Toronto electronic music trio Keys N Krates brings us our latest SPIN SETS, coming through with an hour of high energy house shot at Denver’s Meow Wolf’s Convergence Station. From their early days as a hip-hop cover band to their latest LP IN:Tension featuring Grammy-winning artist Ciara and others, Keys N Krates have relentlessly followed their artistic passion. And it’s paying off.
We connected with Keys N Krates to talk about what drives their creative process, their range of influences from hip hop to edm trap to RnB, how their style has evolved, and more. Stream IN:TENSION here and check out their SPIN SETS below. Want more SPIN SETS? Head over to SPIN TV to keep up with all the latest and greatest DJ’s/producers pushing the boundaries of electronic music.
Who is Keys N Krates and what do you stand for?
Greg: Keys N Krates is a production trio, consisting of Adam Tune, Maurice Francois and myself Greg Dawson. We stand for good dance music with feeling, emotion, soul, groove, and energy.
Tell us about your sound – where does your style originate from and what have been your biggest visual, social, and sonic influences?
Tune: We started as a live band doing hip hop covers, and transitioned into a live electronic band making edm trap music, so we love hip hop, and 808s and big bass, but we are all RnB lovers and fans of great songs with great melodies that are memorable and that might be the thing that has stuck with us across all our sonic evolutions. On this new album we are exploring our take on House music, which inevitably comes with us having a hip hop kind of approach to the the whole thing, the same way a lot of the 90s house producers from New York had. We love great pop music and we love great underground music and we are really focused on fusing the two, but also having the two sit next to each other in a sonic universe that makes sense.
Greg: I think our style is ever evolving and I think we’ve really matured into finding our place where we want to sit in dance music; one where we can make pop records and club records and it all makes sense together. I think Janet Jackson; particularly the :Rhythm Nation”, and “Control” has recently defined a lot of what we are going for; not so much from a production stand-point but energeticaly. We wanted big funky and sassy energy that is breaking down the door. Could we picture Janet liking this was. Question we’d ask ourselves a lot when making all this new music.
Matisse: At the end of the day, we want to make people feel good and have a time. We can talk about how we love Jenky percussion, 808s, 9th chords, pitched up samples all day, but ultimately the goal is to always make people feel good.
Was there a definitive turning point to your success?
Tune: I think around 2013 when we started really releasing music and songs like “treat me right” and “dum dee dum” started to break definitely felt like a turning point where all of a sudden we had this audience.
When did you realize the magnitude of your impact within the industry/community?
Greg: I don’t even know we are thinking about that at all. We are just moving forward and trying to get better.
Where do you want to go next with your music and what can your fans expect from future releases?
Matisse: We just want to continue to get better, and expand our sonic universe of making dance and housey music that is fun, soulful, at time emotional, at times just banging. We want to explore all the corners of what we are supposed to be doing.
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Where have you not performed yet that you want to perform?
Greg: Definitely South America, Mexico are big goals.
In what ways have you pushed yourself beyond existing self-imposed limitations?
Tune: We’ve just never cared about said genre boundaries. We do what we feel and approach it with love, care, respect and trying to make the best thing. I think giving ourselves parameters to work within when approaching bodies of work has been helpful, cause otherwise we’ll just make everything lol. But we are always gonna go where we feel sonically at the end of the day.
What’s next for Keys N Krates?
Greg: More music, working with different artists we are fans of, making club records, making pop records, touring, and just trying to get better.
What do you wish for the future of electronic music? In what ways would you like to see it evolve?
Tune: I think it’s in a great place. There’s audiences and room for everything. You just have to deliver it.
Any last words for the SPIN universe?
Greg: Please check out our new album “In:Tension”. We think it’s very very good.