Courtesy of Keys N Krates
How do you work together as a band?
Jr-Flo: We use just turntables, keys and drums as our main instruments. Our songs start with a sample that we find. It can be from any type of music, it can be jazz, rock, hip-hop, but not limited to any of those. We build a track around that sample utilizing the instruments that we play in the band. When we do live remixing, we usually take a hook or a line from a song. From that one hook, we'll create our own version to it. That's what live remixing is all about, and we perform those live on the fly. Recently, we've been making our own samples and original tracks. We'll still use samples but it's not as recognizable. Some of them will be very obscure and turn into our own.
How has technology been helpful in facilitating your sound?
Jr-Flo: I think that it has in the same way that it's helped any band that makes electronic music. Matisse uses Ableton and DSPs live, it's huge because he can turn his keyboard into any kind that he wants. Also, as a three-piece, it allows us to have many different sounds without lugging around a million different keyboards on the road, which also allows to layer sounds. Analog pedals help make my music sound deeper and richer. Electronic drums allow us to sample any kind of drums -- the game changer has been in the way we've been choosing to use it lately.
Matisse: A band like ours sounds a bit like a '90s band. But technology has come a long way in turning traditional instruments into non-traditional instruments. You can turn your keyboards, drums or turntables into anything you want now. That wasn't around five or six years ago, so I don't think a band like Keys N Krates could exist in the '90s. For us, technology has really paved the way for what we do.
How do you feel about urban Canadian music?
Jr-Flo: It's definitely a good time for hip-hop in Canada with guys like Drake and the Weeknd. I like that they're getting a bit more innovative and pushing boundaries. I appreciate hearing them doing it in a classy way. Guys like Shad are keeping the boom-bap alive, and K-OS is always doing his own nutty stuff.
As a band, you are in a class of your own, but have you heard anyone recently that's taken you in a new direction?
Adam Tune: Seeing James Blake has really had me change the way I do my drumming, as well as Mount Kimbie. Glasser and tUnE-yArDs have really inspired me as well.
What do you want to be known for as a band?
Jr-Flo: I think we want to be known for a really crazy live act that parties that's unique and different that you can't see anywhere else. We want to be known for a sound that you can't hear anywhere else. We want to sit in our own pocket, or laneway.
You have a number of great 'live' mixtapes out, but is there an album coming?
Jr-Flo: Yes! We just finished our album. It's not released yet but hopefully it will be out this summer.
Keys N Krates play Supermarket on Friday, June 17 @ 1AM