Call & Response: Keys N Krates

Call & Response: Keys N Krates

Live remix band Keys N Krates have been mashing up music to new heights since I first talked about them back in February. They have played all over Western Canada, down the US West Coast and they even rocked some parties after the Juno Awards.

Their biggest audience though seems to be on YouTube. DJ Jr-Flo (a former Canadian DMC Champ), Matisse (keyboards) and Tune (drums) have taken full advantage of their band's visual strengths and their YouTube channel gets heavy traffic with some of their more popular performance clips drawing nearly 10,000 views.

Their last show in Toronto was a sell out. They play this month's edition Shuffle at Revival this Friday night. I spoke with Matisse about the crazy shows they've played out West, their new mixtape project, and converting Lindsay Lohan.

Keep reading for the complete interview.

blogTO: I already know why you're called Keys N Krates. Were there any other band names you guys were considering?

Matisse: Nope. We came up with a lot of other stupid names but this name was the only one we really liked enough to be like: "okay, that's the one".

How would you describe your sound using only a noun?

Probably...Big Bird.

You guys have been playing a lot of shows out West. Where's the best place you've played?

Hmmm. Calgary at Hi-Fi was really ill. Shout to Mike and Pete from Smalltown. Whistler was really ill, even though Jr-Flo's computer crashed during the set. Shouts to Kenny Mac from Redbull, and Mat The Alien for making that happen. All those interior mountain spots out west are amazing to play in. Whistler, Fernie, Nelson, Golden, Invermere, Banff. They wild out there!

What was the weirdest show you've played so far?

To be honest, nothing too weird. We did one show where there was this chick with a hula hoop that we were kinda weirded out by, but mesmerized with at the same time. Kinda like the chick on rollerskates from Boogie Nights.

What remixes have got people moving the most so far?

Hmm. Always depends on the show. Our "Next Episode" RMX always goes off kinda crazy...but a lot of the Motown remixes we've been doing lately at shows have been killing it too. It kinda varies from show to show. People relate to different material in different ways. We've heard people call us live electro, and we've heard people call us a new aged funk band. Everyone kinda relates to what we do in their own way.

You're heading into the studio to record some songs, right? How are you planning on capturing your live remixes in the studio?

Right now, we are working on a mixtape, which is basically just going to be a reflection of our live show and allow experience that in their iPods or cars or whatever. To record we are basically micing us doing a live set that will be divided up into 3 parts and released on the internet as 3 different mix sets. They will also be released on a CD (which will be sold at our shows) as one continuous mix with all the tracks seperated so that people can do as they wish with the individual tracks. The mixtape sound will be really live and raw...kinda Motown style. We are trying to mirror some of those recording techniques for the mix, so it has that warm sound. After the mixtape we will be working on an EP with more polished recorded tracks.

How are you going to handle sample clearance?

When we do polished recordings, the approach will be quite different. That's kinda why we wanted to do the mixtape - so we could have that freedom to just do that live, raw thing. We're not overly worried with sample clearence right now. We aren't a group that's going to be selling millions of records anytime soon. We're more concerned with grassroots building, live shows, and viral YouTube stuff. When it comes to clearing stuff, we will probably cross those bridges when it's necessary, but we definitely don't want anything to hinder our creativity. With all that being said, we will be doing non-sampled music soon as well.

What do you like best about Toronto? What do you like least?

Toronto's kinda crazy. We actually thought from the start that Toronto was going to be the last place to accept us, but suprisingly the response in Toronto has been kinda overwhelming. That show we did at Wrongbar was at capacity by midnight. We were shocked. The thing that sucks the most is the lack of cool venues. There really seems to only be a few.

You guys are playing a private party up in Muskoka with Samantha Ronson Saturday night. Do you know if Lindsay Lohan will be there?

Hopefully. Tune is hoping to convert her.

What can people expect to see/hear/feel at Revival this Friday?

Line dancing. A lot of line dancing.

Heineken Music and Shuffle present:
Keys N Krates w/ Eh! Team DJs
Friday, August 29
783 College Street
Doors 10pm
$15 cover

Call & Response is a series of weekly Q&A's featuring artists from or playing in Toronto. Photo: Shannon Boodram.

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