We are in such a transitional time in the dance music community. Recently, we are seeing more and more artists of different genders, cultures, and races make their way into the spotlight. Given that the dance music community is so diverse, we think it’s amazing that we are beginning to see the same diversity in the artists topping the charts. We can confidently say that it is the evolution of EDM, and we are beyond grateful to be a part of it. Therefore, we are happy to announce that this is the first interview of a new series of empowering women in the dance music community!
We believe that there is no better group to start this series off than two ladies who have been paving the way since the early 2000s. This week, we had the chance to connect with the sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf, also known as Krewella. The Pakistani-American unstoppable duo has rocked the stage worldwide; including festivals like Coachella, Tomorrowland, Lollapalooza, EDC Las Vegas, Ultra Music Festival, iHeartRadio Music Festival, Storm (China), and more. They have been a staple of the EDM music scene in Las Vegas holding residencies at major clubs such as OMNIA, Hakkasan, and The LIGHT. Additionally, they have orchestrated their own international tours showcasing their unique sound and exciting stage presence.
All that being said, one of the most impressive parts of their journey has been that through it all, they have always prioritized their fans. Their loving fan base, “the krew”, is multicultural, gender-inclusive, and completely based on love and unity. When the pandemic hit, Krewella had to cancel all shows and meet and greets. They wanted to make sure that they were still supporting their fans during this troubling time. So, it only made sense that they began a partnership with one of the most interactive and genuine platforms, Twitch.
Today, at 1:00pm PT, Krewella is releasing their first episode in a series that allows them to share their story, music, and real-time interaction with their fans. As we all know, Twitch has taken over the EDM world with their sharing of live streams during the pandemic. But, Twitch can do much more than just that. The platform allows artists to authentically connect with their fans through real-time content and chatting.
Krewella is planning on using their partnership with Twitch to do four scheduled streams a month, with impromptu streams in between. As they described it, they are planning a deep dive into their discography by sharing unreleased demos, interacting with fans, and going through their old journals and diaries. We are beyond excited to see what they will do. We can’t hype this innovative way of connecting with the artists enough, so we will let Krewella take it from here!
EDM Maniac: Today, you released your exclusive partnership with Twitch. Can you give us some background on what you plan your channel to be like? What kind of content are you planning to release?
Krewella: So much of this will center around our daily lives in quarantine here in LA, making and listening to music, interacting with our fans in ways we’ve never been able to before, and the cathartic process of using creativity to get through these strange times. Certain conversations like our discography deep dive are aspects of our 10+ year career that the krew has been asking for and we can’t wait to unfold all the ways we’ll be connecting with people around the world through our music, from goofy to emotive to hopefully inspiring. Stay tuned and to anyone reading this with suggestions or requests for content, please send them our way!
EDM Maniac: What do your fans mean to you and what do you want to give back to them?
Krewella: Our core fans, AKA “the krew,” have given us unwavering support through our artistic evolution, lulls in our music releases, long periods of absence on social media, and now, during a year that has presented more loss than ever before. When I think of what the krew means to me, I feel a sense of encouragement, empowerment, & energetic connection. As I become more myself, even if that looks, sounds, or feels evolved from a fan’s initial introduction to Krewella, my fear of expressing myself in a different way is eclipsed by reassurance from fans that they will love & support us through our growth. I believe that self-love and respect, embodying compassion, authentic expression, and aligning our hearts with our actions in the world is the most genuine and fruitful way humans beings can “give back.”. And that will look different for everyone.
EDM Maniac: For those who don’t know, can you give us some background on what you would describe your music as? What did it begin as and how has it developed over the years?
Krewella: If you know us from inception, you’ll understand that the journey has taken us from electro house to dubstep to DnB, all sprinkled with a healthy dose of ethnic/world, pop, pop-punk, hip hop, metal, and so many other influences along the way. Having our hands on every bit of the music creation and our vocals have been the thread throughout the entirety of our career, and we’re just thankful our long-time and new fans have been present and open to the evolution of sound we’ve brought to the table. We’ll never lose where we came from but where we’re going is usually always going to push the limits of what we’ve done in the past.
EDM Maniac: In 2012, you had your EP “Play Hard”, rise to the top of the Billboard’s records chart. What was that like for you? Was this the moment when you knew you had “made it”?
Krewella: Shit was unfolding for us at warp speed during this time. We were on the come up, not yet having had a pinnacle “I made it” moment, but sensing that the stars were finally aligning. Our calendars were piling up with shows and studio sessions, with relentless twitter-ing in our free time, while waiting in airport security lines or on post-show sleepless nights. Being noticed by major labels, and ultimately signing with Columbia, definitely solidified a sense of security and confidence that our journey to form the group and hone in on our craft up to that point was validated, in the eyes of those who have ears for what could be a “commercial” success. While we are grateful for the opportunity to be invested in and believed in on that scale in the industry, our choice to return to independence has re-defined what “making it” means to us.
EDM Maniac: What advice do you have for other women entering the industry?
