Q&A: Keys N’ Krates

LOOKOUT was blessed with the chance to pick the collective brains of Jr. Flo, Matisse, and Tune, better known as live-remixers Keys N' Krates, on their frantic live shows and plans for upcoming releases. Read More ↓

Music is transforming and adapting at a breakneck pace. How do you manage to keep up/focus with the constant evolution of music technology pushing music to new places?

Flo: We are always looking for old and new toys to progress our sound, but I wouldn't say we chase technology for the sake of chasing technology.

You guys have been in the studio with DJ Grandtheft recording your new LP. What can we expect from the upcoming album?

Matisse:  Well, it's really not an album we're working on, but rather a series of releases.  There will be a bunch of singles and eventually and EP, but we're not strong believers in the album format right now.

The development of an online Mixtape culture seems to be a catalyst in eliminating the need for a major record label’s budget. You guys released your Re-Mixing 101 Mixtape a couple months ago; What kind of reaction and response did the drop get? any plans for additional mixtapes dropping before or after the new LP is released?

Tune:  The response from the mixtape was awsome and I believe that was because it sort of gave people a chance to take home what they see us do live on stage.  A lot of critics, media, tastemakers had really great stuff to say about it and we were happy with the amount of downloads it got.  We definitely plan to keep doing those live off the floor mixes to supplement our studio produced music.

Playing with a live band leaves room for more human interaction than just having a DJ playing whole songs from a laptop or turntables. What are some of the difficulties you encounter in the process of navigating the fine line between a sample based approach and a live band feel? When you play a live show, do you leave room for improvisation?

Flo:  I think we are flirting between going for that big sound, that makes people perplexed that we're pulling that it off live, and keeping a live feel to our stuff.  It's definitely a delicate dance.  We balance using a lot of electronic with live drums, synth sounds with organic sounds, and more live grooves with more programmed sounding grooves (which we still do live).  We're trying to get the best of both worlds.

Read Less ↑

Keys N’ Krates

Keys N' Krates are a difficult act to explain.  "Live Remixing," their preferred nomenclature for their style of music, doesn't really do justice in conveying the nature or amplitude of what they're capable of.  The dynamic with Lunice, the upcoming show's other act, will definitely spin off into hysterics - imagine seeing Lunice playing one of his amazing sets, chopping samples and blowing out speakers, and then getting to witness Keys N' Krates come out and drop an equally crushing set backed with live instruments. Insane! Since they're primarily a live band, check out these videos to get a hold on the magnitude of their act.

@superfun x Keys N Krates from @superfun on Vimeo.

Q&A: Keys N Krates

Keys N Krates is a group of  three musicians that have "re-invented the remix". By fusing hip hop, electronic music, turntablism and instrumentation, KNK produces an innovative sound and energy that pumps up any party.  If you were lucky enough to be at House nightclub on Sunday night, you witnessed KNK throw down an insane set of their live remixes, in front of a great crowd. Everyone was really into the music, and even KNK's tour buddies, Love & Electrik, were snapping pics and grooving after their own set. Check out Lookout's quick Q&A with the members of Keys N Krates: DJ Jr. Flo, Matisse and Adam Tune.

Lookout: You’re about to embark on the “Masters of Remix” Canadian Tour. What are you looking forward to the most about touring?

Tune:  Probably getting to hit all of these places in Canada that we've never been before.  Also getting to tour with such a talented cast of people doesn't hurt either.

Lookout: With DJ Jr. Flo on the turntables, Matisse on the keys and Tune on the drums, what do you each bring to the table as musicians?

Read More ↓

Matisse:  I think it just allows us all to bring our own vantage points to the music.

Lookout: You claim to “bridge the gap” between live instrumentation, turntabilism and the technology of electronic music. Is this a first in your opinion? What does this add to the experience and energy of your show?

Flo:  Yah it kind of is.  We use live instruments (tables, keys, drums), in a live analog, but add the dynamics of dance/electronic music through our energy and the use of effects.  When we say "Live Re-Mixing" we literally mean live, because pretty much everything your hearing we are doing right before your eyes.

Lookout: I know you’re all Toronto’s own, but what do you enjoy about the Montreal audience?

Flo: Probably the poutine...

Matisse:  Good energy.

Read Less ↑

Q&A: Barletta

If you haven’t heard about the Red Bull Megahurtz A/V experience that Lookout is putting on in collaboration with Red Bull and Pop Montreal, you must be under a rock (no offence). Barletta and friends (Nosaj Thing, Megasoid, Grahm Zilla, Neighbour, Jelo, Barletta, Hovatron, Lunice and Greenmachine) are gonna make it rain on partygoers on October 1st! Check out our breakdown of the night here, to get a better idea of what you’re getting yourself into. You can certainly get your Barletta fix this weekend, 'cause he’s playing another Pop show on Saturday. We caught up with Hans of Barletta and asked him what to expect for this upcoming Thursday night extravaganza.

