Kraak & Smaak Featured
The Dutch EDM legends return in style. An exclusive interview as 'The Future Is Yours' explodes...
Welcome back to DMCWORLD guys - and fuck me what a way to return. Future Is Yours¹ absolutely smashing The Buzz Chart and getting incredible feedback from all around the world. The new single is the first release from your new studio album which is about to be dropped. Let¹s kick off with this track though where Ben Westbeech once again provides us with his stunning soulful vocals. In your own words, describe your song to us...
"Thanks guys! Of course we collaborated with Ben before - on ‘Squeeze Me’ and once in a while there seems to be a shared sense that certain tracks just scream Ben's vocals; it's just that they are meant for each other. So it's not that we send in music every month, but if we do, we both know that it's going to be something special. The timing of it is also perfect, last year we got into deep house again and this one of the first tunes we came up with the simple but classy piano is a killer riff as well.”
The tune comes with some great remixes, Tom Trago, Futurizm and Ambassadeurs all deliver their own take on the track. Talk us through their reworks on the tune…
“Dutchman and Rush Hour artist Tom Trago delivers a minimal deep house techno track that we're sure of will have the same devastating effect on dancefloors as Solomun's remix of Let's Go Back feat. Romanthony in 2011/12. The Ambassadeurs remix has already been posted all over the place - he is one of the most anticipated new producer names for 2013, which shows: he transformed the original in a perfect leftfield bass twister. Futurizm's slo mo bass version debuted on RInse FM at the end of 2012, and has since then been one of the most sought-after remixes in the genre. Finally, for our own remix (why not DIY?) we extended the original, stripped it down and deepened it until we couldn't go no further. Future Is Yours¹ has summer written all over it.”
Where are the festivals we can catch you this year?
“Still up in the air really; first of all we notice that festivals are booking quite late this year, and at the same time, given the studio work, we haven¹t really pushed for a big Summer presence in Europe so far. We have some good dance festivals planned in the Netherlands and are working on some more on par ones in the UK, Germany and the remainder of Europe. We have also got our first Ibiza DJ set in, in June - looking forward to that one. And before we forget: the first Summery festival for us will be Miami’s WMC around half March, where we will be DJing with Sander Kleinenberg and Hot SInce 82 - THIS IS THE party. You¹re invited Dan!”
Well that’s very kind. Tell us about the live set up for the shows this year…”
“We’re thinking about that now as because of the work on singles and albums we didn¹t spent much time on coming up with a possible new live setting. What did really work for us recently is doing a lot of DJ sets, with or without our MCs, to find out if tracks are working or not, testing the mix and sound etc. That really helped, including the fact that house is getting more musical¹ and warmer again; this is really tickling us to move more in that direction with the live band as well.”
So back to the studio album. Where are you at with it, what is the general vibe of it and who else has collaborated on it?
“We think we¹re nearly there, with some good singles already to come after this one (maybe still even better ones) and a couple of tunes that still need to get vocals to really take off to the level they ought to be. The vibe continues to evolve electronically but also in the K&S touch plus the recent upspring in deep house and garage will definitely be notable here and there. Above all we have tried to work more on a single¹ basing not thinking too much about knitting together an album but more in tracks that ought to work independent from each other as well. And we feel we are more ready for that now than earlier in our career. Besides the re-appearance of Ben Westbeech you can expect collabs from Sam Duckworth (Get Cape Wear Cape, Fly), American songstress Joi Cardwell again new vocal material from our Geordie pal John Turrell (Smoove & Turrell), Dutch best kept secret Miss Janne Schra, and a bunch of others we are not going to tell you yet.”
When did work begin on the album and did the record label ask you to go easy on the samples this time?
“Trevor of Jalapeno Records always tells us to go easy on the samples ha ha!! But seriously, we do use them less than we used to, or at least in a less explicit way. Especially vocal-wise we have been fortunate enough to be able to draw more and more on the right vocal guests, people who also know how to write a good song, which then often makes the use of vocal samples unnecessary. And it gives you far more possibilities than a vocal snippet of course. But that doesn¹t mean we don¹t use a good sample if we hear one, especially for K&S club tracks, for the Kraak Beats volumes for example. Most of the new material that we have now was conceived during last year, but some tracks have been on the shelf for a longer period of time. It¹s just that in these cases we couldn¹t find the right singer at the time or we got creatively stuck at a certain point, but it seems for some of the missing puzzle piece is now found.”
