Kraak and Smaak are a trio of music makers and booty shakers from the Dutch town of Leiden, a town that is known for sending the Pilgrims to Massachusetts in the 17th century, and for birthing trance demi-God Armin van Buuren. Oscar de Jong, Mark Kneppers and Wim Plug have been making some of the funkiest festival jams around for the last decade and have ignited crowds with their high energy live shows at festivals and venues across the globe. They've been penned not only as stellar producers but also as one of those "must see live bands" that captures the mind, body, and soul with their high-energy performances.
Kraak and Smaak just released their fourth studio album Chrome Waves and it's jam packed with eleven tracks of their signature brand of electro-funkyness and includes some awesome guest vocalists such as Ben Westbeech, of recent Breach fame. The dudes were nice enough to not only supply all of us THUMPers with an album stream but also took the time to answer some questions about essential DJ travel items, favorite edibles and those special things from their hometown that they just can't live without. So lock into to their new album and get ready to Kraak, Smaak and pop!
THUMP: How did the name of your group come about? Is it just a play on words with a Dutch twist?
Kraak and Smaak: It's a twisted Dutch proverb, and within this context it means "crunchy and tasty." When we started out we sent around demos to various European labels and used it as a letter header. Jalapeno Records, the label that signed us—and we are still signed to—liked it so much we decided to keep it as our name.
You guys are from Leiden in the Netherlands. What are three things from Leiden that you hold most dear to your hearts?
The dunes and the North Sea, which is only a couple of miles away; the old city centre of Leiden, which is much alike Amsterdam but smaller; the yearly festivities on October 3 which celebrate the end of the Spanish siege of Leiden in 1574 (yes, it's a little while ago, we know). It's such an important local event that even international DJ megastar Armin van Buuren (also a Leiden native) drops by every year to play.
Best festival experience. Go.
Playing on the Detroit Music Festival was really cool; right in the city centre and below these staggering GM towers… wow. Afterwards we took a cab to Detroit's outskirts, to an old rollerskate rink where Moodymann played old boogie funk and disco records in between the locals. Really cool.
Worst festival experience. Go.
We got booked for a one-off, big capacity open air festival on New Year's Eve in New-Zealand—more or less at the end of the world from where we're living—only to find out we were DJing very early, and nobody showed up. Well, there were ten or so people.
Who's been your favorite person to work with on a track?
Lately we have been working a lot with Sam Duckworth, of Get Cape Wear Cape Fly fame. He's on our current single, "Good For The City," and he is an absolute pleasure to work with. Very relaxed, a good songwriter, a nice, typical UK indie voice. We are already recording more songs with him, we'll definitely release more collabs in the future.
Who would be your dream guest vocalist on a track?
David Bowie would be kinda nice but Arcade Fire beat us to it, so no fun in that anymore.
What are some of your favorite things to do when you're not performing or making music?
Classic album cover embroidery.
If you had to live on one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
White beans in tomato sauce—canned.
What are your essential DJ travel items?
An iPhone power cable, earplugs and the strongest suitcase you can find.
Being from the Netherlands are you guys fans of hardstyle and gabber?
Of course; once in a while we shave our heads, put on our Australian tracksuits and go mental to Technohead's classic "I Want To Be a Hippy"
David is 99% sure he's been to the Netherlands @DLGarber