In an industry dominated by men, the Chicago native trio Krewella proves women can produce EDM too. Sometimes labeled as “diva dubstep,” the voices of Jahan and Yasmine can become quite addicting to sing along with while dancing to their crunchy electro-punk beats.
Krewella is made up of vocalists and songwriter sisters Jahan and Yasmine along with producer Rain Man. The first time I saw Krewella live was in their hometown Chicago when they were opening for Zeds Dead. I was skeptical to say the least. But ever since that performance, I will proudly rep their “Krew,”
In today’s rave world, it’s more than just the music, but it’s also about the performance. These ladies nail it. The most recent time I saw Krewella was, once again, in Chicago at Spring Awakening Music Festival. They had a midday set time, yet they still had the best audience interaction all weekend.
Who doesn’t love to watch two rebel-hot ladies sing, dance, and head bang to the beat? I’m a female and I find them captivating. They know how to pump up the crowd, and they know how to express sexuality without baring it all.
Recently they released a new album called Get Wet, which made the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 200 in the first week. Right now they are busy on the Get Wet Live Tour and will be stopping in Indy at the Egyptian Room in the Old National Centre Nov. 14.
And if you haven’t already, follow them on Soundcloud because they regularly release new FREE music. My favorite is when they release hour-long sets called the “Troll Mixes.” Here is my pick:
The perfect way to bring in the looming colder seasons is with good music, good people and good beer. Fountain Square Brewery is an Indiana brewery that began in 2010 and is dedicated to supporting local arts. This weekend they are hosting the second-annual Hop Your Face Festival in Fountain Square in Indianapolis. Hop Your Face is an all day music festival to kick off fall, tap their imperial IPA for the season and celebrate local arts.
This year, the headlining act is a jam band from Carmel, Ind. called Funky Junk. Funky Junk is a four-piece collaboration of Jake Dugan and Andrew Trefny on the electric guitars, Troy Wingert on the bass guitar and Chandler Pickard on the drums. Funky Junk are dedicated to giving the crowd a fun and rowdy show anywhere they go– just be prepared to drink their whiskey with them!
What is Hop Your Face?
Chandler Pickard: It’s a celebration of Fountain Square Brewery tapping their fall beer, the imperial IPA Hop Your Face. It’s the second year they are doing the Hop Your Face festival and it’s christening of the season of fall. It’s called Hops Your Face as a play on words from the Grateful Dead. There are some other bands playing before like El Guapo. We’re headlining the event and it’s all day. It’s outside Fountain Square Brewery and we go on at 9pm. Last year Strange Arrangement played. They were the headliner and they killed it. There was a great turn out. This year they expect to have more. It is a really local thing. It is all about keeping your beer drinking local.
The beer is great there; it is delicious craft beer. They are bringing Fountain Square back. It has really gotten nice in the last few years. The area of Fountain Square had been a little run down but within the past five years they have made a huge effort restoring what Fountain Square once was. Now it has become a really cool hip little place to come down and have a fun time. They have a lot of good local restaurants, a lot of good local beer at Fountain Square Brewery. It is a really homegrown feel, nothing corporate in that area; it is just all local stuff. I love that about it.
We (Funky Junk) are Indianapolis natives. We want to support Indianapolis in any way possible. It is our hometown and we will always love it. I would much rather play for Fountain Square at a local festival that is all about keeping everything local. I love having the locals that drink there come out for some fun. It’s all of our friends, rather than some corporate shit.
Do you guys have anything special planned?
Pickard: The coordinator asked every band to play a Grateful Dead tune because Grateful Dead’s Steal Your Face is where they got Hops Your Face. So we are going to learn a few new Dead tunes for the festival and it will make it really special and obviously bring our own jest of band that is Funky Junk too!
How did Funky Junk first begin?
Pickard: I have known Trefny since I was five years old. One day we just realized we should stop playing Sega and start putting songs together and we realized were missing that part of our lives. So we wrote some songs and Dugan ended up calling me up about playing a Phish cover band party in Bloomington. He wanted me to play drums for him. So a few weeks later we met up in Bloomington and played this gig and Trefny was with me. We asked him, “Hey would you want to check out some of our songs?” and he jumped on board. Then a week later we got Troy boy on board, as Dugan insisted that he was a good bass player. And that is how we all got together. We started playing from there and then started booking gigs and ever since then we have been doing what we are doing. That was early spring of last year, so it has only been a little over a year and a half now.
