KEYS N KRATES

While it may look that way on stage, nothing is ever simple with Keys N Krates. Not when everyone has an equally valid opinion, along with the willingness (no, the all-consuming need) to sit and scrutinize a hearty 808 hit or laser like synth line for hours on end.

It’s been this way since the very beginning, when Keys N Krates went from being a live hip-hop band reliant on rough acapellas and memory-jogging remixes to something much more complex – a tight-knit trio of producers/performers – Turntablist Jr Flo, Keyboard player David Matisse, drummer Adam Tune – who take rocking a party as seriously as a week spent in the studio. “We always trade roles from song to song,” explains Jr. Flo. “It’s not uncommon for Matisse to flip a sample, or for me to write a melody, or for Tune to chime in on the mixing of a track. It’s not the fastest way of working, but everyone has a say in everything.”

Which explains why their breakthrough singles (the elastic loops and diamond-edged drums of “Dum Dee Dum,” the head rush hooks of “Treat Me Right,” a frantic, D’n’B-flavored “Are We Faded”) are able to pull the strings of packed festival crowds without resorting to tired EDM tropes. Hip-hop, house and UK bass music all play a role in a Keys N Krates record, but so do the dark-tinged dynamics and widescreen ways of indie acts like Caribou and M83. “Seeing M83 live at the Osheaga festival changed our whole perception of how their music translates live,” says Jr. Flo. “The chord progressions are beautiful and catchy but never corny. It’s pop music at its best.”