In a recent interview, DJ Sandstorm explained how he was able to get away with his “sandstorm” of insider trading. He claimed that the SEC never found out about his scheme because they were too busy investigating other DJs for their own schemes.
Shane Beamer, the new South Carolina coach, has had a dependable source of support in some of his most difficult times.
Do you need a shot of adrenaline? Are you looking for a reassuring memory of where it all began? Is his family banding together to help him get his dream job? He is aware of his options.
Sure, he’ll undoubtedly contact his father, the famous former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer. However, he has another go-to, an old friend from Finland: a 22-year-old instrumental piece by Darude, a Finnish DJ.
“Sandstorm” has been a soundtrack for Beamer’s ascent in the coaching ranks, starting when he was a defensive assistant at Williams-Brice Stadium in 2009, when No. 4 Ole Miss traveled to Columbia. Beamer served under Steve Spurrier at South Carolina from 2007 to 2010.
With 1:39 remaining in the fourth quarter and a 16-10 advantage, the Rebels faced a crucial third-and-12 situation. The stadium speakers blared “Sandstorm,” which drove the audience into a frenzy. As spectators and players leapt up and down, ESPN commentator Chris Fowler remarked, “A rave breaks out in Columbia.”
Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead was sacked by the Gamecocks’ defense. “Sandstorm” blared again before fourth down. Ole Miss was penalized for a replacement in the midst of the pandemonium. With fourth-and-19, Snead threw an incompletion, sealing the victory. At home, the Gamecocks had defeated a top-five team. There was the birth of a new legend.
The environment came as no surprise to the losing coach, who had learned not to underestimate Gamecocks supporters in his first year as head coach at Arkansas, even while facing a club that ended 1-10 — with that one victory coming against a 1-10 Ball State squad in the season opener.
Houston Nutt stated, “That was my first experience ever in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1998.” “‘Well, they’re not having a good year, therefore the folks won’t come up,’ I reasoned. And, believe it or not, when I glance up, there are 80,000 people in the stands. You speak of being devoted. ‘This fandom is incredible!’ I said. From that point on, throughout my 14 years in the SEC, I knew one thing: South Carolina was going to be a party.”
Even so, he was taken aback when he learned in 2021 that his suffering was the source of the ritual.
“When you hear [“Sandstorm,”] you instantly think of South Carolina football — I do, and I’m sure most people do,” coach Shane Beamer said. Jeff Blake is a sports reporter for USA TODAY.
“Woah, it was a terrible night,” Nutt chuckled. “I had no idea I’d be given credit for it. I suppose I’ll have to accept it.”
South Carolina’s top marketing and branding officer, Eric Nichols, deserves recognition as well. “Sandstorm” was added to the Williams-Brice repertoire by Nichols, who arrived to South Carolina from Vanderbilt. He said that he had previously performed the song at Vandy and that it had failed to gain traction. He tried it again in South Carolina, and the response was so positive that he decided to reserve it for a special occasion. They discovered it against Ole Miss on those two plays.
“We simply played it back to back,” he said. “I’ve never done anything like that in my life, and it just kept the celebration going.”
In the heat of the moment, Beamer said it may be difficult to identify a cultural moment. However, he said that one stuck out.
This week, Beamer remarked, “I’m really focused in on the game.” “However, I recall thinking it was unusual and being swept away by the intensity of it.”
It had an impact on him. He admits to watching “Sandstorm” video on YouTube — Coaches! — to get his blood flowing, just like us! After Beamer interviewed for the South Carolina position this summer, his family saw it as a sign of optimism while he was an assistant head coach under Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma.
“We were hoping and praying that everything would work out and that I would be able to come here,” Beamer said. “When I came home late at night in Norman, my family had it on full blast. My kid would take off his shirt and wave it about. They’d all be waving their towels, even my kid.”
Now he’s back in Columbia, where he’ll experience the real thing in front of 80,000 or so of his adoring fans. In the league’s preseason media poll, the Gamecocks were predicted to finish second to last in the SEC East, ahead of just Vanderbilt. After going 6-16 in the previous two seasons, fans understand that the rebuilding process is only getting started.
But, as Nutt pointed out, it doesn’t matter. The game with Eastern Illinois isn’t the main attraction in Beamer’s debut on Sept. 4. After a year of hearing the noise of a crowd that was muffled due to a capacity restriction of 20,000 people, it’s nice to hear it again. It’s hearing the Gamecocks’ other musical tradition, the tune from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” as they take the field. Before kickoff, it’s waving towels and leaping to full 136 BPM of “Sandstorm”… and anytime else the team needs it throughout the game.
“When ‘Sandstorm’ was played in our stadium, there were some electrifying moments,” Beamer remarked. “However, I’m sure that when it’s played for the first time next Saturday night, that one will be right up there at the top.”
DARUDE (actual name: Toni-Ville Henrik Virtanen) is no longer surprised when his invention comes to life. The mere fact that the music was heard at all is a fairy tale in and of itself.