In one of my early interviews with you I asked you what the best night out you had ever had. You answered ³Daft Punk playing in Amsterdam last year it was perfect.² With that in mind, what are your thoughts on the whole new Daft Punk album / Columbia Records news”
“Yeah, that was definitely the ultimate experience in how to put together a live dance music show, wow. But of course it's been a while and we're curious if they can get it together again and reclaim their status. Although they did the Tron soundtrack in 2010, a studio album feels like something entirely different to me and will be viewed differently by the public than a film score. We can imagine that they will probably have redefined their sound a bit (or far more), so very curious which way they are going. However, the whole dance music culture has always progressed pretty quickly; will they still be relevant? You would at least expect a couple of killer singles as well.”
Interesting thing you said in an interview towards the end of last year when asked about the dance industry. You argued that even though dance music has moved forward at an incredible pace in the past year and that it now has more mainstream acceptance worldwide, it has also become more difficult to stand out as producers. You made a point about the new breed of young teenage bedroom producers with their laptops what are your feelings now on that subject?
“Not really different I suppose. Music technology, digital media, etc. it keeps moving forward incredibly fast and ways to produce, market, perform your music are constantly on the change. Tha trevolution is still not over.”
What is the current Top 10 you are spinning...
Kraak & Smaak The Future is Yours (Tom Trago remix) Ejeca Dazed
(Needwant) Detroit Swindle - Guess What (Dirt Crew Recordings)
Nathan G Up Again (Large Music)
Golden Girls Kinetic (Kraak & Smaak remix)
Chicken Lips He not in (Noir's Personal Edit) (Defected)
The New Elastics It¹s Just A Word (Kelelrkind Remix) (Suara)
Tommy Largo – Need U So Bad (Deepjacking Recordings)
Jesse Rose - Find Your Feet (Play It Down)
Shadowchild - The Verdict Part 2 (Food Music)
You spend so much time with each other. What is the one thing about each other you would like to change?
“Pfoeh, I could probably be less serious, Oscar less impulsive and Mark could spend less time on his record stores ha ha. But at the same time you could also perceive that the other way round, i.e. positive. Maybe those traits got us this far in the first place?”
You have been collecting vinyl since the late 80s. What is each of your¹s most treasured record in your collections.”
“Djeez, so much nice stuff...not really records that have been the apple of my eye for the last twenty five years or so, but recently I found this really great album by a Brazilian artist Egberto Gismonti, from the late Sixties - it's fabulous, Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire de Melodie inna Brazil-style. Plus I am a big fan of Andrés and Levon Vincent, both Detroit producers but quite different from each other. Pure timeless dance music. It's especially hard to get your hands on affordable Levon Vincent 12"s but they are so good. I just remember me and Mark talked just recently about this Dutch electronic / new wave compilation album from the 80s he had, 'RadioNome', released by VPRO, a Dutch broadcast corp that played also more alternative and experimental music at the time on public radio (and still does). It really is a gem and the original is very hard to find nowadays.”
Not many people know and it may not be good for our image, but Kraak & Smaak secretly love…
Looking back at the last 12 months and now that the disco dust has settled somewhat, how do you think America is coping with EDM after it exploded at Miami last year? Many artists are saying the kids are looking for housier music now
“To be honest I don't really know. What we do see is that there is an enormous commercialisation of dance going on in the US, which only seems to get bigger and bigger. At the same time, alongside big room and stadium house acts you also see that more melodic dance and electronic music is on the rise again in the UK and in Europe, think f.e. 90s-styled mellow and deep house, garage, etc. That would be nice and hopefully people in the US will pick that up too. It could well be that a large part of the US dance public isn't aware at all that for a large part modern (and before that as well really) dance music started in the US. We got it first from Chicago and Detroit and then, after 25 years the mutated European version is exported back to the US - bigger than it ever was. The irony (and sadness)!”
What is the last great new album you heard?
“To be honest, we haven't listened to that many albums lately, more single tracks, also to get ideas for our own productions. One album we're curious about though is the new My Bloody Valentine. It seemed to have popped up all of a sudden, and was sort of the most anticipated record of the last twenty years or so. But still need to check that one out.”
And finally, I have read about 20 or so of your interviews from the last few years. Every single one of the fuckers have asked you same question, what does Kraak & Smaak¹ mean. Instead of rolling out your usual crunchy and tasty Dutch proverb, have you never fancied just making some shit up?
“Indeed, sigh...Well, ok: if you do a 'Kraak & Smaak' you snort your coke from a potato chip and eat it afterwards. Those crazy Dutch, eh?”
Kraak & Smaak 'The Future Is Yours' is out now on Jalapeño Records.
Remixes – K&S / Tom Trago / Ambassadeurs / Futurizm