Kraak & Smaak Talk Albums, Live Sets & Boogie Angst In The Dojo [TMN Interview]

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The Netherlands is a hub for talent, especially if you were focusing on electronic music. Most people will immediately think of Hardwell, Afrojack, and Martin Garrix, but there are three men who have been trailblazing dance music in a big way for over 10 years now. They are Kraak & Smaak.

Kraak & Smaak is comprised of Oscar de Jong, Mark Kneppers and Wim Plug. Together they produce riveting dance music that is anything but average. In fact, even if you don’t call yourself a lover of electronic music, leave it to these guys to take your heart. They are more than dance music producers. They are artistic visionaries. Don’t believe us? Run through the five albums they have done together, including their latest, Juicy Fruit, and tell us otherwise.

Furthermore, they’ve got a live show that will blow any DJ set out of the water (even their own), and they run the exemplary imprint Boogie Angst. A lot of artists talk about paving new trails and creating new experiences, but Kraak & Smaak walk the walk. They’ve done it for years. Now, they’ve entered the dojo to talk a bit about their past together, as well as their latest album and what is in store.

TMN: Can you tell us a little about “Juicy Fruit,” your latest album?

Well, it’s our 5th and feels like a bit of a return from 2005’s Boogie Angst. It’s open, organic, warm and above all funky in the traditional sense of the word, so in that sense different from Chrome Waves, which was far more electronic and clubby. There is a big difference though between then and now: on our first album it was mostly sample based, including the vocals and songs that were on there. Since then we have mastered the art of using more and more live instrumentation and getting vocalists to work with us. I think we can be proud of ourselves again to have found such great songwriters and vocalists such as Eric Biddines, Cleopold, Meeka Kates, Mayer Hawthorne, ALXNDR London and Parcels, but also our own live band singers Ivar Vermeulen and Berenice van Leer.

TMN: How did you go about choosing remixers for next the single ‘Alone With You’?

We always start out with a longlist of ideas based on current favorites and a bunch of names that have been circulating for a longer time. From thereon we look if certain remixers could be a good match and pick out the best ones. Then we ask them and just hope a) they don’t hate our music b) they are available and c) they don’t cost too much 🙂

TMN: What inspired the artwork behind the LP?

With the album title Juicy Fruit became definitive, our first ideas were inspired by the paintings of Henry Rousseau and more in general Brazilian album artwork. I mean, with that title and the music it was only logical to have something colorful, fresh, organic, etc as the cover. Again we asked Jimmy Turrell, who also did the Electric Hustle album artwork, to come up with a few ideas. And among those, the final one immediately stood out: this big explosion of colorful objects, bulls eye!

TMN: Talk us through the live aspect of Kraak & Smaak and how it has evolved over the years?

Of course we started out Djing – which we already did for a longer time, but now under the K&S banner. But when the first album was up for release our then agent convinced us to start a separate live act because it made the music – which was essentially dancefloor based – more interesting to a bigger public. So we assembled a live band for the album presentation and it was an immediate hit: at the time there were only a few bands that performed that type of music in a similar manner, and certainly not in the Netherlands. So from thereon it really got bigger and bigger and alongside our dj sets we were able to develop the band further in terms of adding further live instrumentation, sound, lighting, etc. Our current band is more or less the third live incarnation of K&S but for us also the best ever. Above all it’s cool and logical for us to be able to both live shows and dj sets. It’s a best of both worlds but at the same time they are both quality.

TMN: You’ve been together for over a decade, how have you made it work between the three of you, and how have you maintained staying relevant?

I guess – especially with three people – it’s all about giving each other space and trust each other in ideas, expertise, etc. Ego for example has never been such an issue that it threatened the K&S project. I guess we were – and still are – very aware of what we have and are still accomplishing. Not many dance acts can say the same. And I think the relevancy is still there in the sense that we are still coming up with new and original material, against the grain of time perhaps.

You’ve survived several albums together, which is each of your favorite?

