Krewella's Jahan Says You'll "Definitely Be Wet By the End" of Their New Album
Jahan's the one one in the hipster-nerd glasses.
There is no effing way you haven't heard of Krewella by now. Maybe you were ignorant this time last year, but not now. Their song "Alive" is inescapable, and even in February, they had the doors of Club Cinema on lockdown as literal hoards of hopeful ravers stood around chanting to get wet.
Six months ago, we spoke with Yasmine Yousaf, but this time around, we caught up with her sister Jahan to get the skinny on their new album Get Wet, which they just wrapped up, their sick stage production, the Volcano, debuting in September, the new joints they'll be dropping at Revolution Live, and why they're sick of hearing "Alive" already.
New Times: You guys were gaining a lot of steam when I talked to your sister a few months back, and since you came out with "Killin It" you've been gaining in popularity, but it seems right now it's reached a new level of insanity. I hear "Alive" everywhere, from DJ sets to car stereos to shopping malls.
Jahan: The crazy part is we actually haven't had a release since December of 2012. Everything that's been happening since then has just been our network of fans growing and spreading the word on their own, without us really pushing any more content or media. We came out with an "Alive" music video, but that was it. It's really cool to see this is all in the hands of our own fans, whatever growth has happened. Then obviously, the support from radio DJs which has given us so much exposure.
How does it feel to be walking around somewhere and hear your own song come on?
Oh, God, it's so funny. I was at dinner with Chris, Rainman, the other member of our group, we were at dinner yesterday with our tour manager. We were in Canada, so there was a bunch of radio records we haven't heard before sprinkled in with a couple American records and then all of a sudden "Alive" comes on and we had to get up.
Chris just gets so annoyed when he hears it now, it's so weird. He got so frustrated he was like, "guys, this is our cue to go, whenever you hear 'Alive' in a restaurant." It was in such a random area of Edmonton, Canada, we never expected it to play there. It's cool. We've only heard it on the radio a couple times ourselves. Most of the time, whatever play it's getting, we hear about it from fans or our friends texting us and telling us about how they heard it on the radio or at a sports game.
I could believe this hype is coming from fan generated interest. At the last show at Club Cinema, it was really crazy. I went to cover it, and so many people showed up at the door they had to stop them from letting anyone else in or out. People were outside chanting. It was insane.
That's so cool, I love to hear that. That was such a crazy show. We heard a lot of weird stories afterward, too. Florida is always one of those states, I've noticed, whenever we play there, out of all the states in the U.S., no matter where we go in Florida, kids go crazy. They get down to every type of music. We haven't been partying that much because we've been recording our album. Yasmine and I have been very healthy on the road, but Florida is one of those places where I can't resist temptation for some reason.
What do you think it is that makes your fans so loyal?
I think part of the loyalty comes from not only this love for our music or songs, but we have a theory with our group, we have a story behind us, we have personalities. We're not just a DJ. We provide more than just songs; we're performers. On our Fall tour, we're doing a hybrid live-DJ show. We're not just behind the booth, we're actually going to come up from behind the booth and perform. We touch all different senses. It's not just music; it's visual, it's the content, the media, personality, I think it's that same feeling people get when they like a band, like an actual rock band or pop punk band.
There's a lot of rock influence that shines through in your performance.
It's funny that you say that, it kind of just started happening. Our roots are in rock and metal. Yasmine and I grew up on pop punk and indie rock and metal; System of a Down, Bloc Party, Fall Out Boy. And Chris is a metal guy. When I met him, he was the lead guitarist in a metal band, and that really shows in his production, too. New Krewella will involve him playing guitar, too. So you'll see that in the future.
Yasmine said you guys were working on a whole new live stage, trying to amp up what you do. How is that coming along?
We still haven't seen the first version of our custom stage production, but we've seen it on paper. We're going to have custom stage production which we're calling the Volcano. It's this crystalized structure, which is a DJ booth, and Yasmine and I will be doing live vocals. It's going to be our own headlining tour in September for seventy days, which is a bus tour.
Tell me more about the record. What's inspiring you as you go into the studio?
We actually just finished the record, and I'm as soon as we get off the call, I'm about to go work and listen to our album for the first time in order. That's the next step, just trying to figure out the order of songs. It's very exciting for us.
