Okay, these five nuggets of trivia aren’t straight from our dome’s top – we researched – but they comprise a pretty fascinating li’l look into the 1999 hit from Finnish group Bomfunk MC’s: breakbeat belter Freestyler.

That dreadlocked lad

The homie kid who stars in the clip is Finnish teen Marlo Snellman, who was just 15 at the time of filming. He got the part through his mum, modelling mogul Laila Snellman, and went on to produce a bunch of his own synth-heavy music.

Marlo is now a chef in Paris, and his instagram is absolutely freakin’ gorgeous.

(If you just want to see what he looks like now, go straight here.)

 

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A post shared by Marlo Snellman (@marlitos_way)

Cutting-edge commercials

The piece of tech Marlo is using to pause/rewind/generally manipulate the people he passes by is a Sony MiniDisc MZ-R55. Touted as “virtually unshockable” – because we’re still in the era of moving parts, remember – the player hit the market in 1998 along with a slew of extremely ’90s ads.

Here’s our favourite.

Sliding into Sampleland

The sample which kicks the song off – a bluesy guitar slide, which is distinctively sk-sk-sk-scratched at the end of its phrase – doesn’t come from some dusty old Muddy Waters LP the band found in their grandpa’s basement. It’s from a 1999 sample pack, called Interface Guitar, which the DJs then sped up and diced a little. Let this be a lesson: you don’t need access to the most esoteric of LP collections to find the intro to your new electro hit.

Here’s the sample as Bomfunk MC’s found it:

Celebrity station

Most of the clip was filmed at Hakaniemi metro station, which serves the Helsinki metro area and whose platforms sit 21 metres below sea level. The station has featured in another cult classic pop-cultural product of Finland: the 1985 comedy film Calamari Union, in which 15 men all named Frank flee the city and scuttle through Helsinki’s metro tunnels in a desperate effort to reach the seaside.

An anniversary upgrade

For Freestyler‘s 20th anniversary in 2019, Bomfunk MC’s filmed an updated clip to “reflect developments in technology and culture.” Filmed in Belgrade, Serbia, it features a young girl played by Milica Bajčetić who discovers she can control metro passengers with her mobile phone, and includes a bunch of Belgian YouTuber cameos.

The clip was sponsored by Belgian communications provider Telenet, to promote a new mobile phone service.