Oh dear… They’re all really good to us, just different! But If we all really look in the mirror I am sure we will all say the first one, Boogie Angst. Above all because it was our first, and with first albums it feels like it’s sort of the apex of everything you have done and thought of before. It’s the album you just had to make. After that it’s a whole different ball game – you just feel happy if you can develop your sound further and keep people interested – which I think we did.

TMN: You now also have your own label, Boogie Angst. What drove the decision to set this up and what has been the biggest challenge in creating a label?

We just came across some very good unreleased music and artists once in a while, and we thought: why not try and releasing it ourselves? It perfectly made sense when you came to think of it. And it’s definitely nice to put your own experiences and know how into new and young artists, real cool. Plus there is definitely still a need for labels to get new artists and music through. For most releases putting it just on Soundcloud and sit back is not enough. An important challenge for the time being though, is that it takes a lot of investing before you get a return. In that sense, as we are a relatively new label, we still have a long way to go.

TMN: What can fans expect for the rest of the year, and beginning of 2017?

Of course we will be rolling out the new album and its singles further this year and into 2017. Lots of DJing and playing live across the globe. Some upcoming remixes and DJ mixes going online. Also keep an eye out for new releases on our own Boogie Angst label and a remix album further down the 2017 road!

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[Future Bass] .MOONZz. – Goodbye (Melvv Remix)

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’Melvv & MOONZz – Goodbye’

Frequently, artists release polished works of art to minimal fanfare or perhaps a brief smattering of praise. Occasionally, those same overlooked artists are fortunate enough to inspire producers to build on their original pieces, thus propelling them to a wider audience and greater acclaim.  The latter scenario may very well be the case in the coming weeks regarding Moonzz.

Electronic songstress Molly Williams a.k.a. .MOONZz. – who gained a fair amount of notoriety for her rendition of Kanye West’s “Wolves” in tandem with KRNE – released her debut EP last week.

’MOONZz – Wolves Remake’

While Trust Cycles has yet to made its rounds through the blogosphere, the first hit remix surfaced this week to make a cycle of its own. Whereas the original is an enchanting soundscape, Jeffrey Melvin’s remix follows a grittier electronic melody, heavy on vocal loops, electronic bass, and a signature abstract effect found in other popular tracks like Ganz’ remix of “Man x Woman”.

While Williams’ fanbase will be finding delight in Trust Cycles – which is available on Spotify and Apple Music – fans of Melvv can catch the young producer as he churns out bass-heavy remixes all summer.

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[Event Preview] Symbiosis Gathering – Sept 22 – 25

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There are types of festivals that help me get out of bed in the morning. They serve as anchors and living reminders of the parts of life that make us essentially human in an increasingly chaotic world. These high vibrational events are happening as a form of communion with the gods of dance, music, ceremony, native culture, and natural elements all around us. With the embers of this year’s Burning Man still glowing in people’s hearts, a younger more focused transformational gathering is right around the corner. Coming off if it’s first ever sold out festival Symbiosis Gathering returns to California’s Woodward Reservoir September 22-25 for its 2016 event ‘Family Tree’.

The theme this year says it all. A true combination of everything positive this world has to offer, centered around the tree that makes up all of life. The microcosm that blends all the energy on the planet is gathered here to be experienced for a few days. Wether it be spent on an Art Boat at the Swimbiosis Stage, or watching Amy Goodman speak while eating an Acai Bowl; there is no time wasted when everything is an experience waiting to be fulfilled.

Symbiosis really is on par with the top festivals in the world.. and they know it. With their artistry, timing, and setting they are able to create one of a kind moments. With morning ceremonies and sunset sets over a pristine landscape that satisfy every urge a human can possible conceive, it makes sense why they pride themselves on this unique ability. Hundreds of talks and workshops that touch on permaculture action, yoga and arts. Centered around its Hub space on-site, immersive programming ranged from cacao tasting to sacred leadership, hosted by cultural luminaries and academics from around the globe.

