ARTIST FOCUS: KRAAK & SMAAK

Kraak & Smaak make their long awaited debut on Future Disco this month, to commemorate the release of Keep It Together we had a chat with the band about the single, their favourite music and plans for the remainder of 2018. Read the interview in full below...

Hey guys, firstly we’d like to say welcome to the Future Disco family! We’ve been fans of yours for a long time now and feel the single has been in the pipeline for a few years. Are you excited for the release?

Thanks, and yes, really looking forward to this one. We don’t really do that many outings on other labels, but in this case we felt K&S and Future Disco really were a perfect combination to drop that track. And given the first round of feedback everywhere it seems we hit bullseye in that regard.

Can you tell us a bit about the process behind the single and how it come together? 

We normally just start out making music, some basic sound, chord ideas hammered down live with keys, a beat we constructed, a sampled loop … can be anything really. We did have the wish to have a go at a more disco, clubby-ish track again, in contrast to our last album material, so from the start the focus was clear, very conceptual. The groovy bassline and funky guitar were there quite quickly as well, and when we laid that down, we started to think about a possible vocal, as it needed one. Luxxury came to mind immediately, as we love his LA disco production vibe and vocals. We sent it to him and he was excited from the start, recorded some good vocal hooks for us to work with, and there we were. 

You’ve played an integral part in the Nu Disco scene over the last 5-10 years, how do you feel it has changed in that time period? 

I think the biggest change really was the fact that when we started out, disco was often not really done. It was more about funk, breakbeat, etc. It has only been the last couple of years that disco-styled stuff has really gained recognition in underground and mainstream music. We have seen how the vaults have opened in the mean time, with re-issues, humungous amounts of edits… to be honest it is sometimes actually difficult to plow through all the disco-tipped releases nowadays. In that sense it has become more difficult to get excited by everything recently, as much is sounding more and more the same. However, we always try (at least) to give everything we make - that has its roots in a retro style so to speak, a fresh or a modern spin. For us to be happy It does need to be strong in itself, more then just rehashing the past. I guess that’s a starting point we always try and honour.

Music is forever changing as we know, especially with role that technology is playing. For you personally being a touring band, what’s been the biggest change?

Phew… we sent our first demo’s around with the regular mail and got our promo’s on CDR’s and vinyl.. that’s how old we are ;) For DJ’ing it has become better for our backs though. Our first tour in Australia we still did with like four record bags of vinyl, lol. Now we are playing with CD’s and USB’s. We still have to get used to staring at cd player info displays all the time, instead of going through vinyl covers (which worked so much finer). For our live band there hasn’t changed that much really, as we already started out with a mixed studio / live set up on stage. Overall, we have benefited for this whole development: through streaming services, almost everyone in the world can listen to our music, at any time. There are more possibilities to get noticed now than there used to be.

You run your own label Boogie Angst which we are very familiar with. How do you find it running your own label?

It’s really cool and gives us an opportunity to release music we like and believe in, which we couldn’t do before, whether for the dance-floor or more downbeat, electronic, etc. There is much good stuff going around that doesn’t get noticed or perhaps isn’t a right fit for other labels, so we are glad we can make that difference. It’s also nice to see whether your A&R instincts towards other, young acts are right, and hopefully see them grow and become more known. Moods is a great example of that.  Others to watch out for are for example Germany-based Snacks and Belgian producer Vhyce.

There’s been some great music released as of late. What’s been your favourite track and album of the last year?

Oompf, that’s a difficult one… for one thing, I really like the original and remix material Lorenz Rhode has been releasing recently. And loved last year’s Bicep and Moullinex’s albums too. Plus looking forward to the Detroit Swindle album for example.

We have a new Future Disco compilation coming up which includes Keep It Together, are you a fan of the albums, if so what’s been your favourite over the years?

Yes, we really dig them. A bit difficult to to tell which one I like best, but I really like the selection and vibe of Vol.9. Also like the fact that HNNY is featured regularly – always love what he does.

What have you got planned for the remainder of 2018, are you involved with any festivals, some more music lined up? 

Apart from the Keep it Together single and the Miami 2018 Poolside mix compilation we just did for Toolroom Records, we are frantically working on new single and album material, hopefully to be released later this year. For Boogie Angst we have just released new EP’s by Snacks and Vhyce, and the first Moods album is also in the works for 2018. In between we are finalising our first dj tour in China, a Fall live band tour in Eastern- and Central-Europe, and are all over the place in Summer!

KRAAK & SMAAK'S FAVOURITE DISCO/NU DISCO TRACK