Ville Virtanen (born July 17, 1975), better known by his stage name Darude, is a trance producer and DJ from Eura, Hinnerjoki, Finland. He started making music in 1996 and he released the hit single "Sandstorm" in late 1999 and subsequent album Before the Storm in 2000. His music is characterized by its progressive/uplifting style.BeginningsVirtanen started his career as an amateur musician while studying at Turku Polytechnic, making music using his PC's tracker software. As his interest in music production rapidly grew, he moved on to more serious production techniques.While at a classmate's party, Virtanen played the song "Rude Boy" (written by Swedish artist Leila K) for several days. This earned him the nickname "Rude Boy," which gradually morphed into "Da Rude", which in turn inspired the name "Darude".Virtanen continued producing music, occasionally releasing demos to radio stations beginning in 1997, and offering his music for download on MP3.com. In 1999, he gave a demo for "Sandstorm" to his producer, JS16 (Jaakko Salovaara). Virtanen signed on with JS16's 16 Inch Records label, and shortly thereafter, "Sandstorm" was released as a single.Early career"Sandstorm" was a smash hit #3 in Finland and UK, selling platinum and holding the #1 spot on the Finnish Dance Chart for seventeen consecutive weeks. Word quickly spread about the track, which found global success. After becoming the #3 single in the United Kingdom (becoming the first record by a Finnish artist to do so), "Sandstorm" eventually sold 2 million units worldwide, and was the world's biggest selling 12-inch single in 2000.Shortly thereafter, Darude released his debut album, Before the Storm, selling 800,000 copies worldwide, topping the Finnish album charts, and earning him three Finnish Grammy awards. Before the Storm was produced by JS16, and features two of his remixes.Darude's second single, "Feel the Beat," followed the success of "Sandstorm", reaching #1 in Finland for 2 weeks and #5 on the UK Singles Chart. Subsequent releases, "Out of Control," and "Out of Control (Back for More)" (a remix of the former, featuring vocals by Tammie Marie) failed to match the success of Darude's first two singles.Darude began a successful world tour in 2001, releasing Before the Storm: Australian Tour Edition in the process. 2002 saw the release of Before the Storm: Special Edition, featuring a collection of remixes of Darude's work. Since the release of Rush, Darude has remained on the road, particularly the United States and Eastern Europe.In 2003, Darude released his second album, 'Rush', along with singles "Music" and "Next to You". All three had modest success, with Rush reaching #4 in weekly Finnish album sales and "Next to You" being commonly featured in DJ mixes.Recent developments"Tell Me" was released in Finland on April 11, 2007 and "My Game" on September 19, 2007. The Finnish release date for Label This! was October 24, 2007.Darude is currently ranked #96 on the DJ List as of December 11, 2010 and #314 in the DJ Mag Top 100.World famous Brazilian mixed martial arts star and former PRIDE FC Middleweight champion Wanderlei 'The Axe Murderer' Silva (pronounced Vanderlay) currently uses "Sandstorm" as his entrance music for fights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Sandstorm can also be heard playing at many sporting events worldwide.Darude launched a label on January 1, 2011 with USA producer/DJ Randy Boyer called EnMass Music.Darude released a DJ mix compilation 'Salmiakki Sessions Vol. 1' on December 20, 2011 on EnMass Music. The compilation is a reflection of his namesake radio mix show, and includes 10 of his recent remix productions and 8 of his much-played favourites by his fellow Finnish artists and producers. 5 of the tracks are previously unreleased exclusives for this compilation. His friend and EnMass Music artist Weirdness has 2 original tracks and 3 remixes and his partner in the label, Randy Boyer, has his handiwork on 4 tracks on the compilation.