Oh and the music! Offering 6 individually crafted music stages nestled into a naturally occurring 5-pointed peninsula surrounded on all sides by the pristine swimmable water of the Reservoir, there is no better place to step out of the Matrix. RL Grime and Gramatik will be on the top of my list. Along with San Fransisco’s most sought after Dj An-ten-nae, who had a love set at the Swimbiosis stage at sunset last year that elevated the dance floor to another dimension. Unless I want to seduce a goddess listening to Hundred Waters or rock out to Santigold, I will be following the bass-heavy dance music at night like a mosquito to a porch light. It doesn’t stop there the Symbiosis’s all star family also includes Beats Antique, Claude Vonstroke, WarPaint, FKA Twigs, Justin Martin, Shiba San, Gaslamp Killer, Oh Wonder, and many more.

Make sure to Secure your ticket here. If you can’t make Symbiosis, this year don’t stress. This festivals serves as a precursor for what may be the burgeoning brand’s most important event to date: Symbiosis Gathering Oregon Eclipse 2017. On August 21st, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible over a small strip of land in the United States. Having secured a beautiful site situated in the direct path of the eclipse, Symbiosis will partner with revered international festival organizers to co-create an event unlike any in the world.

’Ta ku & Wafia – Meet In The Middle (Ekali Remix)’
’Cruel (Ta
ku Remix)’
’Gramatik – Anima Mundi Feat. Russ Liquid’
’FKJ – Lying Together’
’Lianne La Havas – Unstoppable (FKJ Remix)’
’The Gaslamp Killer – Nissim (with Amir Yaghmai)’
’Beats Antique – Beauty Beats’
’An
Ten
’Seth Troxler – Junkyard Tool’
’Lee Foss – The Gift’
’Justin Martin & Ardalan Ft. PartyPatty
FUNCTION VIP’
’Justin Martin
Don’t Go (Vip)’
’Claude VonStroke – The Rain Break’
’Claude VonStroke & Jesse Rose ‘Bare Mountain”
’Kaskade & Cid – Us (Ardalan Remix)’
’Shiba San – I Like Your Booty (Original Mix)’
’Nicole Moudaber & Skin – These Walls are Made of Water (Pan
Pot Remix)’
’Curses – Trouble Feat. SYF(Shiba San Remix)’
’Kanye West – Mercy (RL Grime & Salva Remix)’
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[Electronic] DROELOE – Shibuya

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DROELOE
Shibuya

The Music Ninja first caught wind of DROELOE with the release of the duo’s mesmerizing single, “zZz.” Shortly after, we came to learn they were part of none other than San Holo’s label, bitbird, when he showcased their talents in his label’s first ever EP release “Gouldian Finch.”

With the Dutch artists indefinitely on our radars, we made sure to catch their latest tune “Shibuya.” DROELOE takes listeners into Tokyo through a piece that blends the forward thinking of electronic music with the classic sound of Asian instrumentals. Designing the track with layers of narrow plucking synths and imitations of string instrumentals, they create a product that not only resembles the title’s Japanese origin, but presents the authenticity of their work.

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[Music Video] Revoke – Don’t Leave the Light On (feat. Tom Cantillon)

revoke

When an artist branches out, it’s a great thing. Some fans don’t like it, but even if they don’t make something exceptional, we can at least appreciate their desire for growth and creative adventure. Luckily, when Revoke chilled things out with his new single “Don’t Leave the Light On,” he created yet another amazing record that we love. Not only that, but we get a music video for it!

“Don’t Leave the Light On” is a total diversion for Revoke. It’s more of an indie record than a dance one, which is totally fine by us. Tom Cantillon did an incredible job with his vocal performance, pushing this one over the top. The music video is a straightforward juxtaposition of imagery between a relationship at different stages. We see innocent kids together playing, as well as their adult counterparts. Enjoy the video today, and head over to iTunes for a copy of the single.

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[Secret Ninja Pass] This Week at Beta 9/15 – 9/18

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Fall weather is right around the corner, which means it’s go time. You only have a few, fleeting weeks left of summer, before the leaves and subsequent snow starts falling. With that in mind, we strongly encourage you to get out of the house this weekend and head down to Beta Nightclub to check out another stacked weekend of beats.