It was his first song, written as a pastime after visiting to clubs in Southern Finland to see whether he could produce comparable music. So, in 1997 or 1998, he set up shop in his studio apartment’s kitchenette and began experimenting with free software he’d downloaded.
Darude told ESPN, “I had a Pentium 2 PC in my kitchen.” “I just had one synthesizer at the time. I used freeware to make samples, loops, and melodies. At the moment, it was the situation. It was all very do-it-yourself, and I was just having a good time and playing about.”
In 1999, he reworked a tune he’d written a few years before and combined it with a new rhythm. He called it after the “Sand Storm” starting message that appeared on the LCD screen of his Roland JP8080 synth. He posted it to MP3.com, and it was being played at the same clubs he was visiting two weeks later.
“I don’t have any classical musical training or anything,” he said. “So, when I was younger, I had a lot of limitations when it came to creating music. Some of it, I believe, stems from the fact that it is easy enough. You can recall it, hum along with it, and whistle along with it. As a result, it was comparable to a layman creating music for laymen.”
Year after year, it has continued to find fresh cultural significance. “Sandstorm” achieved gold with over 500,000 sales in 2010 despite being published at the height of the online music-sharing era, including being originally uploaded as a free download by Darude himself. It was certified platinum in January 2020, with over one million copies sold.
Darude had a period when he was weary of just being recognized for one thing. The Finnish version of “Play Freebird!” became “Play Sandstorm!” But he understood that one item gave him a life he never imagined to have and continues to provide him.
He said, “I had a time when I was just so sick up with everyone constantly asking about the tune.” “It wasn’t like I was openly telling people to piss off or anything, but it was a thing for a time. But then I simply thought that if people come to the concert today, 20 years later, and back then, maybe 10 years after the release, it’s just a wonderful thing.”
He’s watched the song become a pop cultural sensation, appear in unexpected places, and become a national treasure in Finland, where it was the first Finnish music video to broadcast on MTV. Finland rang in 2017 with Darude performing “Sandstorm” live with synchronized pyrotechnics to commemorate the country’s 100th anniversary of independence.
“This should happen every day at midnight,” says the most popular comment on the video.
Such sarcasm is sometimes real, and other times a reference to the song’s comic levels of excitement. Billboard magazine reported on the song’s usage as a punchline on the 20th anniversary of its release.
“This isn’t to say that everyone laughs when they hear ‘Sandstorm,’ but it might be a knowing wink. Those winks don’t even take into consideration the song’s two biggest ironies: that a dance tune achieved its greatest popularity outside of the club, and that music that was once derided as foreign is now accepted by the heart of American society.”
Daedelus, a DJ and producer who teaches electronic music classes at Berklee College of Music in Boston, believes the song’s legendary reputation is well-deserved, especially as a sports anthem.
“I believe it is worthy of the heritage that has been discovered,” they added. “It has an unparalleled ability to become an earworm. It’s akin to the definition of a ‘jock jam,’ in that it may convey a complete emotion, associated with triumph or success, in a very short amount of time. It’s simply a hype song in the sense that it captures the visceral sensation of rising. There are just a few songs that you know what to do when you hear them in a stadium.”
That’s why it’s a staple of sports stadium playlists throughout the globe. Michael Phelps warming up to his music before gold medal races in two separate Olympics, according to Darude, was bizarre. Saku Koivu, a Finnish great and one of his favorite hockey players, led the Montreal Canadiens onto the ice as team captain to “Sandstorm.”
When pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura signed with the Boston Red Sox in February, it helped him make the transition from Japan.
At his introduction news conference, he stated, “Back in 2013, when the Red Sox won the World Series, [Koji Uehara] was walking out of the bullpen from Fenway with ‘Sandstorm,’ the entrance song.” “That was a very wonderful experience for me, so I began utilizing the same song in Japan, called ‘Sandstorm.’”
The song served as Wanderlei Silva’s signature walk-in soundtrack. It was adopted by Kansas State, but it was later outlawed when supporters began shouting “F—- KU” during basketball games against Kansas. (Since then, the school has attempted to reinstate it.) It’s very popular at NBA arenas and during NHL power plays.
Sir Foster, an Atlanta Hawks DJ, has witnessed it alter the outcome of games.
He said, “It works.” “It works every time we go there. That is what great art does. It’ll take on a life of its own after you’ve finished it and the rest of the world has seen it.”
Darude is baffled as to why the music elicits such strong emotions.
“I don’t know why, but there’s something in the lead sound that makes a lot of very diverse individuals resonate in a positive way,” he added. “It’s not like I intended to make that particular noise. I was simply fooling around when I heard the noise. I would have done 10 or 20 more if I had known.”
“Sandstorm” became a joke in the internet age, particularly on Twitch during esports broadcasts, and it captivated a new generation. If you ask, “What song is this?” the response is always, always “Darude — Sandstorm,” regardless of the music. In 2015, any music search on YouTube received the message “Did you mean: Darude — Sandstorm by Darude?” on April Fool’s Day.
