Keys N Krates are not your average electronic group. With a diverse musical output coupled with their unique live performance, they find themselves constantly pushing the boundaries of dance music. Though they sit in front of a computer in the studio as much as any other accomplished producer, they continue to shine through after the track is finished. The trio, consisting of Jr. Flo on turntables, Matisse on keys, and Tune on drums, turns trappy, synth and sample saturated tunes into a captivating live experience. On the eve of a massive U.S. tour, I got the chance to ask the group about their modus operandi, live creation, and their forthcoming EP.
Do you guys feel any pressure, internally or externally, to continue making the sort of music you are known for?
Flo: No, not at all. We are pretty psyched on all the stuff we are making right now (our next EP) and really have felt zero pressure to conform to anything.
Speaking of your new EP, what can we expect, sound-wise?
Tune: It’s definitely more of a body of work that feels like a mini-album. It has ups and downs. It’s often dark and vibey, but sometimes fun and boisterous. We wanted every tune to have dirty sample textures, be musical, maximal, but hit hard all at once. We want it to be something that makes sense at a festival or a club, or at home playing off your computer.
What is the process like, from the genesis of a track to making it work live?
Matisse: Generally we are all individually making ideas and sketches which we bring to the table as ideas. When all of us dig an idea one of us has brought, we triple team it and try and finish it to a point where we all like it. Sometimes those ideas come from a melody or drum groove that someone wrote, or sometime they come from vocals or a sample they’ve chopped up. We also co-write with a lot of vocalists and then take the vocals we recorded and use those as samples we draw from.
With the bar set so low for DJ's playing shows, and your band going so above and beyond with live performances, do you ever feel like the intricacies of what you do on stage goes over an audience's heads?
Flo: Yeah, definitely. It’s not for everyone. Not everyone cares or has the attention span or the passion for music to care about what we are doing up there live. But our fans get it and people who care really care and we care so that’s kind of what matters in the end to us.
Keys N Krates will be embarking on a massive tour shortly, first in Australia and New Zealand, and then on to America. Do you feel a difference between American and Australian crowds?
Tune: They’re actually very similar. Both audiences are very much into bass music, and open to a lot of new sounds and ideas now.
What's one place you'd love to play?
Flo: I’d love for us to play in Japan.
Keys N Krates are busy wrapping up 2015 in New Zealand and Australia, but will be returning to North America in January to continue their tour. View the complete list of tour dates here.
Krates N Krates' Midnite Mass is due out January 15th via Dim Mak Records. Pre-Order