Interview: Krewella
On taking a stance against drugs, advantages/disadvantages of singing live, and hardstyle

Although we didn't get to see them perform live last week, Krewella still kept to their demanding schedule and wouldn't let anything stop them from carrying out their duties. Which, of course, includes interviews. Not only are the ladies (Kris was not around at the time) beautiful in person, but they are also a unique set of sisters that are an inspiration to all. They were genuine, and took the time to answer our questions very thoroughly to help give fans an even better idea as to who they are, and what they believe in. It might be difficult to imagine them working at Jamba Juice, book stores, and at restaurants at one point in their lives, but Jahan, Yasmine, and Kris have worked extremely hard to get to where they are today. One of their values is sobriety, and the ability to appreciate music's beauty without being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Pay attention to the first question especially to see how the artists view this problem that has come under such close media speculation. 

Krewella's debut album, Get Wetis set to release on September 24th on Columbia Records

This afternoon on Twitter, Kaskade, Steve Angello, and Tommie Sunshine came together on the consensus that sobriety can be life changing and uplifting. Fans are angry and upset but the situation has been bringing artists together to take a stance against drugs. What do you think can be done this?

J: I don’t think you should deny that drugs are—I think they’re a part of the rave culture if you go back to the 90s rave scene. It’s a huge part of what forms the music. A lot of artists were inspired by drugs and that’s what created a lot of frequencies in dance music. They’re created because of our reaction when we’re on drugs. Personally, Yasmine and I, we don’t take hard drugs and neither does Kris. And actually when we perform now, we’re sober when we are doing live vocals.

Y: No alcohol either.

J: So, we’re not preaching, I just think it’s really important for people to be safe. Know your sources and trust your sources. Make sure you always have a sober friend with you. You know, we were just talking about it earlier, like, if I chose to do something, like a foreign drug, I would always have a very trustworthy friend with me. A ton of water, just someone who’s looking out for you the whole time like a babysitter, basically. I think it’s amazing to come to a point where you can enjoy music and enjoy life when you’re sober. Because dance music is an amazing genre.

Y: It’s something that people don’t understand, that festivals don’t mean getting wasted and getting high. It’s not about that. Like, we go there and we play our music and that’s what it is for us. And we just want other people to feel the same way. The lineup this year for Ezoo was amazing. It was unreal! And if the first thing you think about when you buy your Ezoo ticket is, “Oh my god I’m gonna do so much Molly that weekend,” you’re not in it for the right thing. You should go there and just enjoy the beautiful music these people are bringing.

J: Like, we actually went to, yesterday we were at Ezoo for press and we saw Brodinski and Gesaffelstein. We were in the crowd, and we were completely sober. You just enjoy music so much more and I actually think you’re a better judge of music too, and a better judge of DJs and DJs’ sets when you’re sober. Because there are certain things we noticed about other people’s sets that you wouldn’t notice if you were fucked up.

How do you guys prepare yourselves for last minute changes in plans, like today’s cancellation? For example, Diplo is going to do a special set tonight to make up for the festival.

Y: Unfortunately, nothing came about for us. We’ve been talking about throwing a show together but there’s nothing that’s come up. The venues are packed solid. I’m going to an afterparty, I’m going to make an appearance. My boyfriend is in Adventure Club so he’s playing; he’s probably gonna want me to spin with him. Stuff like that is fun. But, it’s hard, especially when at the last minute you have to throw something together. Much respect, I’m so rocking that people are throwing together last minute things. Cause these kids want it. Like, if I was going to Ezoo and it got canceled, I would love to see at least one person that I was gonna miss.

Well there was a similar situation with Moonrise Festival—different scenario, though.

Y: Yeah, we did a last minute party at Echostage; it was awesome!

You guys are at a point in which you are incorporating live performances to your sets. Jahan and Yasmine, what are some of the advantages as well as disadvantages you have faced while singing live?

J: One disadvantage, I’ll start with a disadvantage. For example, this morning, we had to be up at 7:30 am to go to sound check. We were actually on our way to sound check, in the car, ready to go, when we found out about the music festival being canceled. So you just have to completely change your lifestyle and your diet if you’re gonna really take your performance seriously and sing. Yasmine and I have chosen— don’t eat really late, don’t drink, don’t smoke. Even being around people that smoke is hard because it takes a toll on your lungs. Advantages it just, brings a whole new aspect to your live performance. And I think that’s the next level up to what we can give back to their fans. Fans have seen the DJ sets, now they wanna see something else. They want to see something more like live singing.

Y: There’s something like a band, an EDM band that’s around right now that’s Modestep. And if you see them live, it’s electrifying. You’re just so sucked in. it’s a totally new experience than anything that people go to at these shows. And I think it’s such a cool thing to be part of a group who’s bringing something different to the scene.

One of the things I admire most about your music is how raw and clever your lyrics are on one end and how poetic they are on the other. So was there a particular story behind “Live For the Night” or “One Minute”?

J: “Live For the Night” is interesting because we wrote that before we wrote “Alive.”

Y: Two years ago.

J: Technically the writing is older than “Alive.” That one was interesting because it just went through so many different processes. The writing always stayed the same and I wrote it in a stream of consciousness, those usually end up being the best songs. Yasmine’s writing—I don’t think we changed anything about the verse. She sang the verse for Kris; he’s the third member of the group.

