Darin @ Metropol - "It felt like we were recording a movie"

Yesterday Darin visited Metropol, a radio show on a Swedish channel called P3 (Sveriges Radio). 

Photos by Metropol's Instagram @metropol938 and Darin's Instagram @DarinOfficial

The result was a long and funny interview, both about the new single and video, but also a lot of other things. We’ve translated it all for you, read below!

It’s 10 years ago since your breakthrough. How do you feel looking back at this? 
”When I think of it, it feels like its gone fast, but still when I think about what I’ve done over the years, I realize that I’ve managed to do a lot of things. I’ve released several albums and traveled around the world. It’s not like I have anything to regret.”

What have you been doing lately? 
”The latest thing that I’ve done is traveling to the Philippines with SOS Children’s Villages and other artists. It was rough because of all the terrible things we got to see, but meeting the kids that had gotten help from SOS was very nice. It really was a journey for life”

You’ve also been working on new material, and one result from it was released yesterday. 
”Yes! I’ve been waiting for the right time to release it. ”Mamma Mia” was written for Exit, my last album, but it wasn't finished in time. I went back to LA last summer to finish it. Then it was finished during summer but I felt like it I wanted to released it before the summer, because it is a song for that season. Therefore I had to wait and release it this year. And now it’s finally out!”

It’s called Mamma Mia…
”… and it’s not an ABBA cover! Haha.”

What do you have to say about it?
While we, Prophet, Beat Geek, Rush and I were writing the song, we discussed the title back and fourth. If it really would sound good. I hesitated for a while but after the first recording, it sounded good to sing it. The song is about falling for someone so hard that you lose control and you’re willing to do anything for that person.” 

The song is a featuring by Prophet of 7Lions. Who is this guy?
”Prophet is a songwriter who’s been working with lots of famous artists. He’s just started a band called 7Lions. We wrote a song together, then he did made a rap for Mamma Mia.” 

The single was released yesterday, but we wont get to see the music video until Monday, right?
”Exactly, it’s released on Monday. And behind the scenes is released today, I think, at Sony Mobile’s website.”  (Watch here: http://youtu.be/aiMwBWIzRnA)

I bet there’s many people that wanna see the video! It’s very lavish?
”Yes, it was. There was a great team working with it. Alex Herron, the director, has worked with Taio Cruz and Kylie Minogue. The guy recording it has made the latest Drake, Nicki Minaj. It was a big and great team.

What was it about the video that was so expensive? This must be the most expensive thing you’ve ever done?
”Yes, I think so. I guess it was the location, and all those images, how they were gonna record it, to get this movie-feeling and really do it to the fullest. I think that was it.”

What was it like, recording the video?
"It was awesome! I enjoyed every second. It feels like we were recording a movie. The girl had done many independent movies and cool music videos before, which helped me a lot. I’ve not done much except music videos before, so.."

Weren't you nervous?
"We have this motel scene when we’re.. doing stuff, and of course it was a little awkward with 20-30 people standing there watching while we were in bed. But it was fun anyway. We recorded it in the desert, 2 hours from Los Angeles. The funny thing about the desert is that it’s either extremely cold or extremely hot. In 5 minutes it could go from cold to hot."

Was it your idea, the original manuscript for the video? 
”I got this Bonnie and Clyde feeling. I wrote the idea in Stockholm before I went to LA and worked on it with Alex Herron. Originally we were gonna go record it in Mexico, because the song has latino influences, and I wanted it to be rough, with her being a bad girl and all.”

Did this idea for the video come to you from the song, or was it an idea that you wanted to incarnate?
”It’s just suitable for the song. Every time I write songs, the first thing that pops up inside my head is colors. For this song I thought of red, orange, black - pretty warm colors." 

”Exactly! That’s what it was like. It’s like my old songs. Step up was always green, Breathing Your Love was purple.."

But there’s a lot of green in the video for Step Up, right?

”Exactly, that’s why there’s so much green laser in it. That’s the first thing, then I listen to the song a couple of times and get ideas in my head.”  

How long did it take to record the video?
”One day, actually.

That fast?! But you've made it like a movie. How did you manage that?

”We didn’t have much time to record the scenes, so we had to rush. The team did such a great job, they were really fast. Things that usually take an hour, took 20 minutes for them. Based on the amount of clips that we recorded, the video should've taken at least 3 days to finish." 

Fans have reacted to the single cover in different ways. What do you think of that?
”It was a little 50/50 there. I didn't really expect that, I hadn't thought of it. To me it was just clips from the video that they had painted like pop art. I think that it’s different if you watch the video, then you won’t see it that way.”

So it will be nice on Monday when it’s released and people rethink that.

”Yeah, I hope so.”

In an article from Nöjesbladet you rank 3 big moments of your career: Your first album release, second album release and Så Mycket Bättre. Tell us more about that.

”It was hard to choose, I’ve done a lot of things. But these 3 is the milestones of my career.”

Why the second album?
”Because it felt like ”the moment of truth”. When I released my first album it was straight after Idol, having that right behind me. But the second was the first I did on my own. That album sold twice as much as the first one, and that was really big. It was the album with ”Step Up”, Want Ya, ”Who’s That Girl”, those singles that got very big. This was proof to me that it was for real.”