Reflecting back on this past year and a half, how have you guys grown?
Pickard: It has been nothing but happiness and love. This has really shown me that if you really put your love into something, give love to everyone around you and be a positive person, that positivity will come back to you. It has even brought me and my immediate family closer together, it has brought me and my friends closer together and obviously my band the closest together. I have watched so many people be so happy and it is a great thing to see that–we want to bring people happiness.
I really love watching people be happy when they get a drink or dance around and have some fun for the night when they’re off work and they want to go out and do something. We want them to be able to come out, enjoy a few drinks, see their friends, dance around and have fun. That is what we are here for.
When was your realization of, “Wow- this is actually going somewhere”?
Pickard: This summer is when I realized it. It has always been my dream to play music for a living. But I really felt like this past summer, instead of me calling places, places started calling me about gigs and I started getting gigs by other people calling me. I started realizing there is a demand for what we’re doing.
What is your favorite place to play?
Pickard: The coolest place I have ever gotten play was The Vogue in Broad Ripple because it is a beautiful room to play and it’s big. The sound is like a mile wide and playing on that stage is really nice. But I have to give love to the Mousetrap for giving us our platform and also Plumps. I have mad love for all of them.I also really loved the festivals we played at this summer. But everywhere in Indianapolis are places that really hone in on the music that we’re doing and show us nothing but love and support. They are all super caring and treat us well.
How did you become a drummer?
Pickard: I became a drummer when I was a really young boy and I heard John Fishman of Phish and Jon Bonham of Led Zeppelin play and started thinking, man I really want to do that! I remember when I was a kid and the first time I listened to Zeppelin ‘s Black Dog on my headphones laying in bed, and I was like, “Wow this is crazy. I want to be able to do that.” It seemed fun to me and ever since then my family has never been anything but supportive. I thank them so much because having a nine-year-old kid wanting to play the drums is going to have a time that’s a little obnoxious. So I appreciate them toughing it out.
What future plans do you guys have for your music?
Pickard: We are going to have our EP coming out this month–Mashed Up Vol. 1. We actually recorded it at Ball State. We are really excited about that. Then we are going to keep on doing what we are doing- keep booking gigs and hopefully more festivals for next summer.
Why are you naming the EP Mashed Up Vol. 1?
Pickard: Well you know, that is just for our friends. Our family of friends is all equally mashed up. They have been so supportive of us and have helped us get where we are at and been so far. It’s to them and how much we care about them.
For more information visit: http://fountainsquarebrewery.com/
The Floozies are an electro-funk band made up of two brothers, Mark Hill on the drums and Matt Hill on the guitar. Fusing digital production with instruments, this duo create sets remixing favorite songs along with originals. Coming from all the way from Kansas, the Floozies are ready to get rowdy this Friday at The Mousetrap.
Do you guys have anything special planned for Friday at the Mousetrap?
Mark Hill: Actually we do. We revamped a bunch of tracks. We basically remapped our live show so we can have a little more fun live. I am really excited about that. Also we are using the top box now, which we’ve only used a couple shows we did.
Why do you guys call yourselves the Floozies?
Hill: It’s just kind of a silly name and word my mom used when we were in college to talk about winning. We just tired of really serious electronic band names so we just went with a word we thought was funny and kind of described our vibe.
I read in your bio you guys don’t plan your sets or have set lists. How do you decide what to play?
Hill: Basically right before we go on, we just decide what we want to start with and from there we just kind of feed off the crowd. If the crowd doesn’t seem as rowdy we will play some lighter stuff just to ease them in. Or if the opening band was super heavy we might change it up and try to do something a little lighter. We just kind of wing it. I don’t know. There is not really any way to describe it; we just kind of do it as we go along.
Is there ever confusion between you, as the drummer, and your brother, as he chooses the tracks?
Hill: Very rarely. I wouldn’t necessarily say we always want to play the exact same song but very close. I don’t know we just have a very similar vision so I often know what he’s going to play before he plays it and vice versa. We have been doing this so long and we grew up together so we just have a connection musically so it makes that whole improve thing a lot easier.