Per usual, we’re making it incredibly easy for you to get off your couch and head down. Why’s that? Because we’re hooking you up with free entry.

Here’s how:
– Head to the front door and enter the club before 11pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Get there before 5:00p on Sunday.
– Show this post to the cashier (Valid for 21+ only).
– The deal is valid for FRIDAY, SATURDAY, AND SUNDAY this week.

Destructo - 9/15
’Destructo & Wax Motif – Beatdown ft. Vanilla ACE’
Ookay - 9/16
’Ookay – Egg Drop Soup’
DJ Dan + Donald Glaude - 9/17
’Scotty Boy Feat. AMiiRAH – Hey Mr. DJ (DJ Dan Remix)’
’Donald Glaude Robert Ortiz Get Yo Hands Up’
James Zabiela - 9/18
’Pedram – Cloned (James Zabiela Tempo Refix)’
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Destructo & Wax Motif – Catching Plays (Will Clarke’s Cuddle Club Remix) [TMN PREMIERE]

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Destructo kicks off his two-month Renegade Tour this week at our hometown purveyor of legendary evenings–Beta Nightclub. Before we head out tomorrow night, we have an exclusive sneak peek at an absolutely devastating, hard-as-hell, deep house remix of “Catching Plays.”

This official take comes via Bristol-based Will Clarke and it already has me reminiscing about my younger years, which often times were spent at any number of after hour venues. Utilizing the near horror-movie melody from the original, Clarke twists his interpretation up with a heavy, fuzzy bassline, modal harmonies, synthetic sonority, and effected shuffled hi-hats. Gone are the vocals from Pusha T and Starrah, but in a way that’s very appropriate for the style, and one that will probably find its way into a plethora of Halloween sets in a month and a half’s time.

If you want to catch Will Clarke live, we recommend heading over to his Facebook page to see where he’s at next. If you want to catch Destructo (and some choice friends) live, look no further. We have you covered, just below the YouTube player.

Renegade Tour Dates

9/15 Denver, CO @ Beta (w/iLoveMakonnen, Ganz, Dateless)
9/16 Dallas, TX @ Stereo Live (w/iLoveMakonnen, Ganz, Sita Abellan)
9/17 Houston, TX @ Stereo Live (w/AC Slater, Ganz, Sita Abellan)
9/22 Vancouver, BC @ Celebrities (w/iLoveMakonnen, Ganz, Sita Abellan)
9/23 Seattle, WA @ Showbox Theatre (w/iLoveMakonnen, Ganz, Sita Abellan)
9/24 Portland, OR @ Roseland Ballroom (w/iLoveMakonnen, Ganz, Sita Abellan)
9/29 San Marcos, TX @ The Marc (w/iLoveMakonnen, Hotel Garuda, Dateless)
9/30 Bernalillo, NM @ The Stage @ The Star (w/iLoveMakonnen, Hotel Garuda, Dateless)
10/1 Phoenix, AZ @ Monarch Theatre (w/AC Slater, Hotel Garuda, Dateless)
10/7 New Orleans, LA @ Republic (w/iLoveMakonnen, Drezo, Sita Abellan)
10/8 Tampa, FL @ The Ritz Ybor (w/iLoveMakonnen, Drezo, Sita Abellan)
10/13 San Francisco, CA @ 1015 Folsom (w/D.R.A.M., Vindata, Sita Abellan)
10/14 Los Angeles, CA @ Avalon (w/E-40, Vindata, Sita Abellan)
10/15/ Santa Ana, CA @ Observatory (w/E-40, Vindata, Sita Abellan)
10/29 Toronto, ON @ The Hoxton (w/Felix Da Housecat, Josh Pan, Sita Abellan)
11/10 Philadelphia, PA @ District 9 (w/Felix Da Housecat, Drezo, Sita Abellan)
11/11 Atlanta, GA @ Opera Nightclub (w/ Felix Da Housecat, Drezo, and Sita Abellan)
11/12 New York, NY @ Webster Hall (w/E-40, Drezo, Sita Abellan)

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