Darren Criss gave fans a treat last week by unveiling a summery new take on a 1990s throwback classic.
The star of 2018′s “Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” on the FX network teamed up with DJ and producer Steve Aoki for a surprising cover of Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash Into Me.”
The 1996 original was, of course, a midtempo track that helped make DMB the definitive jam band of a generation. By comparison, Criss’s high-energy version ripples with EDM flourishes and is tailor-made for the dance floor.
Fittingly, the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor unveiled the song at a workout class last week at Barry’s Bootcamp in Los Angeles.
“I just love smashing unexpected forms of music together to have people re-contextualize themselves with music,” Criss told People. “‘Crash Into Me’ has this really special place in the hearts of a lot of musicians and people my age. People really hold onto the things that really defined their adolescence and it’s a huge part of what they celebrate as adults. As those adults get the front seat of the cultural zeitgeist, fuck yeah, you’re gonna see a lot of those things.”
And getting Aoki ― who has collaborated with Linkin Park, Louis Tomlinson and BTS, among other artists ― on board was a no-brainer.
“I’m just thrilled that Steve was as psyched about doing it as I was,” Criss told Billboard. “So to be able to meet somebody of his pedigree who’s exactly the kind of person who would be able to midwife this, it was great.”
“Crash Into Me” arrives amid a slew of new projects for Criss, who shot to fame in 2010 as Blaine Anderson on “Glee.” In November, he’ll appear alongside Woody Harrelson and Luke Evans in the World War II drama, “Midway.” He’s also gearing up to write, executive produce and star in a new musical comedy series, “Royalties,” for the shortform video platform, Quibi.
No doubt “Crash Into Me” will be part of Criss’ set when he takes the stage alongside Aoki at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas. Though Matthews has yet to give his opinion of the new take, Criss said he’s hopeful the singer-songwriter “appreciates” it.
“I hope he understands that it’s come from a significant amount of love and certainly celebration,” he said. “A lot of people who love Dave Matthews wouldn’t necessarily hear one of his songs in a club environment. God knows if I heard this version ― if this was a remix of the song and I was in the club and heard this ― this would keep me at the club.”
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