To you it’s been for real for long. You’re one of those artists who’s been able to last long and come up with new things despite all the time that has passed. 
”Thank you! I like to write songs, what can I say. (laughs) No but I love writing songs and I’ve done it since before I was signed when I was 14. I think that’s the base to everything. I’m a very creative person and I like working with ideas, all from music videos to stage shows and lights. On stage it’s important to me with the right lights at the right moments, all based on the music, of course.”

10 years.. Do you get it yourself, that it’s been so long?
”No. 10 years, it’s crazy! 10 years…”

Do you feel like you’ve had time to relax and take in everything that you’ve done, or have you just watch everything pass by?
”Most of the time I actually forget to slow down and enjoy it. But usually when I’m having some time off I can look back. During the last few years I’ve actually learned to enjoy it more, though.”

As an artist you always get to experience other things, apart from the music. Have you experienced something like that?

”Yes, I remember the first time I was in Germany for promotion when I was about 19-20. It was a totally different market. Just when Berlin started to happen, and the dancers there took me out to all those clubs and I was like ”this is so cool”. It was a whole new world, those things I’ll never forget about.” 

You’ve spent a lot of time in Berlin, and now you’ve moved there!
”Yeah, I moved there a week ago, actually. I was in LA, Hawaii, LA, Stockholm, Berlin, and now back here again.”

The life of a rockstar! You have to tell us about rockstar, what the Americans think that you come from!
”Haha right. Earlier I lived at a place in Sweden called Råcksta (pr. Rocksta) so every time I tell someone from the US that I’m from Stockholm, Råcksta they’re like ”You live in Rockstar, that’s so cool!”

Will you live in Berlin now? Did you move there for work?
”There’s an area there that I like very much and I’ve always told my friends there that they should contact me if anything is available. Now one of my friends just told me that there was a nice place available, and I thought I’ll just strike on that. And now I’m signed to Germany too, so that was really good timing. It’s good to follow your guts.” 

Now we’re gonna listen to your first single, Money for nothing!

Darin: ”Here I am doing the dance to the song!”

That you did in the video, with your hands. Haha. It’s difficult on the radio though, for others to see..
”Oh, right… (laughs)”

You’ve spent a lot of time in the US. How do you like it there?
”I really like it. I’ve been there for work, meet publishers, songwriters.. But it’s nice to just be there, I won’t complain.”

Many artists end up moving to the US, but you chose Berlin. Does that place feel more like home to you?

”As much as I like LA, I don’t think that I’d wanna live there. I’m more of a New York / Berlin kind of guy - I like big cities. A little more dirty and more cool, if you know what I mean. LA is a very special place, it’s a little too calm for me. I like more when it’s a high tempo, with lots of stuff going on." 

It’s nice that LA is ”too calm” for you (laughs)
”Haha, yeah. It’s so divided too, it takes hours to get from one part of the city to another, and the traffic.. I prefer when everything is easy to reach, more close, like Manhattan which is kind of small, and Berlin and Stockholm too." 

While working in the US you collaborated with many of the biggest names in the business, like Lil Jon. How do you get in touch with all those people?
”I worked with a guy named Jim Beanz for my last album. He’s worked with Timbaland, Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears. We wrote the whole album together, and when we wrote ”Before I Pass Out”, we thought that we needed someone else on the song too, a rapper, someone who does crunk. And the king of crunk is Lil Jon. Jim said that he knew him, so he talked to him and sent him the song. He really liked it and recorded his part.” 

How did that feel?
”It felt crazy! We got to choose between him and Missy Elliott, because she’s one of Jim’s closest friends.”

You have to work with her in the future! She’s awesome!
”Yeah I agree. It was so hard to choose, but I think that Lil Jon did an awesome job.” 

As a child you were a big fan of Michael Jackson, having your own idols, and now you’re working with some of the greatest in the business. Do you ever get starstruck yourself?
”Of course. I’m very starstruck of some songwriters, since I’m focusing a lot on that. Sometimes when I sit there working with those people it’s like ”Wow, that person wrote that song which I listened to when I was a kid”, so of course that feels cool. But after a while when I’ve started to get to know them, we’re like friends instead, so I don’t really think of it in the same way after that. It’s really chill and relaxed then.”

Is there anyone who you would like to collaborated with but haven’t worked with yet?
”I still want to work with Ryan Tedder. He’s in the band OneRepublic and he wrote ”Halo” for Beyoncé, and ”Apologize” which I still think is one of the best ballads ever.” 

Isn’t he really humble too? People that have interviewed him told me that he is a down-to-earth person.
”Yeah, that’s how it should be. Most of the big stars that I’ve met has also been the must humble people.”

Thank you so much for being here Darin! Good luck with everything. I imagine that a lot of people are wondering about an album, we don’t really know what’s gonna happen, but a new single is released, at least. The rest we just keep a secret for now and celebrate 10 years anniversary. Thank you Darin!
”Yes, exactly. Thank you!” 

You can listen to the full interview in Swedish below. The interview starts around 01:33:55.

Lyssna: Metropol med Sanna Bråding 20140415 14:00

Translated by Nathalie Pentler