Darude acknowledged that his position in online culture first “weirded him out,” but he now embraces it. He was an early Twitch user, and he’s still extremely active on the platform, where he enjoys startling viewers in broadcasts.
Expect to hear “Sandstorm” whenever a group of Gamecocks gets together. Jeff Blake is a sports reporter for USA TODAY.
In athletics, though, he is cut off from that contact and, at times, from that cultural link. Imagine developing something in Finland and having it become a part of SEC football’s cultural fabric. The song is a strongly held bond among alums at South Carolina, even during weddings. Expect to hear “Sandstorm” whenever a group of Gamecocks gets together.
From 2004 until 2014, a local celebrity known as “Boombox Guy” would wander about the University of South Carolina campus with his portable radio playing cassette mixtapes. Nothing gets the folks moving like a little Darude in the midst of the school day, according to “Boombox Guy.”
“Every time ‘Sandstorm’ came on, the boombox folks would become thrilled, and its energy would alter their whole day,” said JJ Shepherd, a computer science and engineering teacher at South Carolina who only halted the music to become Dr. Shepherd. “It builds until the beat drops, and then it’s game on. People would stop strolling and start dancing all of a sudden. It’s no surprise that it’s the second fight song for the University of South Carolina.”
Darude said he often hears from South Carolina supporters and, like Beamer, has seen all of the YouTube video, but he hasn’t talked with anybody from the school.
“It’s odd that I’ve been such an important part of their games and never heard a peep from the organization,” he added.
Unlike per-use music royalties for radio plays or streaming, “Sandstorm” is covered under a blanket stadium licensing agreement, which means that venues may pay a price depending on the number of seats or anticipated spectators and use the songs as much as they like.
“When I watch any stadium go crazy during a game to my music, I am very thrilled and joyful. That’s a very amazing aspect about it “Darude said. “If we look at it from a business perspective and take it seriously, I wouldn’t mind having that money come my way. But, at the same time, I don’t want to come off as ungrateful since, in any event, I’m glad it was performed.”
And he wouldn’t mind being in front of a raucous Willy B stadium crowd.
“Obviously, I’d love to perform in front of that sort of audience,” he added.
OPPONENTS HAVE LEARNED TO EXPECT NOISE IN COLUMBIA, JUST AS NUTT HAS. The Gamecocks beat Kentucky in basketball in 2010, and “Sandstorm” was played nonstop. Kentucky player Jon Hood stated before a game in Columbia the following season that the song may be a predictor of momentum.
He said, “They only play it while they’re awake.” “It’s only played while they’re on their way back. You’re doing fairly well if you keep away from ‘Sandstorm.’”
Georgia running back Todd Gurley II bemoaned the condition of his eardrums following a 38-35 loss to South Carolina in 2014.
“This is one of the most bizarre places I’ve ever seen,” he remarked. “It’s difficult to keep supporters quiet once you offer them something to get excited about. I’m hoping I don’t hear [‘Sandstorm’] ever again.”
Gurley didn’t have to be concerned about it being heard in Athens. Foster, the Hawks’ DJ, also works at Georgia’s Sanford Stadium in the same capacity.
“At Georgia, I’ve never played the song. At any time, “he stated “One of Georgia’s division opponents is South Carolina. ‘Yo, we don’t want that music,’ they explicitly said. As a result, ‘Sandstorm’ will not be heard in Athens. At Hawks games, it works. It’s fantastic. It’s fantastic everywhere except Athens.”
When Shane Beamer needs a pick-me-up, he can always turn to “Sandstorm.” ATHLETICS OF SOUTH CAROLINA
That doesn’t bother Beamer in the least.
“When you hear that song, you instantly think of South Carolina football — I do, and I’m sure most people do,” he added.
It’s a long way from a trance tune written in Darude’s kitchen to a great American university tradition.
“A Finnish producer and the state of South Carolina are eternally linked,” Daedelus remarked. “We don’t care where things come from, which is one of the most wonderful aspects about athletics. We just worry about the numbers on the scoreboard.”
Someone from Darude’s management had previously reached out to Nichols when he was on tour in South Carolina, but the timing didn’t work out. He sees a future in which Darude and Gamecocks supporters will finally be able to communicate.
“We have a celebrity starter,” he said, “where a new important person returns to lead the Gamecocks chant before to the team taking the field.” “If he did that, it would be great.”
“It would be fascinating if someone suggested anything,” Darude remarked.
For the time being, Nichols is counting down the days until he can hear the roar of a full house again, after a year of learning not to take such things for granted. Nichols knows what will happen at Williams-Brice when the start button is pressed on Sept. 4 with an excited new coach in place who was there for the first real “Sandstorm” event and fans ready to go back to games.
“The first note gives me goosebumps every time,” Nichols remarked. “However, I believe the season’s first ‘Sandstorm’ will be a release of pent-up passion and unrestrained excitement that will be felt across Gamecock Nation.”