It was five years ago that Jahan Yousaf, her younger sister Yasmine and Kris Trindl (a.k.a. Rain Man) joined up to form the edgy electronic group Krewella. Since releasing their first EP Play Hard last June, Krewella has amassed quite a buzz. Along with Zedd, Madeon and Porter Robinson, they’ve been dubbed “prodigies to watch” by The New York Times, and a month ago were named Breakout Artist of the Year at the International Dance Music Awards during Miami Music Week. Vegas Seven caught up with the threesome at the Ultra Music Festival to discuss everything from cat licking to waking up pantless. The Krew kicks off their residency at Light on June 1.
Any tricks to preserve your voices while on the road?
Jahan: I actually have a little cough, so I’m asking myself,“What drugs shall I take today, Mucinex or Sudifed?” I don’t want to get addicted to Cepacol!
Yasmine: I took a Mucinex and am clearing all this stuff I didn’t even know I had.
Jahan: I don’t think my boyfriend would think all my spitting is sexy, but who knows? Maybe he has a spit fetish.
Well, on that note, one of you just tweeted, “The first thing I do when I walk in a hotel room is imagine the various ways we could bang in here.” That’s certainly provocative!
Jahan: That was me—and then I take off my pants if I’m not sharing the room, and turn off the AC, because it’s bad for our vocals. You’ve got to be pantless and wake up sweating.
Yasmine: It’s all about the humidity.
Jahan: There’s also been no drinking. We’ve been sober this whole tour.
Yasmine: Not a sip of alcohol.
And one more tweet: “I have never snorted anything, but I have licked my cat’s fur.” Aren’t you allergic?!
Jahan: I’m willing to take the risk because I love cats so much, but career comes first, so I unfortunately had to get rid of the cats.
Kris: Well, they came from my grandma, who loaned them to us and then took them back.
Yasmine: The cats affected the vocals.
Jahan: I never licked the cat’s butt, though. Only the ear/face area.
What does it mean to be named Best Breakthrough Artist?
Yasmine: Hardwell got it last year, and it’s really dope seeing his progression over the past year. I can’t wait to see where we are going to be in a year. It’s really an honor to just be nominated—we didn’t even think we’d be nominated, much less win.
It’s not even been a year since you released the EP Play Hard, and now you’re playing Ultra.
Jahan: We’ve been working for five years together, so it doesn’t feel like it happened so fast for us, but it’s definitely been a healthy progression since we debuted. Our team, management and all three of us have really been about pushing out content—music and video.
Your style has been described as dubstep, moombahton and house. Can you explain?
Jahan: It’s all about the rage. We dabble in a ton of different sub-genres of electronic music. We try to do it all because we don’t like to be limited. We want a cohesive sound, but we want to be able to try everything. Ultimately, it’s about getting people to dance.
Kris: The type of music we started making was so different from the music we make now. As a producer, my influences change, and [the girls] influence me. We started making dubstep because we liked it.
Which comes first: vocals or the beat?
Yasmine: It’s a different process every song. Sometimes Kris will give us a rough scratch beat, and Jahan and I will write over it, or sometimes we will come to Kris with an a capella we wrote or something over an instrumental, and he will build around that.
You dropped in on Nicky Romero’s Ultra set and unveiled a surprise collab. How’d that come about?
Jahan: We met him in Hawaii at a show we played a few months ago. We were getting out of the booth while he was getting in. We said, “Hey we’re Krewella” and he said, “You guys go hard,” because we were playing a bunch of drum and base right before the end of the set. A month after that he tweeted us and asked if we wrote the vocals on “Breathe,” which is our Skrillex edit. He loved the vocals and wanted to do a song together. He sent us an instrumental, and Yas and I wrote the vocals with a friend of ours. He liked it and that it kind of has a dark and eerie vibe.
What else is in the works?
Yasmine: We have a collab in the works with Gareth Emery, Benny Bennasi and Pegboard Nerds.
Jahan: We have a lot of material in the works that we are testing out at shows.
Let’s talk about the Troll Mix volumes.
Jahan: For such a long time we didn’t have any mixes out and our team came to us and said our fans were asking for mixes.
Yasmine: Our first one was for college kids, called “Fuck Finals.”
Jahan: It was dedicated to kids in school, because they like to listen to music while they are studying. We got so many tweets thanking us for helping them get through finals. It’s also for us, too, because I like to think about what I’d like to listen to when I’m running.
Yasmine: They’re also a good way to intro unreleased music and show people a style music they might not have known about before.
What can we expect at Light?
Yasmine: Normally in Vegas we won’t play quite so hard, but their lineup is so stacked. It’s a lot of hard acts, not only progressive house. So I think we have a chance to go as hard as we want to go.
Jahan: [Light] will bring in a crowd that understands and appreciates dubstep and drum and bass. We love progressive house, too. “Alive” is a very bright progressive-house song, but the second we start dropping drum and bass …
Yasmine: … is when we have the most fun.
Kris, do these girls get you in trouble?
Kris: Not really.
Jahan: He actually gets us in trouble. He almost got kicked off the plane a month ago because he wouldn’t stop texting this girl.
Kris: I was texting a friend! I was like, “I am so sorry,” to the flight attendant.
Jahan: The flight attendant comes over and says, “You need to turn that off,” and he pulls it back out!
What’s with this truth or dare video you keep tweeting about?
Jahan: It was my idea. I thought about doing it in Times Square.
Kris: [It was] my idea!
Jahan: It definitely wasn’t your idea. I’ve wanted to do that for five months now! I wanted to get on Twitter with the fans, but people weren’t taking it seriously.
Yasmine: They were like, “Spit whiskey down Rain Man’s mouth,” or “Have a threesome and film it.”
Jahan: I’m like, “Come on guys, ask us to do real things, like go up to a stranger and ask them to go on a date and film it!”
I dare you to do that! You have a film crew already.
Yasmine: Holy shit, her boyfriend is here today!
Kris: It’s for work!
Jahan: It’s got to be a date, a candlelit dinner.
Kris: Shake his hand!
Jahan: I’ll do it, but I need to talk to my boyfriend. I’d kind of feel like a creep [asking a stranger out].
What would be your dares for each other?
Jahan (to Kris): Be sober for a month!
Kris: Oooooh …
Yasmine: I need to think about something like that because I could really fuck with these guys.
Jahan (to Yasmine): No sugar!
Yasmine: I did that for two weeks already and only cheated a little!