The Electronic-Dance Duo KREWELLA Discuss New Music, Changes in the EDM World, Favorite Artists And More!
Formed in 2007, Krewella is an electronic dance music duo from Northbrook, Illinois. The duo consists of Pakistani-American sisters Jahan Yousaf and Yasmine Yousaf.
Ammunition is the third EP released by the ladies this summer on May 20th via Columbia Records. “Ammunition” was preceded by the release of the single, “Beggars”, on April 28th. It is a six-track extended play, and the duo’s first major release since the departure of former member Kris Trindl. It is also their first major release since their debut album “Get Wet.”
Learn more about Krewella in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that we are entering the fall of 2016, what are some words you would use to describe this year? What have been some of the highlights for the band?
If we could describe our lives lately…I would say non-stop, action-packed, drama-free, and full of love. The highlights have definitely been moments on the Sweatbox Tour where we’ve seen kids crowd surfing all their way to the stage, our krew wearing their custom made Krewella gear and signs at shows, mini mosh pits, and the swarm of sweaty fans flooding the parking lots following the after parties every night.
Growing up, did you both always want to be musicians? Can you recall your earliest musical memories?
Growing up, we had no fucking idea, like most kids. However, we were always exploring the arts, creating, and obsessing over music. ABBA Gold, Bollywood records, and Led Zeppelin was a constant in our household. We were always dancing around to those records in our basement and harmonizing with each other, completely captivated by those Swedish melodies and the sweet sound of sitar. Falling into this career happened somewhat organically as it started as a hobby in our late teens. We decided to commit ourselves to Krewella on June 8th 2010, which is when we dropped out of school and quit our jobs for the project.
What do you think of the EDM world? How do you think it has grown over the years and continues to grow?
I find the culture of dance music to be alluring in the beginning because in our underground days, the smaller shows we played felt like a place that welcomed outsiders and kids with alternative taste in music. To be honest, lately we don’t pay much attention to the scene because we like to focus on the culture we’ve created with our fans, and the lane that we’ve organically fallen in to. We’ve gone beyond DJing and have incorporated live vocals and a live band in our show which sets us apart from the norm of the EDM world, but it’s way more thrilling and fulfilling for us than doing what’s expected. It is cool to see the EDM world more accepting of pop vocalist features and pop writing, which is a step further from the pretentiousness that we noticed a few years ago, as if some people within the scene felt they were too cool to accept pop topline over an EDM track. The slow shift in fans and artists within this genre shows an open mindedness that I just think the world needs.
Let’s talk about your latest EP, “Ammunition.” What was the inspiration for this collection? How do you think your sound has changed on this EP?
The EP is a culmination of everything we were feeling in the couple years leading up to it. Going from 3 to 2 members, we were on a journey towards rediscovering ourselves as artists. The shift in dynamic was difficult and a lot of that struggle is channeled in our songwriting on the EP, but towards the end of the process we really started harnessing our power as a duo and felt confident in moving forward despite the changes. It took realizing that these obstacles are all a part of life and nothing goes perfectly and smoothly as planned.
How has your Sweatbox Tour been going so far? Can you talk about how this tour is about returning to the intimate venues that defined your career?
We’re having more fun than we’ve ever had on tour. It’s super grimy and far from polished, and that has led to some nights where the fans are jumping on the PA, running on stage and crashing into the drum set, the lights blowing out….but instead of seeing all this as something that gets in the way of our show, we find every night’s surprise as part of the adventure! It’s also amazing to be so close to our fans while we’re performing. At bigger venues and festivals, the distance from the stage to the crowd leaves us longing to interact with our fans. The Sweatbox shows feel like a giant family reunion.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you and your music? Who would you still love to work with in the future?
Recently I revisited Netsky who is one of our all time favorite drum and bass artists. Having a moment with his music reminded me of what I love so much about certain dance music: intensity, emotion, energy, and heaviness. I just love music that makes me feel my emotions so deeply. We both think he would be a dream collaboration. We’re also so pleasantly surprised by the comeback of all these punk bands we used to listen to in our teenage years, like Green Day, Blink 182, and Sum 41. Listening to how they’ve evolved and matured as musicians, yet maintained some of their youthful charm, is so inspiring because Yasmine and I are in this for the long haul.
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you unwind from it all?
Since our tour schedule is so grueling, sleepless, and incredibly stimulating, we love to chill when we’re back home. We’re both really into health and fitness, so every day one of us boxing, biking, lifting, hiking, or running our dog. We take advantage of our time back at home to enjoy fresh home cooked meals and see our family. We’re really fortunate to be able to experience the best of both worlds: one that thrives in clubs and festivals, and one that basks in stillness and nature.
What’s it like keeping up with your social media outlets? Do you each take turns posting on it all?
We’ve created a system with our team that helps us post on our main Krewella outlets just so Yasmine and I can focus on being artists and not about social media maintenance. In the past I found myself getting lost online and I make a very strong effort to be as present as possible these days. That balance has made me a happier person in general.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
I just want our music to have an affect on listeners. Whether that affect makes them run faster, get through a breakup, keep them company in traffic, want to party, remember a loved one or lost one.. that means the song had a purpose. To know that our art is useful to someone emotionally or physically brings me so much joy. Sometimes hearing a fan say something as simple as, “I walked down the aisle to the acoustic version of your song,” makes me feel like we were a part of someone’s life indirectly.