Krewella: As a society, we are incredibly disengaged from our intuition & inner nature. There are pressures in this industry, whether that be from a toxic media culture or imbalanced power dynamics within agencies, that can mislead and distract a woman from her deeper knowledge of how she is meant to express herself, stand up for herself, & set boundaries for herself. Align yourself with professionals who not only care about your financial goals but your physical and emotional well-being. Align yourself with peers who appreciate and encourage your raw essence, and unique form of artistry. Most of all, align yourself with what your heart truly yearns to create. And that requires diligence & discipline to know when to go inward, rather than solely looking to external content for what your style and sound should reflect. If the shit I just said above doesn’t resonate, go read “Woman Who Run With Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. It will awaken a force within you.
EDM Maniac: You also mentioned that you were raised Muslim, how did that affect your childhood life? What have you learned from it? How has it influenced your view on your career and life now?
Krewella: Much like being raised in a household with any other religion present, our parents had the help of Islam to guide us in morals, ethics, the value of self, the meaning of struggle, and the respect of the humans around you. As we’ve grown older and not practicing religion as strictly, these pieces haven’t left us and will travel through life with us as we continue to navigate our personal and professional lives. Outside of being raised Muslim, our ethnic background and the general Pakistani or desi culture we were immersed in from childhood has imprinted everything from our music-making to fashion taste. It’s created so much depth in our lives and we’re honored to bring a piece of it to the world through our art!
EDM Maniac: There seems to be a pinnacle moment that sticks out in every raver’s mind that symbolizes the dance music community to them. Do you have a moment like that? What is an experience from a festival, either as an attendee or performer, that you will never forget?
Krewella: As a senior in high school, I went with a friend to an Armin van Buuren show and it was terribly confusing (to someone who came from the indie rock/pop-punk world) but also fucking thrilling. I’d been to other dance shows but it wasn’t anywhere near the rave level of a trance show at the legendary – but unfortunately now closed – Congress theatre in Chicago. From there Jahan, Kris, and I would experience so many more shows at that venue, notably an insane Rusko one, that displayed the sort of bravado but with a massive heart that an electronic show brings with lights, production, and sound that feels like none other. Thinking back on these moments lights me up and still inspires me, over 10 years later.
EDM Maniac: What has the 2020 quarantine been like for you? How has it affected your career?
Krewella: 2020 has been a mixed bag of emotions. A lot of uncomfortable lessons through the growing pains of “slowing down”, but most of all, blessings. Blessings for our health, close proximity to family, consistent support of fans, and developing a deeper relationship to self. Obviously touring came to a complete standstill, and because of this, like most of our peers in this industry, we’ve reinvented how we show up for fans. Something we’re super proud of is the live show experience we produced and aired with Insomniac. Never before have we been able to give fans all around the world a taste of what it would be like at a Krewella show, free to watch, at any time. There seems to be an element of virtual unity that I have observed, now that more fans from all corners of the world are connecting with each other online during the pandemic. I most of all feel grateful that I’m in a position of agency where I can make, or not make, career choices based on my values, desire, and state of mind. Took a pandemic to realize I function better when I get 8 hours of sleep 😉
EDM Maniac: How has it affected you personally? How has your mental health been?
Krewella: As much as there’ve been highs and lows with some serious mood swings day to day, finally being in one place, HOME, for such a long period of time feels like a dream. I’m so grateful when I wake up in my bed, open my fridge to food that will nourish me, with the California sun filtering through my windows each morning. Yes, I’m not proud to admit I’ve had some INSANE moments during this pandemic. But what better environment to sort through your baggage than a place you feel safe to do so? Trust me though, when it’s safe to do so again, playing shows will feel better than it ever has. Til then……!!!EDM Maniac: How have you been filling the time?
Krewella: Cooking elaborate meals, giving our dog the non-rushed walks she deserves, drawing, writing, meditating, biking, hiking, checking off the never-ending list of films-to-watch, reading more than ever.
EDM Maniac: Do you have any words of motivation or advice for our followers?
Krewella: I’ve met some people that will be friends for life, thanks to social media. I’ve watched online interviews and read posts that introduced a new frame of mind to look at an issue. Sometimes I’ll simply get a good laugh, or a sense of relaxing enjoyment out of the content I’m consuming. Whether we’re here to connect, share, collaborate, or get inspired from this very powerful tool, I can’t stress enough how important it is to observe how you use it. This has been an ongoing struggle for me. When I catch myself putting personal goals on the back burner due to my internet habits, or consuming content that diminishes my self-worth through unconscious comparison, I remind myself that what I give my attention to shapes my entire being. Kind of like that whole idea of “you are what you eat.” In that very moment, it is an act of self-love to turn the phone on airplane mode when I catch myself stalking my ex in bed. Okay, enough transparency. Basically, the moral of the story is sleep is essential, and don’t let that blue light fuck up your body’s natural rhythm.
If we weren’t already superfans of Krewella before, we certainly would be now. These boundary-breaking women are an inspiration to the dance music community, and we cannot wait to watch them grow as artists, in every sense of the word. Make sure to check out their Twitch channel to get to know them better, hear the amazing work they have been doing, and maybe even get some one-on-one attention from these superstars!
Featured Photo Krewella