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A Sit Down With DJ Krewella

15:46 Nov/21/2017

Krewella is one of the biggest buzzing EDM acts of 2012. Formed in 2007 with two sisters (Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf) and producer Rain Man, their track “Killin It” became a meme of its own, gaining major attention from DJs and music lovers all around the world.

In 2017, Krewella partnered with dance-fitness program Zumba. They made a song called "I Got This" for their new STRONG program, which entails of workouts to high energy music. This has yet to be released, but it was teased on the STRONG Instagram page. On May 17, they played at a Zumba 'fitness concert' where they played a set while instructors and attendees performed a dance workout. Here, they teased a song called "Thrilla", which was also made for Zumba. Following the release of another single on May 31, 2017, a song called "Love Outta Me", they released the first part of their two part EP New World on June 8, 2017. They later announced their New World Tour with a video from Aladdin with Yasmine's face over Jasmine and Jahan's face appearing on random characters throughout.

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How did the 3 of you meet up?

Yasmine and I are sisters and Kris and I met in high school when I was about 16 years old. Kris and I were in the metal scene and we would go to metal shows with our friends all the time, I met him at shows and through partying. Making music was very casual for us and we didn’t really think about a career at the time, when you are that age you are very carefree and it was more of a hobby. Kris would throw a party at his apartment and he would pull me aside and show me the beats he was working on in his room. I was really inspired by it, it was a dream come true to actually know someone back 6 years ago that could make music that you could write to, everything back then felt like industry beats that you would write to. From there on we tried out a couple girls but none of them seemed like the right fit, and at the time Yasmine was in an indie band making completely different music. Maybe it’s a sister thing, but our writing styles really meshed together well and our voices complement each other, we have different styles but at the same time we balance each other out as far as our writing goes, so it really felt like a natural fit.


"When we started, people weren't ready for live vocals at raves, clubs".


Was one of you more into music growing up or were you both equally taken by it?

Well, our family was constantly listening to music. It was always playing in the house. We had this karaoke machine that we would play on; that was pretty fun. We got a guitar and a beginner’s drum set at very early ages, so we were always making music together. It was kind of a family thing, no one was “the shining star,” per se. We all just loved it so much.

Speaking of names, where did the name Krewella come from?

It was actually before Yasmine was even in the group and while we were trying out other girls. I thought of it when we were writing down lyrics, we were thinking of darker, evil, sexy, feminine lyrics and the name popped in my head and I didn’t even question it. I thought it was the perfect name for a group that would have heavy masculine beats and feminine vocals.

Do you think you're part of the "post-EDM" movement?

I love everything that Molly writes, and I think that her insight on the scene is so incredible because she’s been a part of it for so long and she has this insane perspective. So I do agree with what she was saying in it. I love the idea of the scene that was so incredibly hot three years ago. I mean, it’s still really, really hot, but it’s not the new shit anymore. I love the idea that it can keep evolving into a new beast every year and never ever come to a place where it feels stale. I like knowing that we can be a part of that—partly with our live show, partly with the musical elements that we’re bringing into our new songs, which is the ethnic elements and more live elements. I think I personally love that perspective, knowing there’s no end to what’s going on right now. It’s just a continual process.

How do you feel about the feminist movement of late?

It all boils down to equality. You could tear it apart as much as you like, but in the end it just comes down to male fear of females taking something away from them. Everybody deserves the same chance at everything, and once that becomes the norm, we’re going to start seeing people easily accept women in power, across the board. I think it’s definitely coming.

In the past year, you've been touring with a live band. What goes into getting together a guitarist and drummer for your shows?

First thing we had to do was audition a bunch of players. So we probably went through 15 drummers before we found our main drummer, Frank Zummo, who also drums for Sum 41. Once we assembled our team, our guitarist, our drummer, Yasmine and I, we basically play the role of musical director, so we’ll put together the set. We’ll arrange that, have them practice it, then we’ll have a rehearsal date where we’ll all run through and iron out any rocky transitions, mix up the set a little. And we’ll probably have like three rehearsal days before we go out on tour.

Do you feel like our generation is kind of spearheading the change in attitude?

Yeah, I think even just witnessing how much has changed in my lifetime — like I told you, back when I was 10, which is only 10 years ago, the attitudes toward working women were so different. The execution of beauty was so different — famous women were tiny, tanned, blonde, and hot. Like Barbie dolls. And now we’re seeing such a shift in favor of women who don’t fit that convention. So I can’t even imagine what else is coming in the next few decades because social media is growing exponentially with that message and its outreach is changing so much each year.

When you are on stage, what exactly are you all doing?

We DJ together, and when we do a live show Yasmine and I have a back-to-back thing going on where we switch off DJing and Kris does the special effects. With the live show it was cool, because you aren’t confined in the booth so you can finally come out and interact with the crowd. We are really looking forward to do doing that in the future.

If you had to give one piece of advice to upcoming female artists, what would that be?

Progress as if you do not have any hindrances because of your gender but always understand the power in every obstacle you approach because of your femininity. Always respect yourself and the people around you because it is up to strong women to change the way the world sees and treats our gender.


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