Working with your brother, are there ever times where you fight?
Hill: Not really it’s actually great. If we do fight, which is very rare, it’s only because we’re strung out and tired from being on tour. But we get over it real quick because we are family and that’s what families do. They fight and get over it, unlike just playing with a friend where I could potentially never talk to them again. But yeah we don’t fight much, we never did. We were best friends growing up so that’s kept us together really well.
I know you guys played numerous festivals this summer, does playing at a bar or venues have effect on your sets as compared to a festival?
Hill: Daytime sets at a festival definitely lend themselves to a lot more jamming and taking it slower but depends on the crowd really. If the people are rowdy, then venues and festivals are very similar. I think the only difference is more of a day time set versus a night time set as far as musically goes. The experience is always different but musically we put it on similar in a sense.
Do you have a preference between venues or festivals?
Hill: I really love playing festivals because I have been going to festivals since I was young and I love the festival experience. But I do like playing in bars too because you are in and out. You get there, you play a rowdy set, you’re done and then you’re on to the next one. They both have their ups and downs. I think bars and venues can be rowdier but it goes both ways. I like being at festivals a lot and I do love festival season.
Did you have a favorite festival this summer?
Hill: I’m not that into comparing things because I think each has its own great unique experience but as far as like general weather and great people Electric Forest was a great one for me. I had never been. The weather was really pretty and there were great people. If you haven’t been to Electric Forest, it’s crazy. There are wild people everywhere on stilts with decorations that will blow your mind. It’s a really strange but beautiful place.
What future plans do you have for your music?
Hill: We are about to drop a new album and we are about to do a Griz tour where we are about to be in his tour bus all over the East coast so that is our immediate plan.
How many times have you heard “I Can’t Stop” or “Bass Cannon” get dropped in the middle of an EDM set? Since 2010, electronic DJs have been routinely remixing “I can’t stop,” including Flux Pavilion himself, who just this year released, “I still can’t stop.”
Flux Pavilion, known as Joshua Steele to his friends and family, will be stopping in Indy this Thursday at the Egyptian Room in the Old National Centre. Since his last stop in Indy, Flux has released a new album, Blow the Roof, which other DJs instantly began remixing. His dance hits like “Make Your Body Wanna” will bring out the groove in anyone.
Known for crunchy bass lines, his newest album took a few risks with collaborations. The hit “Do or Die” bridges the genre gap of hip-hop and electronic by featuring rapper Childish Gambino and people loved it.
Flux blew up in the dubstep craze and since then he has kept his title as one of the biggest names in EDM. His infamous bleached blonde hair is as recognizable in the EDM world as Steve Aoki’s black silky locks.
Flux Pavillion was one of the first DJs to begin calling his music dubstep and selling out shows. He has always shown Indianapolis love and this Thursday will be nothing less.
And when the show is over and you want to keep raging, head over to the after party at the Mousetrap for Altered Thurzadaze with Kodama, Indigo Child, Jin-Xs and Neighbz.
North Coast’s lineup is always top of the game and they always offer some of the most-wanted headliners in electronic, hip-hop and jam scenes. North Coast was the only recent Midwest event to headline popular jamtronic East coast band, the Disco Biscuits. They also are the only recent Midwest event that has brought together all members of Wutang.
The cityscape decorates the background of the main stage area. The Dos Equis stage offers a rare sight in the concrete paradise of Chicago, green grass. The trees are ornamented with art installations that reflect the stage lights.
There was a slight overlap of noise between the stages, but festival designers filled these areas with vendors and enough port-a-potties that you didn’t have to wait in line more than 10 minutes.
Friday was shut down early then resumed at 8 p.m. with a revised schedule. I caught some of Paper Diamond, then explored the festival and watched part of Mac Miller, whose live performance was better than I had expected. The Disco Biscuits headlined the Last Stand stage with a psychedelic laser show that beamed shapes into the fog above the crowd and through the trees.
Saturday, I wandered vendors and ate a deluxe grilled cheese loaded with mac and cheese, smothered in garlic and delicious enough to make me crave another right now. I liked the vendor selection; I even met a hula-hoop vendor fairy who trimmed rough edges from the carelessly made hoop I had purchased online.
