“People Still Don’t Think We Can DJ”: Krewella
“A man or woman behind the decks shouldn’t affect the way you dance or the way you perceive the set.”
It hasn't taken long for Krewella to dominate festivals and solo shows all over the world. The head banging, sweaty loud trio from Chicago consists of sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf with longtime pal, Kris "Rain Man" Trindl. THUMP was lucky enough to snag Yasmine in between touring and headlining festivals.
THUMP: So you guys just got back from playing the main stage at Ultra and then at Coachella, how does all of that feel?
Yasmine: It feels like it's not quite over yet! We still have one more weekend of Coachella. Everything has been pretty crazy going from playing a side stage at Ultra last year, to playing main stage this year. It almost felt like an "Ultra graduation" for us. Also, it's our first Coachella and it's one of the most renowned festivals in the world. So, it's really cool to end up playing these shows you always dream of as a kid. I've been watching Ultra for years and always wanted to go. I was an indie kid since I was ten, so you know, I always wanted to go to Coachella too so it's been really, really cool.
You've been releasing a ton of remixes to your songs, so I have to ask—what does it feel like having one of your songs remixed by Armin van Buuren?
It was so awesome because we've look up to him for years. Finally getting to meet him about a year ago was really cool. He actually presented our IDMA award to us and that was the first time we met him. Then we kept in contact because we always knew we wanted to do something together and it ended up being a remix at first and hopefully it'll turn into some songs in the future. We're completely honored because he's truly a legend in his genre.
So would you say that you're a trance fan then?
I love trance. It's not my favorite subgenre of dance music, that would probably be drum and bass, but trance is pretty high up there. It's one of the most mind-blowing subgenres because you can totally lose control and get lost in it. You're not fist bumping the whole time. Trance totally touches your emotions probably more than any of the subgenres.
When you guys were picking your sound, what thoughts went into that and are you confident about that choice now?
It's so funny because I would have to say no real planning went into it. I mean, obviously we thought about what we wanted to do, but it wasn't so specific like, "Hey, we should make this kind of music." It kind of just morphed into what it was and to be honest, we never really pictured ourselves being part of the whole EDM movement. We weren't the ones who dubbed ourselves as apart of it. It was more the blogs. They placed us in a certain genre. So, we've never actually really tried to make a certain kind of music and we just wanted to let it flow and allow us to evolve as artists, whichever way that may take us.
Your tour is called Get Wet. I can only imagine what that means but how about you tell me?
You know what, that's the name of our album too and we named our tour that because it means a couple of things. It means three main things: First is the obvious sexual connotation. The second reason would be the physical reason. If you go to our shows, you know we're sweating by the end and we're soaked in sweat. We just leave it all on the stage. A lot of the time you see DJs or people going to shows who are really tame, just wanting to have a good night without really going hard. That's fine, but if you come to our show, we literally go to the nines on it and we don't want to leave anything behind. We put our hearts on the stage and we don't care if we get really disgusting and sweaty in the process.
The third reason is something that came about over time, something that we realized was so important, and that's our music making process and our live show process. It's letting go of your inhibitions. So, the last part of "Get Wet," to me, is kind of this jumping in, getting wet and not caring about what people will think, shutting out any sort of ego and just letting go.
Are there any challenges being two female DJs in a trio in a mostly male dominated profession?
In the beginning it was a bit difficult and even to this day, we have to do some shows without Kris and people will walk up to me and Jahan and say, "How are you guys going to do the show without a DJ?" They don't realize that we can DJ. It's kind of baffling at this point because you've seen us behind the decks for three years now and people still don't think we can DJ.
But that's beside the point. I think at this point it's totally a level playing field. If you don't think it's a level playing field, you're putting yourself up for failure and giving yourself a handicap and a crutch in the beginning. I want to see no gender barriers in any genre of music. A man or woman behind the decks shouldn't affect the way you dance or the way you perceive the set. It shouldn't be about gender.
You say people ask about Kris when he's not around but I want to know, can he sing?
It's funny. In our early days about seven years ago he used to try because we thought it would be really cool if the three of us could sing and do everything. But, alas, this is not one of his strongest talents. So, no. I don't think he will ever be a singer again.
How many black tank tops would you say you guys own between the three of you?
Pretty much as many shirts as I own. If you open my closet, everything is black. I don't think I own anything else. Even my own father and mother are like, "Why do you only wear black!?" Honestly, it's totally out of convenience because if I'm packing for tour or in a rush to get to the studio, I do not want to spend 20 minutes picking out my outfit and making sure shit matches. I just want to throw on a shirt and pair of pants and if they're both black, I know they match. So, the answer to your question is 100 percent of all my shirts and I don't know how many shirts that is.
I read in an interview that you never wear jeans. So, is it just leggings all the way?
I think what you probably read was, "I never wear jeans during a performance." I think I have like, one pair. I just don't like being constricted and jeans are very constricting for me. Leggings I can just jump around and be free in.
In a lot of your shows you crowd surf a lot. What's the weirdest thing that's ever happened during a crowd surfing sesh?
Nothing too weird has happened. Actually, something amazing happened in South America. We were in Buenos Aires playing a Lollapalooza in South America and I crowd surfed in one of the best shows I could have ever hoped for, in a country we'd never been to. They pulled me back into the crowd and then close to them in a circle pit and just danced around me in a circle. It was amazing and one of the most beautiful experiences ever. They were just holding me up and dancing with me.
But, being a girl and crowd surfing does get a little weird. I've always hoped people would be respectful and not get creepy and grope, but it happens once in a while. I really, really hate it and I'm all about love and peace. I try to be a really good person, but that will tick me off to no end. Most of the time I don't have to deal with that though.
If you could go back to back with any female DJ who would it be?
Annie Mac. She's such a badass. Man, I've seen her spin once and I wish I could more but I never seem to be in the right place at the right time. She can work a crowd probably better than 95 percent of the male DJs out there. Again, gender doesn't matter but if we're comparing here: she's a badass.
What about a male DJ? Say, you had to replace Kris?
I've actually gone back to back with my boyfriend before and it was so much fun. I'd probably choose him because we have a very similar style of DJing and we both just play whatever we like without being stuck in one genre. He's half of Adventure Club.