Krewella's Yasmine Yousef on Their Stylish and Sexy-Sounding EDM
The members of Krewella (from left): Rainman, Yasmine Yousef, and Jahan Yousef.
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In the comments section on the YouTube video for Krewella's dubstep-heavy track "Killin' It," one clever wiseacre describes the Chicago-born electro-pop act as "2 Girls, One Drop." It's an unseemly bon mot, recalling one of the Interweb's most infamously vile viral videos, it's also a bit inaccurate.
Upon first listening, some might mistake Krewella - which feature vocalist sisters Yasmine and Jahan Yousef -- as a female pop duo. In reality, it's a trio that also stars beat-maker and producer Rainman.
And while Yasmine chuckled at the YouTube comment when we mentioned it during a recent telephone interview with the Krewella member, she gets perturbed at "yet another example" of someone forsaking the all-important third member of their trio.
"It seems like its just two girls in this group and completely forget Rainman who makes most of the beats," she says. "I hate it when people completely neglect him, he pulls us together. Plus, we all make the beats together. He helps with the lyrics and melodies and we help with the beat. It's always been a collaborative thing."
Krewella's music is also a manic and sexy thing as well, as the videos and lyrics for such songs as "Feel Me" and "Killin' It" contain suggestiveness set against raw and chaotic electro/dubstep hooks. Yasmine discussed such things with Up on the Sun during our chat, as well as their remixing Skrillex and Knife Party, and the craziness that they hope their track will bring about during Krewella's gig at Wild Knight in Scottsdale
So does Krewella fit into a particular genre? We like to say that we make whatever we like to make. We've dabbed in everything from moombahton to drum 'n' bass. We've even got a 174 BPM track now, which is something we never expected that we'd do, that's maybe going to be out in the next few months. We really have kinda evolved, because in the beginning we were really pigeonholed into dubstep and we kinda wanted to break those barriers and be able to do whatever we wanted. And not be held back by any sort of label. And I hope we've been able to do it well.
We're really trying to infuse dubstep elements into pretty much every song we make, minus maybe like our prog-house song alive. So besides that, there's womps in every other song we've got. We're fusing all sort of stuff together.
Krewella started as just a duo with Rainman and Jahan, correct? I've read that they met after she fell down some stairs. They've been friends for over six years and met at a high school party. That whole story has traveled around quite a bit. She fell down the stairs and they met cute through that quirky little experience. They've been friends ever since and they started to do music almost an after-school hobby type thing, just the two of them. And Chris would pump out beats and Jahan would star singing random melodies over it. And they would record in the basement of his apartment in Chicago at the time.
How did you get involved? Randomly one day they were recording, and they were trying to find a third member, cause they wanted to make a group. And so they asked me to participate. I was only 14 and I was super fan-girling at the time because I was in love with the music they were making at the time. "You guys want me to sing with you?" It was the coolest thing at the time 'cause I really looked up to my sister. It kind of fell together naturally like that and we've been making music ever since.
There's a certain unhinged energy to Krewella's music and videos that's overly manic. That's a completely awesome description, overly manic. What we've always wanted to do with our music is to evoke this craziness in people and make them go nuts. And the best way we know how to that is by making the craziest music we can think of, using sounds and lyrics that are really evocative of a certain energy and emotion paired with crazy beats.
Do all three of you collaborate on remixes? We've only done two remixes, Skrillex's "Breathe" and Knife Party's "Fire Hive." They both were almost different processes. With "Fire Hive," I started to write a hook over the actual song and I was thinking we could maybe jerk down the acapella and use it as something else, but Chris was like, "This sounds too perfect over this beat." And we all dig Knife Party so much, so we thought we'd try our hand at a remix. So then Jahan and me went in and finished up the writing on the verses and we all sat down in the studio one day after recording vocals and just went really in on the drop.
And Chris does most of the production but a lot of the time me and Jahan will kind of co-pilot produce. We'll sit in the studio and we'll tell him we want something to sound like this or want something else to sound different. He's amazing because he'll make what we want come to life in a manner of seconds. That was a really collaborative experience.
Did either of your remixes gotten props from the original artists? Yeah. Knife Party actually tweeted our remix, which was really cool. And at some festival around that time, it might've been EDC, we started getting tweets, "Knife Party just spun your remix of 'Fire Hive.'" They definitely gave love to the track.
Is that one of EDM's many charms, in your opinion? Where artists are constantly remixing and mashing up one another's works in one giant ongoing collaboration? Its never-ending sometimes, and I really appreciate when someone can make a great remix, but there's nothing like making originals. EDM is not all about remixes and stuff like that. Its really cool when EDM artists can take a Top 40 song and transform it into a crazy electronic, dubstep song that will take something bubblegum to a whole another level. I really respect that, but I think if you want to truly make your mark in the EDM movement, you need to be able to make your own sound or your own original tracks.
Do people have a lot of misconceptions about Krewella? I think one of the main things that people overlook and I think they don't realize until they see us live, is that we get really sweaty and really ragey and we just want to have a good time. To me, it's not about how good we look in our photos or our videos. It's sounds cliché, but it's more about the music than anything else. That's what we do, that's why we got into this.
Krewella: "Making you wet...One song at a time"
Since you mentioned getting sweaty, is that what y'all meant on your Facebook where it says, "Making you wet...one song at a time"? Maybe (laughs).
This might be a sexist question, but there's sensual overtones to Krewella's music, correct? Definitely, but I think that's more of us as people. There's definitely is a sexuality on our marketing end, but its just who we are. But again, it's not all about that. It's just a part of the package of what Krewella is. You have to look at the big picture.
EDM already is undeniably sexy to begin with. Yeah, I definitely think so. Dance music in general has this sensuality about it, but I think that's so beautiful. Its not a rough and disgusting thing in my eyes.
Wild Knight has built sort of a reputation locally both for the EDM artists it hosts and its insane party atmosphere. So do you think that Krewella is a natural fit there? We like to bring a party. I think the most amazing thing about our shows is that we can just let go and totally lose ourselves in the music and what we're doing. So I think it will be really cool at that venue. I wanna lose my mind with all our fans that will be there.
Krewella is scheduled to perform tonight at Wild Knight's Sound Kitchen. Doors open at 10 p.m. Tickets are $15.
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