Q&A: Lyrical masterminds, musicians from Krewella

Krewella, consisting of sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf and manager Kris “Rain Man” Trindl, have formed their own genre through mixes and mashes of various musical inspirations. They released their first EP, “Play Hard,” in June 2012, which rose to No. 1 on Billboard’s Dance Radio Airplay charts. Their signature hit, “Alive,” has reached top music charts in countries including Belgium, Mexico, France, Czech Republic, Poland and the United States.

For the past several years, Krewella has headlined numerous EDM festivals such as Ultra Music Festival and Electric Daisy Carnival. Their performances have earned them the 2012 International Dance Music Award for “Best Breakthrough Artist.”

They will be releasing their first full-length album, “Get Wet,” on Sept. 24.

The Daily Cougar had the opportunity to interview Yasmine Yousaf.

The Daily Cougar: How did you three get started back in 2007?

Yasmine Yousaf: Jahan had met Kris, our manager, from parties and shows in Chicago. They were into the metal scene, and he programmed beats for his metal band. After shifting into more hip-hop beats, they made a song together but were looking for vocals, so I recorded lyrics.

TDC: Who came up with the name, “Krewella,” and what does it mean?

YY: While we were writing song lyrics, Jahan came up with it, but it doesn’t really mean anything.

TDC: What made you become interested in making music?

YY: Our favorite bands were Chromeo, MSTRKRFT, Justice, Saint and EDM, which used to be called “dance music.” We wanted to create a mash of genres. Our beats were faster and harder. Because Kris had experience in metal, we were immediately attracted to metal and dubstep transitions. We do feel like pop or rock groups sometimes though.

TDC: What was the journey like for the last six years, and what’s the best part about touring the United States and other countries?

YY: It has been the most beautiful but painful experience. We’ve gone through so much failure to reach success, but it has been beautiful. The best part is meeting the Krew (fans) across the country. Hearing the crowd singing along to our songs is just so awesome.

TDC: The hit “Alive” now has over 15 million views on YouTube. What inspired this song?

YY: The song came out on New Year’s Eve in 2011. We weren’t big enough at the time, and it was actually a dark time for us. We had a slow entourage. We were super bummed about a show, so we spent the night in our studio popping five-dollar champagne and writing music.

TDC: What’s different about your new album, “Get Wet,” compared to your first EP, “Play Hard”?

YY: For “Play Hard,” we touched on different genres because we didn’t want to be tied down to only one genre. We’ve tried even more genres in “Get Wet,” and the songwriting is completely different because we’re going through different phases of our lives. We started off with not a lot of fans, but we’re in a different place now. We have so many fans and people listening now. I’ve actually gotten to know fans really well, and I hope “Get Wet” will help them get though hard times – like an escape.  This album is deeper, and we’ve spent more of our time writing the songs. It’ll take you on a journey through anger, sadness and even in party mode.

TDC: The music video for “Live for the Night,” a single from your new album, already has over 1 million views on YouTube. What inspired this song?

YY: We wanted a follow-up to “Alive.” Some listeners don’t go past whatever is played on the radio, so we wanted to introduce a new type of song to them. We love drum and heavy bass, crazy beats, so we created this sort of party anthem. Sometimes, you have to cut the power off, cut yourself off from world ties and let yourself loose in the music.

TDC: You start your tour in Texas, and both you and Jahan were born in Houston. The upcoming show sold out immediately, but what do you always look forward to when performing here?

YY: I love playing in Texas. For some reason, there must be something in the water because you guys rage so hard. We have family there, and it’s great to have them come see us in action.

TDC: What do you hope to accomplish within the next year?

YY: We hope to have a second album ready to go between now and the next year, which we already started on. We’re continuously coming up with amazing music and giving our fans everything in our hearts. Fans are the only reason why you’re doing well, so we must give them everything.

Krewella will play a sold-out show at 9 p.m. Sept. 6 at Stereo Live as part of their Get Wet Live Tour.

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