When Stefan Engblom was a kid, he dreamed of running away and joining the circus. All day long, he’d practice riding his unicycle and juggling at the same time, dreaming of the day when he could regale the shouting hoards with his earth-shattering talents, all the while riding his cycle past the orchestra and demanding they play harder.
As Engblom got older, his worried mother convinced him not to go to circus school. Instead, he went on to study computer science, which also happened to fit his wild mood.
“My personality is pretty much like a computer,” Engblom says. “It’s either one or zero, and since I was a child, it’s always been a one, full-on. Either you do it, or you don’t do it; there’s no in-between. If I put my mind into something, I do it full-on. Sometimes I do it overboard. That’s just the way I am.”
“We’re pushing the limits all the time—in our music, in our stage show, in our whole Dada Land concept. We’re pushing it, and because we’re pushing it, everything is new.”
It’s that dedication to raging insanity and an all-systems-go mentality that brought Engblom success as one-half of the champagne-squirting, banana beat-busting, Swedish jokester duo Dada Life. Since 2006, Dada Life has been an institution of balls-out banger anthems with more than its fair share of traveling mayhem. The pair start riots with their mere presence, and their latest release, Welcome to Dada Land, and concurrent compound tour are set to be, according to Engblom, the “biggest thing we’ve done so far.”
A huge part of the Dada Land appeal is the live show element. The Swedes are known for packing sets with high-octane, exclusive remixes, edits and collaborations that can’t be heard anywhere else in the world. Welcome to Dada Land marks a first chance for fans to experience the energy and hear these ultra rare clips outside of the Dada Land arena, resulting in 50 minutes and 38 seconds of blood-pumping, four-on-the-floor mania. Complete with never-before-released collabs with deadmau5, Major Lazer, Zedd and more—plus brand-new original tracks, such as opener “Tonight, We Are Kids Again”—the mix album fully represents the duo’s entire career.
“It’s like stepping into Dada Land if you listen to it, and that’s the whole point,” Engblom says.
Getting licenses cleared for the tracks was a headache for their managers, but by this time, they’re used to it.
“Me and Olaf have tons of ideas, and mainly the management says, ‘No, somebody will get killed,’ ‘You’ll get sued,’ ‘I have to call the insurance,’” Engblom laughs. “One day, we’re going to tape or film a whole meeting so people will understand. We’ve been told our insurance guy always get amazed by the questions our management asks.”
Dada Life are always flabbergasting someone, whether breaking the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest pillow fight or claiming their own sovereign nation (prompting the Swedish government to revoke their passports). They won’t settle for anything less.
“It’s proof that we’re doing something right,” Engblom says. “We’re pushing the limits all the time—in our music, in our stage show, in our whole Dada Land concept. We’re pushing it, and because we’re pushing it, everything is new. So, shit happens. We get shut down because they don’t know what to expect. They take our passports because we claim our own sovereign nation. That’s the kind of stuff that, for us, is like, ‘Okay, we’re on to something here. This is good. Let’s keep on doing it.’”
“Looking back on Dada Life, it is like I joined the circus. I realized my childhood dream.”
For the full-on Dada Land Compound tour, the guys are heading out with everything they’ve tested out on the road, plus some brand-new tricks straight out of the bag.
“We even have new stuff that nobody has even seen that we haven’t even tried out,” Engblom says excitedly. “I really do want to give them away, but it will be a surprise. [Check] Instagram; you will see some funny shit there.”
So, Engblom doesn’t go around juggling on his unicycle, but we wouldn’t put it past him.
“Looking back on Dada Life, it is like I joined the circus,” Engblom laughs. “I realized my childhood dream.”
Welcome to Dada Land from Dada Life is available now via So Bleeped AB.