The ladies of Krewella extol the virtues of seeing a sea of dudes singing along to female vocals
Hearing a song on the radio for the first time is always exciting. Hearing your own song on the radio for the first time is even cooler. When Krewella came to Denver earlier this summer for Global Dance Festival, we got to witness this monumental moment for the act, as well as see them experience Red Rocks (where the outfit will return tomorrow night to warm up for Savoy) for the first time. The Chicago-based trio, which is made up of sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf and producer Rainman (aka Kris Trindl), took some time between their three sets that day, which included a stop at Beatport, followed by a set at Global and then a final spin at Beta, to chat with us about dropping out of high school, how it feels to be "Killin' It" and how awesome it is to see dudes singing along to female vocals.
Westword: How did the three of you get involved in music?
Yasmin Yousaf: I was fourteen when we started writing music, or maybe fifteen.
Kris Trindl: [Jahan] went to college and was a communications major, and I was a sound major. I've been playing music, mainly guitar, since I was fourteen. I was playing a lot of metal music, and then moved into the electronic music. I used to use this software where we could record riffs or drum lines, then we could send them to each other, since we all didn't live together. So we could practice before and play together the following Friday or something. I started using better software, mainly Fruity Loops and Reason, and now Ableton.
Jahan Yousaf: I grew up on metal, indie pop, dance, old school. Our age group just has access to so much different music. I also think whatever happens naturally is the direction we will go in. I would really like to incorporate electric guitar chops into our songs, just something real hard.
Did you start off with local shows?
KT: In the Chicago underground scene...it's nothing like Global Dance Festival. You can't fuck with thousands of people.
Do they have electronic radio in Chicago?
JY: Yea, we have Dance Factory, but we really don't listen to the radio all that much. We had never heard our songs on the radio.
What's it like traveling around seeing your fan base?
JY: Dude! You have no clue! You just show up and wait and see what it's like. The best part is showing up and just raging.
How does it work to come into Beatport to play a set?
KT: We just released our album on Beatport exclusively, and it went number one! It was totally awesome. We were like, "Let's put it out on Beatport." And they wanted to do it exclusively rather than letting iTunes pick it up as well.
At a Beatport set, how do you decide what you are going to do?
JY: Since we are playing our own material, we just have pairs of songs that work, and then we go into some drum and bass. For any show, we have an idea of what we want to play, or the vibe we want to start off with, and then we will just base it off the audience energy.
YY: Everyone says Red Rocks is the capital rage central of the country, and I want to see that.
KT: And when the crowd goes hard, it makes the whole thing that much better.
What do you think about keeping the momentum going during the show, especially with songs like "Killin It," which has gotten a lot of radio play?
JY: What's really cool about "Killin It" is that there are very few drum and bass songs that feature female vocals. And it's awesome to see a bunch of dudes just singing along to the song. We never expected people, or mainly just guys, to sing along to our songs. To me, that makes me feel really good when guys dig your music as a female vocalist.
Did you know it was going to blow up?
KT: It was in January, and we had it marinating for a little bit, and I was like, 'We aren't going to put this out. This shit sucks."
JY: He hated it
KT: I didn't know we had a song that people would like. The best thing is when you're leaving a show and people are just yelling at us, "Killing it!"