We finally have a full-length album we put together. We've been working on it for more than a year now. We've been touring on and off for years, so whenever we were off from touring, maybe three days we'd go back to L.A. and hop in the studio. Yasmine and I are just really inspired by people we've met, experiences. We've been collaborating with other songwriters, we've learned a lot from developing our craft and writing.
You'll notice a difference from Play Hard, the EP we put out last year. And then as far as sounds goes, Chris' production has just gotten so much more advanced, too. It's hard. You're going to have dubstep, drum 'n' bass, but then we're going to have the progressive house, melodic, emotional songs, too. We have a song for every emotion, every mood.
How many tracks are on it? Do you have a title?
Twelve tracks, and the title is Get Wet.
Sticking with the theme.
Exactly. We're thinking about keeping it consistent with the tour and as you see, at the end of our shows, we're soaked. The album goes pretty hard, too, so you'll definitely be wet by the end of the album if you're working out to it or partying, whatever you might be doing, banging.
Is there any song in particular that you had a lot of fun working on or that you're most looking forward to seeing a response from?
There are three of them that I love. One of them is "We Go Down." We've been playing that at shows now for about four months actually, just a demo version. The hook is "if we go down, we all go down together," and I've always loved the concept of that. I feel like we're very one with our fans and we're there for our fans, if anything happens -- or even between the three of us. If Chris gets held up in Canada for not having the proper paperwork, he was so paranoid about that this weekend like "guys, what if I go to jail," and Yasmine and I were like, "we'll stick with you." It's a constant theme that we always talk about. And it has a d'n'b drop which we love and these reggae sounding versus.
"Enjoy the Ride" is one of our favorites, too. It's a great follow up record for "Alive." It'll probably be our third or fourth single actually. It's another progressive house song. It has a really emotional feel, same kind of feel as "Alive." We crafted our own lyrics for this one.
And then we have one called "Dancing with the Devil" which is featuring Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy, Travis Barker from Blink-182, and this track is actually a couple years old. We wrote it a while ago, and it's probably been through several different beats since then. It's one of those tracks Chris especially has slaved over, as far as the production goes.
I always find it interesting when a group has been working on a song for so long. When it comes out, everyone's looking at it like this new material, but it's been through so many different phases.
I think that's why what I was saying about how Chris kind of gets annoyed when he hear "Alive" now, because it's so old for us. We wrote it on New Year's Eve 2011. We feel like our writing and production has gotten so much better. It's like, as an artist, you don't want to hear anything that old.
Our next single "Live for the Night," Yasmine and I wrote that before we wrote "Alive." That's another one that's old to us, but what makes it feel new is the production. The production is very fresh. I'd say it's about two months old. That's another song that went through about five different phases.
I hope you're happy with the final version.
We were so worried during this whole process that our songs weren't good enough, but I'm looking at it now, and I'm feeling very proud and confident in this album.
Congrats, it sounds like a lot of hard work. Are you going to play a lot of these new tracks when you come here?
Oh, yeah. Our set has become predominantly unreleased material. But it's so weird because our fans -- we were talking about this earlier, this loyalty our fans have and this cult following that we've developed -- and people just do their own research and troll the internet and find these YouTube videos that people filmed at shows. Someone could be in New York, and they'll see a clip of a show from L.A., and they'll just know this song and know the lyrics from watching the cell phone video clip. It's crazy seeing people at our shows knowing the lyrics for these songs that are unreleased. And they make up their own titles for them, too.
You guys should have a fan song title contest or something.
I know. I figured if fans or a lot of people title songs on their own, I feel like if fans call it that, then that's what it should be.
Is there anything else you want to say or mention?
Well, besides the album, there are a few collaborations we have coming out; "Save My Life" with Nicky Romero, "United Kids of the World" with Headhunterz, "Lights and Thunder" with Gareth Emery. This summer is filled with singles that we're coming out with from the album.
We'll be releasing three tracks on our own. More tour dates with festivals coming up like Bells in Canada, Electic Zoo in New York, and then the collaborations. And I always get so excited playing in Florida, like I said. Florida rages so hard, and I will probably be getting crazy myself.
Krewella with Excision at 9 p.m., Friday, July 5, at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Visit jointherevolution.net.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.