Kraak and Smaak Interview

? of the Kraak and Smaak trio performed at NYC’s DROM and I had the opportunity to sit down with one of the members, Mark Kneppers.  I was very excited to see their set and especially hear my all-time favorite number, Squeeze Me.  When I heard that track drop, I was dancing like no one was watching. When you are crazily dancing amid bliss, that’s how you know the DJ has done a great job.

Tell me about the origins of your name…

Mark: It’s always difficult explaining when you are not from Holland, but it’s a twisted proverb. It means literally, “crunchy and tasty” but the proverb means “crunchy NOR tasty.” If something tastes really bad and has no taste, in Dutch you say, “This food doesn’t taste nor crunchy nor tasty.” That’s the proverb we twisted said, “crunchy and tasty.”

How did you get the idea for the flip-book themed video for Squeeze Me?

Mark: We had history with the video directors because they did the video clips for Keep Me Home and Money in the Bag.  We are lucky because it fit well.  We gave them the tune, they started thinking, came up with several ideas, and at some point we decided, this is the one.

How do you find your vocalists?

Mark: Sometimes we know the vocalists because when we are performing and traveling, we meet people.  We look for a voice that moves and touches us. That is always what we are looking for.  For instance, Lee Fields has such a voice that’s real, and that’s what we like. Sometimes the vocalists perform live at our shows.  Hopefully next time we will be performing live in the states, especially in New York.

Do you still sample as much as you use to?

Mark: We started as sample based.  Boogie Nights is full of samples. The record company said to us, “Guys for the next records, try not to use a lot of samples.”  Generally, when you use several samples, you lose money. That’s why the last album has almost no samples.  We tried to produce it all ourselves. We would love to use samples because it’s a very nice way to work and it’s very refreshing. We got stuck before finishing our second album because we didn’t know what to do because we were preoccupied with using no samples.  Then we thought “Whatever,” we will just produce with samples. We produced with samples and had no boundaries without thinking of the consequences.  From that, we created a whole new album, Plastic People, from picking out the stuff that was less sample based.

Any songs you would like to remix?

Mark: We always say Radiohead would be great to remix.  Also, we would love to remix Gil Scott Heron.

You have been to a handful of music festivals including Ultra Music Festival, SXSW, and Coachella.  What’s been your favorite?

Mark: Coachella was a very good gig.  Two years ago, we did Detroit Music Festival which was a really good one as well.  Also, we did RainDance in San Francisco deep in the woods which was very special.  Bonnaroo was a crazy gig too.

Check out their new album, Electric Hustle.  I guarantee it will be worth your time.

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