I stayed at the North and Coast stages all day watching Future Rock to Gramatik to Nas and finally Big Gigantic. Gramatik and Big Gigantic are the two main reasons I wanted to go to North Coast and being two of my favorite DJs, Saturday was my most anticipated day.
Sunday’s schedule allowed me to sleep in. Starting at 4:30 p.m., I was kept busy running between stages. I went from a heavy-trance set by Emancipator, crunchy dubstep by Datsik, a dance party by A-trak, and reggae rock by Rebelution.
The first time all weekend that I went to the Dos Equis Stage for my one of my favorite up-and-coming electronic pop bands, Cherub. This was the third time I had seen them all summer and their North Coast set was more DJ-mixer style, adding new sounds, rather than just the same songs from their one album.
Then I got to see Purity Ring live for my first time and into Wutang. I watched Wutang rally the crowd for a while then walked to the Last Stang Stage to see Lotus, only to be interrupted by an announcement of evacuation of the venue. Strong winds swept leaves through the streets of the city, but nothing stronger than a few minutes of sprinkles ever dropped from the sky.
Sunday night was packed with after-party options and I was grateful one of those was Future Rock and Lotus at Concord Music Hall. Even though it was a sold out show, my friends without tickets were able to find extras and we were able to get close to the stage with enough elbowroom to dance.
The venue felt like a sauna but Lotus’s set was my favorite act all weekend. Their rhythms spell my mind with bliss, forgetting the heat, arms in the air with a wide smile on my face. Their music evokes emotions but allows you to make your own interpretation without lyrics.
The new Concord Music Hall seems to be the new Congress Theater, which was shut down earlier this summer due to building violations. They don’t have strict rules for light up gloves and hula-hoops, but it doesn’t hold as many people. If you can get a balcony spot, you can watch over the entire show with an easily accessed bar behind you.
Saturday at the Concord, I watched over Disco Biscuit’s picturesque lasers from the balcony. But Sunday for Lotus, I had to be in the lights, and watching Lotus I felt like they saved the best for last to close out North Coast weekend.
Comparing North Coast to the other Chicago music festivals, I was reminded why North Coast is my favorite one. There are a lot of people, but it isn’t overcrowded. You can actually dance around with your friends, hula-hoop, spin poi, nap on a blanket, trade kandi bracelets and whatever else the festie kids do. It’s a melting pot of rave kids wearing their neon and heady kids with pins on their hats.
This Labor Day weekend, Chicago’s North Coast Music Festival will take over Union Park once again. Music festival season is coming to an end and North Coast has deemed themselves as “summer’s last stand.”
North Coast is a day festival featuring mostly electronic music and DJ sets but offers a few sets from top hip-hop acts and jam bands as well.
Often times overlapping set times is a problem at these big-name festivals, but if you plan accordingly you can most-likely catch the missed acts at an after party. The distance between the stages isn’t unbearable either, so walking to catch different sets is actually possible.
Three-day passes to the festival have sold out but you can still order single day tickets on the official website.
Of course when the music ends at 10pm, you will not want to quit raging. Thankfully there are numerous after parties being offered all around Chicago at various clubs and venues. This includes the new Concord Theater, which opened last weekend but is calling their North Coast after parties their big debut. They will have headliners Passion Pit for Friday, The Disco Biscuits for Saturday and finally Lotus for Sunday.
Friday’s headliners are The Disco Biscuits, Passion Pit and Mac Miller. Some other acts you won’t want to miss are Paper Diamond and the Werks.
Saturday makes you choose between Afrojack and Big Gigantic to close out the night. For electronic fans, this will be a tough choice. Don’t worry; there is always the option to see Afrojack at The Mid in Chicago for an after party. Saturday also has Nas, Gramatik, Future Rock, Skream, Conspirator and many more.
And finally Sunday will feature Wu-Tang-Clan and Lotus. If you are looking into getting a day pass, Sunday seems to be fully loaded. Sunday has Purity Ring, Cherub, A-track, Rebelution, Datsik, Midnight Conspiracy, Emancipator, and more.
If you want to find your friends in the crowd, unlike some festivals, North Coast actually allows rage sticks and flag poles. The weather forecast is looking clear and hot, but if you can’t make it out North Coast is offering free streaming of the festival on their website.