For what felt like about 20 years, easylaughs would start a lot of their shows with the same song. It was a high-energy-boost of a song that was perfect for injecting the players and audience with show fuel. It’s a song I’ve heard way too much but it is part of the fabric of my performing history.
The song is Sandstorm by Finnish DJ, Darude. A 2000 dance track that is audio proof that energy can be turned into sound.
Maybe you know it. If you went to easylaughs shows in a certain period, you definitely heard it before short-form shows. If you went to clubs or raves in the 2000, I’m sure you heard it a ton. We weren't the only group or team that used this song for this purpose, it was everywhere, from shows to sporting events.
The song had a resurgence in later years as a comedic meme, in that it became standard answer when anyone asked what that song in the background of a video was, no matter what the actual music was. It also seems to get covered a bit these days especially on unusual instruments.
But back in the day, we unironically loved that song. Not necessarily as a song, but for what it represented. I know it’s not to everyone’s taste - Some people complained about us using it - but it did its job. It prickled the energy cells and switched brains into ready mode. (I am not a scientist, but that’s clearly what happens.)
I will actively admit we may have used it too much. Actually, I know we used it way too much. Even now, years after we stopped using it, the song still has an effect on me. If I am somewhere – and it can be anywhere – a shop, a leisure centre, a sleazy restaurant – and that song comes on, my muscles tingle. My whole body jumps into readiness exactly as if I was about to jump on stage. I kid you not. I now have a Pavlovian response to it. Like I am some kind of performing dog and improv is my Scooby snack. Which is far closer to the truth than I care to admit.
More than any other song, Sandstorm evokes in me that feeling of being huddled backstage with a small group of people who you love and respect(*), ready to throw yourself in front of an eager crowd and make magic(**) for them.
(* - actual emotions might not always be as advertised.)
(** - actual magic may not happen.)
I am sure we all have songs like this. Songs that take us back to a particular time and/or place or a particular situation. What are the songs that take you back? I certainly have others, although no others with quite the strength of reaction that Sandstorm has. There were a couple of standout tracks on an old mixtape (I hate to admit that it literally WAS a tape), that now take me back to being slightly (or sometimes very) drunk on a train coming home after a night out. There are a couple of songs I used to play over and over when I was angry or sad that can remind me of times when they were needed. There are songs that people introduced me to that remind me of that friendship or relationship.
Sometimes your favourite songs can remind you of the first time you heard them, take you back to that moment when your mind was blown that such a great song could exist.
But enough about those other songs. It's Sandstorm that's still stuck in my head and my brain is now all revved up to do a show! I have to do something about this, try and think of something we used to play too much after shows instead. Something to unwind. I'll have to be careful though, I don't want to end up with something that puts me in the mind to start drinking at 11 am...