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Kraak Smaak interview

  KRAAK & SMAAK

photo: michelmees.com





























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 level.

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 be?

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 and on
MySpace: http://profile.myspace.com/kraaksmaak

Thank you!

Check out our main page & archives (and future features) for more Ibiza DJ interviews from Nikki.

 

 

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