Kraak en Smaak

Posted on 05 May 2011 by Glenn Tucker

Kraak en Smaak Interview.

Not only have i been lucky enough to get my ears into
the latest release (Electric Hustle) by Kraak en Smaak, a funky upbeat journey with magical, soothing and uplifting vocals but i have also been granted the honour of getting some answers to my own questions for the band, such as:

“Where can i go out in Leiden?”

Ok maybe not your average interview questions but hey, if you want to get the stats and not the personality your’e in the wrong place.

Enjoy, I certainly did.

GT: Are you all from the same town in the Netherlands or did you originate from different parts of the country?

KS: We’re all from around here, villages near Leiden; it’s the biggest town nearby.

GT: Did the close proximity to Amsterdam have any influence on your music?

KS: Not really in terms of creating music but for record shops, clubs, concerts, etc. Amsterdam is very interesting of course. But at the same time most of the bigger cities in Holland here are in the vicinity of Leiden: The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht, etc. We went there a lot also and we’re more influenced musically by the scenes in The Hague and Rotterdam than Amsterdam.

GT: Where do you hang out/ go out when you’re at home in Leiden?

KS: Mostly pubs really and the odd concert here and there. If you’re travelling that much for dj and live sets it’s great not needing to do that much. We also try and drop by clubs and concerts to have a look how they perform, getting some new perspectives for ourselves, that sort of thing. But these are in general out of town expeditions. Still there is always good music to go and see – last weekend we went to see the Innervisions night in Trouw, Amsterdam with Henrik Schwarz live.

GT: Where can I go for a great night out in your town?

KS: Enough good pubs around to get you through the evening but unfortunately slightly poor club – and concert-wise.  Recently a proper and cool dubstep club night opened though – which is good if you are feeling lively.

GT: Your new album has such an upbeat style mixed with a variation of great lyrics and vocals, where would you say you fit in to the music scene in the UK at the moment?

KS: That’s difficult to say but our closest affiliation at this moment will probably be the vibe of ‘nu disco’. With our first album Boogie Angst it was clear-cut funk, breakbeat and lounge, but since then our style has evolved, incorporating electronica, house, pop… we’re still exploring I guess, but it’s all K&S.

GT: Do you have any favourite UK Festivals and can I catch you anywhere in the UK this summer?

KS: Of course! Glastonbury’s great, Big Chill, Bestival and Lovebox also. Glastonbury’s already in the pocket for June 24 and hopefully we’ll be able to drop by at the other ones again too this Summer, thank you Sir!

GT: Do you prefer luxury or roughing it on tour?

KS: Of course we prefer luxury but for getting your live show together it’s better to rough it; definitely makes the band tighter (unfortunately).

GT: Have you found yourself in any bizarre situations while on tour? The kind where you check yourself and think “How on earth did we get here?”

KS: Hell yeah; we had a live tour in the US where we also played the Joshua Tree festival in the middle of nowhere, nearby Palm Springs in California. It was one big hippie celebration,  it was the weirdest shit; cross-dressers on quads.. errr. Cool show though…

GT: With electronic music changing so fast what can we expect to hear from you in the future? Changing sounds or a similar style?

KS: Electric Hustle feels like a natural development given the last couple of years but the next album could well be more clubby or more pop. We don’t know really.

GT: Who are the artists you have always wanted to collaborate with?

KS: Although we were lucky again to have our share of great vocalists for this album (Romanthony, Lee Fields, John Turrell, etc.) there are of course always more artists out there we would love to record with; Bill Withers would be great, Little Dragon, and of course Ben Westbeech again if possible.

GT: Your new album has a definitive jazz/funk sound mixed with some cool beats. How do you feel about mix genre bands that use a range of music styles (e.g. bands that are fusing rock and electronic music)?

KS: I’s always a good thing if bands and producers try to find new sounds and mix up things to be and stay creative; we consider ourselves lucky to like loads of different things, and these influences will pop up one way or another in our own productions eventually. We don’t want to stick too much to one style; it will bore you in the end because at a certain pont there will be little to explore anymore.

GT: I’ve heard you are a great live act, does this involve full use of instruments and how confident are you all with playing a range of instruments?

KS: Yep, we have full live band on stage with us, involving drums, bass, keys, sounds and effects and female and male vocalists Lex Empress and Sebastian – both feature on the new album too.  We do try to get the thick studio sound in by using a sequencer, also for the sounds that just can’t be recreated live, for example certain synth sounds.

GT: Is this nerve racking or more enjoyable than a D.J set?

KS: It has been a great experience to do both really but there’s always a totally different dynamic involved in either live or dj sets; a dance club ain’t no pop festival!

GT: Do you have any personal mantras you try to live by?

KS: Ha ha, we already have one for the coming years: releasing two albums per three years instead of one 😉


Many thanks to Kraak en Smaak for this opportunity and best of luck for the Summer.

Glenn Tucker