DJ Sargon & Mark
The band splits their time between live gigs, studio work and
DJ’ing with the latter providing an opportunity to spread
the word of Kraak & Smaak around the globe without the logistical
problems of flying a 7 man band. DJ Sargon, a long time collaborator
of the band is an addition to the K&S crew for the DJ shows
and brings an extra element to these shows which are generally handled
by either Mark or Wim.
Addictive as their name is the future
funk music from Oscar de Jong, Mark Kneppers and Wim Plug, aka KRAAK
& SMAAK. These Netherlands natives actually got their group's
name from an old Dutch proverb, not any controlled substances, in
case you were wondering. Their debut album, "Boogie Angst"
is a slinky adventure into funked up breaks and future jazz rhythms,
infused with organic live-sounding instruments and awash with soul
jumping grooves and vocals. One listen and you'll be wanting more...
Twenty-eight-year-old Oscar De Jong, the main knob twiddler in Kraak
& Smaak, formed the group in 2003 after a series of chance meetings
with the other two. From his exposure to endless types of music
as a student at the Music Conservatory in Rotterdam, he now cites
his influences as jazz, hip-hop, funk, breakbeat and "all experimental
music." It’s something the other two relate to and have
used to help create the musical synergy and energy-charged live
shows that have been winning European audiences over ever since.
DJfix.com wanted to know more! We asked, and here's what Kraak
& Smaak had to say:
DJfix: How did you three first meet and what made
you decide to make music together?
Kraak & Smaak: Mark and Wim know each other
from when they first started dj-ing, almost twenty years ago. Since
that time they always stayed in touch. A couple of years ago, hearing
that he was already producing music, they met up with Oscar, who
at that time had a side job in a bar for a while next to his Conservatory
study. From then on we just started out, trying if it would work.
Our first demo's were immediately picked up and after a few EPs
and remixes the idea came to make a whole album.
Your name is very unique! What's it from?
It’s the name of Wim’s former one man DJ firm, which
was already there before the act. When we sent around a couple of
demo tracks to British dance labels we used it as a header for the
accompanying letter. The label that signed us, Jalapeno Records,
was so thrilled by the name they wanted to keep it as a band name.
It originally is a Dutch proverb meaning "crunchy & tasty."
How did you learn to how to produce music/play musical instruments?
Oscar is our main engineer and musician - he studied at the Conservatory.
Mark and Wim originate from the DJ culture. They have been playing
for nearly 20 years and are passionate record collectors. Together
they probably own one of the biggest record collections in Holland!
Because we have different backgrounds but are open to each others
comments it brings the whole K&S thing to a different, higher
How would you describe your music to someone who’s never
heard you before?
You could say that it is a dance album you can listen to as well.
It has an atmosphere that works two ways. You could dance to it
in a club but also listen to it in a car or at home during a party.
It is new 'now' music but it also takes from the past - both vintage
and fresh; so very post-modern!
What software and hardware (and instruments) did you use in
recording your album?
We have a small studio that includes a digital mixer (Mackie), a
sampler (EMU 6400 Ultra) and an old Atari (Atari TT030!) we use
for sequencing with an early version of Cubase. For the album we
used a Fender Rhodes MK2, a Hohner Clavinet E7, the Clavia Nordlead
2, the Roland JP8000, the Juno 6, the Korg MS10 and the Waldorf
XT and the Waldorf Pulse. And of course turntables to play records
for finding samples and for making radio mixes. In one way or the
other it seems to give us the sound we’re looking for.
Where do you like to go out to hear music for fun – what’s
it like there and what kind of music is it?
Unfortunately we're not the clubbers anymore that we used to be:
we have to play all the time! But as we have good connections with
a local record and cd store (which Mark partly owns) in Leiden we
don't miss out on anything. Besides that we sometimes hang out in
a local bar or visit the odd dj gig or live concert once in a while.
We like all kinds of stuff, jazz, soundtracks, new wave, classical,
hip hop, electro, etc. Oscar hugely digs Gnarls Barkley and Annie
at the moment, Mark's into Jose Gonzalez a lot and Wim recently
plays Madlib's Beat Konducta Vol 1-2 and Arthur Russell in the car
stereo. Besides we dig dance stuff like Solid Groove, the Fingerlickin´
crew, the GAMM label, etc. etc.
What inspires you when you get in the studio to make a track?
For us it all starts with a good sample, some nice chords or a well-constructed
phat drum loop. Some of these samples are not necessarily used in
the end product but they get us going!
Do you have or have you had other music releases or projects/bands?
Wim not but Oscar and Mark already released two house 12"s
on a Dutch label and Mark is also in a very popular Dutch retro
DJ act that brings together party classics, children's tunes and
silly games in which the crowd can participate.
If you could walk in somewhere, anywhere in the world, and
hear your music playing, where would that ultimate dream location
Hmmmm, difficult! Maybe playing 'Money in the Bag' in the stadium
when Holland wins the Soccer World Cup! (fat chance...;)
What’s up next for Kraak & Smaak?
We have just finished a couple of remixes for Bitter:Sweet and Zeroleen
on our American label Quango, Fort Knox Five and for Lack of Afro
on the extremely hip London-based label Freestyle Records. Our new
single 'Keep me Home', with remixes from 4Hero and Soul of Man has
just been released under the Quango flag in the US as well. And
last year we provided score for a Dutch movie that was released
earlier this year and made remixes for Jamiroquai, Chris Joss and
Skeewiff. We are working on new material for a 2nd album but we
have also been very busy with our live band and with DJing in Europe,
Australia and the States.
For more info check out www.kraaksmaak.com
Check out our main page
& archives (and future features) for more Ibiza DJ interviews