Our Women’s special issue called for a story on some of the few women DJs in the EDM scene and we got a chance to catch up with the raging sister duo Krewella consisting of Jahan Yousaf and Yasmine Yousaf. In an e-conversation with Utsavi Jha, Krewella talked about their love for India, future of music, disappearing boundaries and all that Krewella fans should await next.
KREWELLA & TECH
- Tech toys in your music studio: A lot of Native Instruments software and hardware — we love the classic Maschine mk1 & Komplete Kontrol.
- Most expensive tech buy: Sony C800 microphone
- Phone you own: We are both on the iPhone 6 because they still work smoothly.
- Car you drive: We share a 2017 Toyota Prius C.
- Must-have tech gadgets: Kindle, Canon Powershot G5X, NI Maschine, GoPro Hero 6.
Exhibit: How does it feel being a women DJ duo in an industry dominated by male DJs? How difficult or easy is it?
KREWELLA: This is probably the most asked question we receive- obviously for a reason though. Because it is true, after all these years of touring, Yasmine and I are still sometimes the only females on a festival lineup, and men still hold most of the powerful positions in the business end of the industry. But we are both so in the moment and focused on creating and building Krewella, that we’re not really thinking about our status in the industry or how we fit in. Because we naturally don’t fit in, we never have. We’re in our own lane and that’s something you can either see as an obstacle, or you can use it to your advantage. It’s important to try to work in this field with the mentality that we need to see us as equals and not victimize ourselves, but also realize that women have many battles to face in this industry and we need to keep the dialogue open to create awareness about that in order to affect change, so that women can exist in the space equally.
Exhibit: How would you like to describe your style of music?
KREWELLA: High energy, vulnerable, culturally integrative, powerful, emotional, and full of dualities.
Exhibit: Name your best gig till date and describe your dream gig.
KREWELLA: It’s hard to pick one favorite gig! But the first ones that come to mind are Hangout Festival in Atlanta, Lollapalooza, and our own headlining shows always rock because they’re packed with die-hard Krew fans! Our dream gigs have already come true. We couldn’t ask for more! However, Coachella would be fun again in the future.
Exhibit: What according to you is the next big thing in the field of Dance Music?
KREWELLA: Dance music is becoming so fluid. Everything is in right now. Most pop songs on the radio have a dance element, and many dance records have pop topline or organic instrument elements. I do think genres will continue to converge so there is less of a distinction between styles. That is a sign of our times that we are really blending culturally as well. The live element in the electronic scene seems to be something that a lot of DJs are trying to figure out how to incorporate into their sets.
“ When we played shows there (in India) a couple years ago, it felt like the scene was still very fresh and exciting to the fans. We also felt so incredibly welcomed and felt a bond between our Indian fans and us. We really are yearning to come back! ”
Exhibit: How is the EDM scene different in the different places you’ve played at?
KREWELLA: Every market has a different vibe and unique energy. In Tokyo, we noticed the fans danced nonstop, but they also were extremely respectful and attentive in between songs while Yasmine and I were talking. Also after the show, we were greeted with gifts and very polite words. The hospitality is on another level in Tokyo! In the few countries in South America that we’ve played, the fans just seemed absolutely wild and uninhibited.
There were tons of dance circles in the crowd and kids taking their shirts off and waving them in the air. India was special for us. When we played shows there a couple years ago, it felt like the scene was still very fresh and exciting to the fans. We also felt so incredibly welcomed and felt a bond between our Indian fans and us. We really are yearning to come back!
Exhibit: Who or what inspires you?
KREWELLA: So much inspires us! Being immersed in nature, powerful and resilient women, vulnerable and emotionally aware men, stimulating conversations with people on our team/family/other artists, traveling, experiencing different cultures, hearing fans’ stories and how they traveled to our shows, music videos and visuals, albums that take us on a journey.
Exhibit: Any music recommendations of the artists you’re currently listening to?
KREWELLA: We are currently listening to Wolf Alice, NF, Chase Atlantic, THEY, Odesza, Tonight Alive.
Exhibit: The best and worst thing about being a DJ.
KREWELLA: The best thing about being a DJ is being a part of peoples’ best night ever. The worst part is completely destroying your hearing!
Exhibit: What do you like to do when not working or making music?
KREWELLA: Hiking, cooking, spending time with family, reading, and hanging out with our dog are all activities we both love to be immersed in when we aren’t creating music or writing. When we are on the road or overseas, I try to get out and explore as much as I can, whether it’s jogging around the city or tasting local cuisine.
Exhibit: Advice for aspiring DJs.
KREWELLA: Understand that throughout your career, no matter how successful you are, there will be ups and downs. Gigs where people aren’t dancing or the room is sparsely filled are guaranteed to happen, especially while starting out. Instead of letting it discourage you or depress you, transform your perception of it to realize that it’s character building and if you can get through a lame crowd, you can tackle so much more.
Exhibit: What’s next for Krewella?
KREWELLA: We barely scratched the surface of international touring. 2018 is going to be packed with Europe and Asia dates. We are on a roll with creating music and releasing it, and we’re going to keep this momentum going! Taking our visuals to the next level is something we both really want to achieve. It’s all about assembling the right creative team and growing with people that really understand the vision.
Exhibit: Signing off thoughts/Message for fans in India?
KREWELLA: Our Indian fans are very dear to us. The culture is so close to home and familiar to us, so it really feels like a place we belong and we’re so grateful that fans have welcomed us with open arms. We are working on our visas and once we have them, we will all celebrate us uniting together in India!
- Name a favourite from your own tracks: One of our newest, ‘Alibi’.
- Favourite non-dance song: Black Panther album, specifically the song ‘King’s Dead’.
- Favourite music festival to play at: Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Sunburn.
- Favourite places to perform at: Our hometown of Chicago, Brazil, Japan, India, and Germany.
- One mistake you think DJs often make: Taking themselves too seriously 🙂
- The best piece of advice given to you: Benji Madden once told us to always be open to new opportunities because you never know where it could lead you.