?”.
Olle: Yeah, it is good to have a whole nation of citizens to help us follow our own rules! I don’t even think people would know if they’ve broken the rules or not. If we found out then maybe we would have to kick them out of Dada Land and make them regain their passport.
J: Just like when you guys had your passports confiscated back when you sent out over 150 letters to embassies declaring Dada Land a sovereign nation? How did that impact you guys?
Olle: It impacted us in a very irritating way because we were looking forward to spending a week in Miami to play shows. Instead we were stuck with the snow in Sweden. It took three weeks to get them back.
J: Do you think they were doing it as a joke?
Olle: No it wasn’t a joke. We thought it was a joke at first but I think it might have been some kind of misunderstanding. Atleast I hope so because they’d be crazy if it wasn’t.
J: Does Dada Life still plan on making Dada Land a sovereign nation?
Olle: Oh of course. It already is a sovereign nation because we have claimed the territory of each show that we play. Like when we are playing The Voyage, that is Dada Land for that day. We do plan on getting our own piece of land that we can call our own nation all of the time. That’s the next thing.
J: One last question, with the upcoming show The Voyage, how would you say that Dada Land citizens should prepare?
Olle: First they should get a banana suit, thats important because we want everybody to be apart of breaking the world record. Other than that, just leave your brain behind and come with an open mind.
I can’t wait to see what kind of crazy surprises are in store for us at The Voyage this year and I wish the best of luck to Dada Life in their attempt at breaking the world record for most people dressed up as fruit. Get your banana costumes here and let’s get ugly!