Lookout: What makes the Red Bull Megahurtz event different from a typical Barletta show? Can you expand on what's going down in your set, in addition to DJing?

Anna of Pink Mafia: Having a lineup of all dope producers means that Barletta's not going to be the only one doing a full set of his own stuff for once. As a promoter, I'm pretty stoked to hear some new and authentic tracks instead of a bunch of DJs playing everyone else's.

Hans: I will playing a wide variety of music in my set, mostly of which I have produced myself, as well as incorporating live synth work and an array of live percussive instrumentation in my performance.

Lookout: There’s a heap of top of the line electronic music producers playing at Megahurtz. Is there a particular DJ you’re excited to see perform?

Hans: Definitely Jelo, that guy has some sick-ass production style right now, and is surely destined for huge recognition.

Lookout: What are your musical influences right now? What kind of new music can we look forward to?

Hans: I've been into lots of UK Rock and Brit-pop lately. I'm drawing influences from groups like The Stone Roses, The Verve, The Charlatans UK, etc. Incorporating that huge anthemic style of music into my sets, as well as drawing influences from said bands into my own style of production is something I’m really stoked on as of late.

Lookout: How do you suggest partygoers prepare for, and tackle the hectic night ahead of them?

Hans: A lack of sleep, a shit ton of Red Bull, and an open mind.

Read More ↓

Q&A: Love & Electrik

Love & Electrik opened for Keys N Krates Sunday night at House, and boy, did they not disappoint. Roxy wowed the crowd with her soulful vocals, while Kevin amazed the audience with his talkbox skills. From Vancouver, the duo has embarked on their first nationwide Canadian tour, and they couldn't be more excited! (Really, just glance at their Twitter). For more Love & Electrik, stop by their Pop Montreal performance on October 3rd at Just For Laughs. Lookout got the chance to ask Roxy and Kevin of Love & Electrik a few burning questions... Check it out below.

Lookout: Roxy embodies the soulful voice or the “love” and Kevin embodies the synthesizers and vocoders or the “electric”. Explain how the dualism works in Love & Electrik.

Kevin: “You don’t want to hear Kevin sing or hear Roxy’s beats ; ) at least not yet, lol!" There is always a balance we want to achieve with our music and style. We really want to make people dance, but also write songs that people can sing along to. We like to call this balance of Love & Electric “tech sui,” which is the fusion of technology & organic. This best describes our music, band name and style.

Read More ↓

Lookout: You’ve established a solid fan base in Vancouver and now you’re traveling across Canada on the “Masters of Remix” tour, for the first time. What are you  looking forward to most?

Roxy: We’re looking forward to so much, but mostly,  we’re really looking forward to be able to say we’ve toured Canada. We’re excited to play the big cities like Toronto and Montreal, as well as seeing the reaction from smaller cities, as we’ve heard they party twice as hard and are so much fun to play for.

Lookout: Your sound, beats and vocals are very 80's. What attracts you to that influence?

Roxy: The 80's was an era when music was at a turning point, the technology, the way people dressed, the culture, and we feel this spawned some of the best pop music ever made... It was dance music at its best, and musical at the same time. Although we love the music of today, there is a certain magic from those days we can really relate to and even our younger fans recognize that sound through samples and such. It also carries a great balance of making you want to dance but also being presented as complete songs that aren’t too “loopy”. We love our 80's synths too…

Lookout: You’ve hooked up with Chin Injeti, who’s produced with legends like Dr. Dre, as well as up-and-comers like Drake. What was that collaboration like?

Kevin: Working with Chin is intense... He moves very quickly so you gotta really move fast to keep up the pace. So it made us really work fast and not doubt ourselves or dwell on anything for long. Just do it and if it's not what we wanted... Hell, we can write a new song... Overall, Chin not only helps us write music, but along with the Vancouver collective "The Hastings Set,"  are helping us develop ourselves in every way. From performance tips, writing advice, management and everything, so he is very much a blessing to us to know and work with.

Lookout: Your single “Sex Video” is fun, provocative and even includes a little rap verse from Roxy. How did it come about?

Roxy: Kevin came up with the concept. We were thinking of what would be an attention-grabbing topic,  that would catch people's attention and trick people into downloading it, lol.  So we took this concept and hooked up with Chin, and in a small  rehearsal space (Hot Hot Heat's rehearsal space), with just a laptop and small keyboard  we wrote the song in about 1/2 hour, then Kevin took the beat home for a little polishing.  We didn't want it to be too perverted, haha, but rather more fun and innocent. When we released the song on Tremendous Records, so many people really thought it was a sex video...

Read Less ↑