Y: The final vocals are still the demo vocals from two years ago which is hilarious.

J: I remember hearing that verse for the first time. I was like, “This is the most swaggy, clever, witty writing ever. There’s nothing I want to change about this.” What took it so long was the production—how to make it futuruistic, how to not make it a typical progressive house cookie cutter song. It went through so many different phases, like 5 different phases. We’ve heard so many different demos; we’ve been playing it up for a couple years now. And we finally got to this point.

June 8, 2010 was the epic and historic moment in which all three of you decided to make music your sole dream, career, and life. Care to indulge us on a crash course of your lives before you came to such a decision?

J: Actually, we didn’t form Krewella then! In 2007 we started as a group.

Y: June 8th, 2010 was like our dedication day. We dropped everything, and we were like, “Today’s the day, from here on out, it’s all about Krewella.”

J: You can call it the Dedication Day!

Y: I was in high school. 6/8/10 was a few days after I graduated high school. Jahan, you were at UIC.

J: Yeah, I was studying in college. Kris was already dropped out of college. He was the first one out of the three of us to quit school. So he kind of took the lead and inspired us to, you know, really become full time artists. And that’s the only way you can be successful— is if you wake up and just dedicate yourself from dawn until you go to sleep. But before that we had jobs, various jobs. From Jamba Juice to working at a bookstore, waitressing, and we went to school at the same time. While juggling Krewella, so we were kind of juggling many different things.

Your sound is undeniably badass in the sense that, you guys make it work between vocals and the beat itself 100% of the time whereas other EDM artists have more or less considered vocals as an afterthought to preserve the electronic aspect of EDM. With that being said, where do you draw your inspiration from?

Y: I think when we started making songs, we were making songs as a whole. It was a beat and vocals together and we really thought of it like, you think of, like, an Avicii song and it features another artist. This was all within the three of us making music. We were equal in the group. We all were putting our work in, a piece of ourselves into each song, I guess you could say. And so I think it’s different for us becaue we think of each song as a whole. It’s not a beat and then vocals. We have to make them one because that’s how we started and that’s how we make music together. I don’t really know how to do it any other way.

You seem to be constantly experimenting with different styles such as your new obsession with Hardstyle, which is proof of how versatile your sound is. What other styles or genres are you looking into for future experimentation, or perhaps your next album?

J: You know, the hardstyle thing isn’t new because if I look back two years ago, and we first started playing shows, Yasmine and I were really only, we only had three Krewella songs we could play. We played 90 minute sets so, the rest of the set is basically reserved for other artists’ music. And we just played a bunch of underground stuff. We still play some of that stuff. It’s weird, obscure, hard dance sounding songs. So we played those songs out and no one reacted to them. And looking back, I remember we played one small club in Chicago and looking at the crowd, we were still hyped to play this hard dance song. And the crowd was just staring at us, like “You’re a bunch of weirdos.” And in the past four months, I’d say, we’ve been playing out hard dance and hardstyle and finally people are starting to dig it.

Y: Since Ultra.

J: It’s something we’ve always wanted to share with people, our love for hard dance.

Y: It just hasn’t caught on. But finally it’s catching on, which makes me so happy because I love hardstyle.

J: And drum and bass is another genre that we love so much. We actually, you know, produced “Come And Get It” and our single “We Go Down”— those are D&B songs.

We can tell that you all “Play Hard” and are living your dream. What’s one major thing that each of you still have yet to accomplish, or cross off your bucket list?

J: For me, I think a huge accomplishment as an artist is an international world tour. So right now we’re doing it in the states in New York and America but we’re not doing—we’re hitting the major cities but we’re not even hitting so many other smaller marks.

Y: Like Wyoming.

J: Yeah, and Montana. But an international tour is something that I would, I love playing international shows. We played a couple days in Asia which was so much fun. It’s just so cool to see how fans are halfway across the world.

Y: Something I always say that I think is a big accomplishment as an artist is all my favorite artists have an insane catalog of 5-10 albums. You can go back and listen back-to-back and they’re still gold. They still sound so good. So some day, maybe 7 years in the future, we’ll have 5 albums, 5 or 6 albums out and I can look back and say we really put together this giant work of art. In 7-10 years, that’s gonna be a good moment.

Your fan base is growing rapidly and yet one of your most valuable attributes as rising stars is your transparency and the fact that you guys strive to have an actual relationship with your followers. At this specific moment, do you guys have any closing remarks for your fans?

J: Thank you so much to everyone that supports us and looks at us beyond just the songs and the people that really care about us as people. The people that write us letters, send us messages, make posters for us at shows, know our inside jokes. People that just care about us on a personal level because we just wish we could know all of our fans on a personal level. We feel like we love them, and we feel like they’re our friends when we see them at shows and at meet and greets. Thank you for your endless support.

Y: Yeah, we were up in our hotel room earlier and one of our friends, Tiffany, put together this giant e-booklet of 15 second videos of fans saying happy birthday to Jahan. And I just realized, like, how fucking awesome these kids are that they care so much. I dunno. It’s so cool. It’s cool that they care that much to make my sister feel so special on her birthday. So that was awesome.