Keys N Krates on live music and its religious connotations and the dark side of recording


KEYS N KRATES are currently in their hometown of Toronto, Canada before they bring their live show to Australia for the new year.

For those of you who don’t yet know, KEYS N KRATES is comprised of international award-winning turn-tablist Jr. Flo, drummer Adam Tune and David Matisse on synth and keyboards.

The Canadian trio are about to release another EP on Dim Mak recordsMidnite Mass, which is due out on January 14 next year. They took some time out to speak to PS about studio life, fanmade merch and the religious side to rave culture.

Your Facebook page has been down for a few days, did you post something offensive for that to happen?
No, we still haven’t been able to sort that out, so if anybody has any contacts at Facebook who could sort it out, that would be awesome. We have absolutely no clue. We went one day to update it, and it was no longer there, or any trace of it, so it’s kind of a mystery.

Aussie artists Hermitude are joining you on tour next year, how did that come about?
We met them in Chicago. The reason why we asked them to support us on our tour is because we really dig their music, we think it’s cool. We’ve seen footage of them performing live and we liked that they’re a live act. We hadn’t actually met them until we played a festival with them in Chicago called Freaky Deaky. We got to hang out with them there and they were cool guys so we’re extra excited to have them on the bus because we know that they’re not just good guys but normal dudes who seem like they’re going to be good to travel with.

Which other producers are you digging at the moment?
We’ve been listening to some Rustie, we’re always listening to Hudmo and Cashmere Cat; I’ve been really digging this new dude KRNE, he’s from the bay area. Ganz, Troyboi and of course Drake.

That sounds like a pretty sweet festival lineup.
Yeah it would be.

I saw you guys tweet that you love fanmade merch, what are some highlights?
There’s a lot that we Instagram. We see a lot of fans, they’ll come to our show and before they come they’ll make their own merch and screen print designs, or artwork, on a shirt. Some of it I think is fan enthusiasm and some of it is that they don’t want to pay the shipping fees for our merch. Either way we totally dig the DIY stuff and the enthusiasm of people actually wanting to create stuff out of our name. Super dope to us.

We see the fun side of the studio life (like Instagram videos spinning around in computer chairs) but what was challenging while creating the EP?
Generally, when you see the Instagram videos off us playing off the laptop that’s when we have the tune done, or 80% done, and we’re in a happy place. That’s when all the arguing, the recording, all the EQing, all the bullshit is kind of done, so we’re excited about the tune we’ve just made, or if we think it’s really strong. We argue, we butt heads, we do recording sessions with people and there’s a lot of emailing for getting samples. It’s definitely not all celebration.

In the promo for your upcoming  tour, you guys said “we want it to feel almost like a religious gathering.” Can you expand on that?
I think the whole idea behind Midnite Mass is music as a religious gathering because seeing an act is like that. Also, the rave scene especially has its own set of principles, of guidelines on how to act and we think we’re a part of that and facilitating that and we want the music to mean something to people and to be almost spiritual, something that they get something from and take something home with them. And we want the artwork and vibe of the EP to reflect that. The house production we bring on tour will reflect that too, the way we do the lighting will feel like a spiritual experience, we hope.

How are you thinking of translating Midnite Mass to a live set?
The way we interpret it live is going to sound a bit different to the EP, because that’s just how it is. Our live interpretations of our recorded music has always been a bit different. Part of the fun of people coming to see us is they’ll get something that holds true to the record but is its own experience. We do stuff in the show, independent of the record, that we don’t do anywhere else and will never be recorded. We have a cover of ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ that we do that will probably never come out, that’s just something that we do live. That also goes for the live versions of our stuff.

Your track ‘Keep It 100’ became a bit of a catchphrase, do you guys see a standout on the new EP?
We’re always trying to do fun, catchy taglines with a lot of our stuff – I think ‘U Already Know’ has that potential – but we don’t really know man. At the end of the day we’re making stuff that we like, we’re not saying at the time “we made this and it will do this.” ‘Keep It 100’ didn’t become a big song until a year out. It got a lot of DJ support early on, but it didn’t really become a big song. And same with ‘Dum Dee Dum’ – a lot of our music has been a slow burn. We never really know what to expect, we just make stuff that we like.

What would you say to young producers or musicians who are reading this?
Work on your own sound and make lots and lots of stuff. Don’t get discouraged, it takes a while to find your sound but make a ton of shit and after you make ton of shit, make more. Just keep trying to find new sounds and work at it.

Keys N Krates will be performing on these dates in Oz:

ORIGIN Festival
Thursday, December 31
Claremont Showgrounds, Perth [TICKETS]

Saturday, January 2 [TICKETS]

BEAR OPS w/ Keys N Krates & Mr. Carmack
Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Saturday, January 9 [TICKETS]

FOMO Festival
Riverstage, Brisbane
Saturday, January 9 [TICKETS]

Words by Antigone Anagnostellis




Dubbed most likely to revitalise the hippy movement at the end of high school, Antigone is secretly working on a time warp back to 1969.