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This Friday, the Dutch super-funk trio Kraak and Smaak are bringing their insane live show to one of Denver’s newest venues, 1UP Colfax. This promises to be a super energetic performance that will meld almost every genre and vibe known to mankind. The guys were kind enough to answer a few of our questions and get us even more stoked for this show! Below the interview we have some of their most recent work for you to check out!

We’re sitting down with Kraak and Smaak to talk about their upcoming show in Denver. Your guys’ sound is truly one of a kind. How would you describe your music style?

I guess it’s a mix of various styles of dance music, from downbeat to uptempo house, but with an eye out for poppy songs as well. Although we have our roots in underground an alternative music scenes, and it’s not something we strive for explicitly, but most of our music seems to be fairly accessable for a larger audience as well.

We just have a very broad taste in music and this seems to be reflected over and over again in the stuff we make. Above all however, we are just very happy with the fact that it seems to be an original sound, and that this has always been the case throughout our musical career.

“Kraak and Smaak” is a name that definitely rolls off of the tongue. How’d you guys settle on the name and what exactly is the story behind it?

I think I heard that question before! The name derives from the dj company one of us had before we started out together. It’s a positive twist on a Dutch proverb, literally meaning ‘crunchy and tasty’, in this case music. We used it as a letter header when we first sent around demos to European record labels, and the one that bit, Jalapeno from the UK, suggested it as our act name. Of course we didn’t have the faintest idea that, pronounced in English, it seemed to mean something completely different, haha.

There definitely seems to be a recent push in the electronic music genre to include a lot of live instrumentation into the production and performance side of the music. How do you guys incorporate live instrumentation into your production and live performances?

Well, we have never been plugin or sample-based producers only, but through time we do have managed to acquire more hardware, it just gives you more creative possibilities and the hands on feel of ‘real’ musical equipment can often be very important in that process.
Our current flagship if you like is our Roland Jupiter 8. Maybe not very practical – the thing weighs about a 30kg – we always take it along when we play. But its sound is currently very important to us.
Our live show is for a small part laptop-based (for sequencing and sounds we cannot reproduce very well live), plus live synths, a live drummer (using triggers), a bass player, a dj for sounds and samples and a male and a female vocalist. In this way we feel we have the best of both worlds, somewhere inbetween a live band and an studio-based electronic act.

For someone who has never seen your perform live, what sort of show are they in for? How does your live show differ from your DJ sets?

Our live show features a full band on stage, lots of energy, rock n roll, funk, house, but also musically interesting and very dynamic in terms of style. It’s also original K&S material only, while our dj set contains more music than only our own. With the latter, we are currently much into the more deep house / (nu-)disco kinds of sounds. It’s great and feels totally natural to be able to do both live and dj shows, as we produce so many different things.

Who are some of your biggest influences on your musical style?

Oh wee, that ranges from proper house music to funk to disco to soundtracks to good pop music. Artist we really liked recently are f.e. Metronomy, Detroit Swindle, SBTRKT, Chet Faker, Moodymann, Max Graef, etc etc. Too many too mention really!

It’s awesome to see you guys playing in the States. Any must-haves or survival tips for the tour life?

We notice that it helps to stop partying heavily after a couple of days haha. We’re also in love with this fruit / vegetable drink ‘Naked’, which you can buy at most truck stops across the country: a good way to balance your fast food diet while on the road. And of course have look around if you can, you’re sometimes in the strangest places.

Thanks guys! Can’t wait to see you rock the house at 1UP this Friday!