Posted August 7, 2013 by whopperjaw in Tunes

Keys N Krates is making some real noise

Keys N Krates
Keys N Krates

The Toronto electronic act Keys N Krates formed some five years ago but has just started to make some real noise. The trio—Adam Tune on drums, David Matisse on keys, and Flowinsky (Jr. Flo) on turntables—will release the EP, SoLow, this month. The group’s ability to mix live and work in live drums and keyboards makes it rather unique in the dubstep/EDM world. We spoke briefly with the band members, who had just returned from their first European tour, after their performance in Chicago at Lollapalooza 2013. Here’s what they had to say.

Talk about performing in the middle of the afternoon at Lollapalooza. The audience was going nuts.
Matisse: We were taking bets earlier about whether there would be people there but when you’re in it, you’re just in it and holding it together and trying to get through it. You have to finish the show first and then take a breath. It was a surreal movement.

Flowinsky: We haven’t gotten nervous but there with 8000 kids in front of us, I was a little nervous.

Is that the biggest show you’ve played so far?
Tune: We played Red Rocks, which was like 10,000. And we played the Olympics and who knows how many people were there for that.

Talk about the band’s formation a bit.
Matisse: It started simple. Tune and I were playing in funk bands throughout the city and Tune was hoping to do something different and so was I. We had a mutual friend that set us up and we talked about jamming over keys and turntables. I told Tune to try some stuff over the drums. That’s how it started. From there, it was just about doing live remixes. It organically went on from there and we wanted to make our own music and become producers. That was a whole other level. We’re here now making our own beats and putting them in the set.

The music is so eclectic but do you feel an affinity with the dubstep scene?
Flowinsky: Scene-wise, we play a lot of festivals and on a lot of electronic bills. We always wanted to be a dance act and play to kids that want to dance as opposed to playing at rap shows where kids stand around and only respond to music they know. But we connect more to rap than dubstep even though we draw from dubstep.

Tune: The tempos are similar. When the whole trap thing came around. We were already doing that. It was 10bpm faster than dubstep or pretty much the same.

We always wanted to be a dance act and play to kids that want to dance as opposed to playing at rap shows where kids stand around and only respond to music they know. 

Is there a strong scene in Toronto?
Flowinsky: Yeah, for everything. It’s a big city and we have most of the subcultures you’ll see in any big city. In particular, with electronic music and rap and trap.

Tunes: They’re starting to get into the festival stuff. It was behind but they’re starting to get into them.

Talk about the EP that’s coming out.
Flowinsky: It’s party club music with rap beats and has a lot of trap overtones . We put up a single for free download and two more tunes will come out at the end of August. We have a remix we did for Steve Aoki that’s coming out at the end of August which we’re super stoked about.

What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
Flowinsky: More festivals and shows in September. We’re already getting booked for fall festivals and we have a haul for the rest of the summer that we still have to get through.

Have you spent much time overseas?
Flowinsky: We just did our first European tour last week. We didn’t do the UK but we hit Vienna and Barcelona the Netherlands and it was so awesome.

Tunes: All in a week.

Flowinsky: We want to get there more. We want to break Europe and the kids are into the stuff we’re doing.

What are the differences between the two scenes?
Flowinsky: Kids in the US have only been listening to electronic music fo the past four or five years and kids in Europe came up listening to electronic music and seeing DJs. They’re a bit more refined there, to be honest. The music is a bit deeper and it’s not as in-your-face. It’s all a bit more subtle. They still like crazy shit like Skrillex, but that’s more of a US thing.

What are you guys listening to?
Tunes: I think the Disclosure album sounds amazing.

Flowinsky:  A lot of hip-hop like Kendrick Lamar and Drake. We listen to a lot of music. We like Arcade Fire and Beach House. We like some of the harder dance stuff. We’re excited to see Flux Pavilion tonight. There’s so much great music out there.


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