Get your banana costumes ready. And maybe invest in a “Rolling Stones T-shirt.” Or, if you really want to do it up right, wear a Rolling Stones T-shirt over a banana costume. “But for what … and why?” you might ask. Because it would make Olle Cornéer (far right) and Stefan Engblom, a.k.a. Dada Life, absolutely ecstatic. Ritually demanding that all journalists wear banana costumes during interviews (ours was conducted over the phone, so there may have been a little white lie…), Vegas Seven attempted to catch up with the hilarious Swedish production duo who are gearing up for The Rules of Dada LP release on Oct. 16 and their next XS gig on Oct. 19. What we got instead was … well, a dozen banana mentions.
Bananas and champagne are pretty much synonymous with Dada Life at this point. How did the obsession begin?
Engblom: Bananas and champagne together are the perfect party food. We always had bananas in our rider before we even had inflatable bananas [at our gigs]—or even a banana logo. Alcohol and bananas are the perfect club food: It keeps clean, whatever you do. The club can be the smallest, grimiest, nastiest club in the world, but the banana is still perfectly clean when you peel it and eat it.
What do your fans do with the bananas you give out during your sets? Do they eat them or try to preserve them as mementos?
Engblom: Some people eat them, some people throw them, some people want us to sign them. We had one guy coming up to us once with a banana that was totally black saying, “This one is from Electric Daisy Carnival six months ago!”
One of your hits this year is “Feed the Dada.” So, what does the Dada eat?
Engblom: You can feed the Dada whatever you want to feed it; it depends on which hour of the day it is. You can feed the Dada with feelings, you can feed the Dada with music—you can feed the Dada with anything!
Your song “Rolling Stones T-shirt” recently caught on like wildfire. Do either of you actually own a Rolling Stones T-shirt?
Cornéer: No. We actually wrote the track while watching some footage of a Vegas pool party.
Engblom: That’s the feeling we wanted to have in that track. Every time we play it in Vegas, we get sentimental and eat a banana.
Do you think your track has boosted the sales of actual Rolling Stones shirts? Suddenly numerous clubbers are rocking the band’s signature tongue logo.
Engblom: You can definitely say that there are loads of people at our shows with Rolling Stones T-shirts.
Do you think they even know where the logo comes from, or are familiar with the classic rock band?
Engblom: No—and I don’t think they care.
How would you describe to someone what “Doing the Dada” looks like? Perhaps there are steps to act it out as a dance?
Cornéer: As a dance? Doing the Dada is more like something you experience, and a feeling.
Engblom: You can do the Dada as a dance. You just need to stop thinking while moving all your arms and legs at the same time. If you have bruises on all of your arms and legs when you’re done, you’ve done a pretty good dance!
Cornéer: I’m not sure it would look that good, though.
Engblom: Also, it’s very important that you have a happy face while doing it. All of our music is happy-face music!
And “Doing the Dada” is probably even better if you’re wearing a banana suit, right?
Engblom: When people come to our shows, they tend to arrive beautiful and leave ugly. If you wear a banana suit, then that’s good protection. Wearing a banana suit to our shows is very practical because when you step out of Dada Land, you can take the banana suit off and step into your normal life.
Do nightclubs actually let customers in if they’re wearing banana suits?
Engblom: Oh, yeah. We have loads of ’em coming. We’re super strict; it has to be [allowed when we play]. You can measure how good a show is by counting the amount of banana people in the crowd.
Cornéer: More and more people wear them, because if we’re going to do something stupid [onstage], we always pick someone in a banana suit.
Gabriel & Dresden made a great mashup of your track “White Noise/Red Meat” with The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” called “Eleanor Red Meat.” Have you heard the track and if so, what do you think?
Cornéer: Yes, I’ve heard it. It’s always hard hearing mashups of your own songs, because you work so long with a song that that’s the version that you’re used to and you’ve heard it 10,000 times. Everything that’s changed just sounds strange—not necessarily bad, but just strange because the version you have worked with so much is the version you have in your head.
Engblom: Yeah, imagine taking a sip of champagne, and then it just tastes like milk. You’re not sure if it’s good or it’s bad, it just tastes like milk, not champagne.
Speaking of alternate versions of your songs, do you guys have a favorite remix of your hit “Kick Out the Epic Motherfucker”? There are so many of them.
Cornéer: It depends on which mood you’re in, basically. There seems to be one for every mood. I mean, first there’s the official one, and now there’s, like, 12,000 mashups. We stick to the original—we play some of the remixes, the official ones, sometimes.
How did the Dada Life remix of Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” come about and—more importantly—why?!
Cornéer: One of the rules of Dada is “Cash in, drop out.” And we always follow the money.
On your Twitter account, @DadaLife, you periodically Tweet the #RulesOfDada. Got any specific ones for partying in Vegas?
Engblom: In Vegas I would say there are no rules but the Rules of Dada. In Dada Land, every rule and regulation of Nevada disappears.