Pleasurekraft by now is a household name in dance music. It would be an understatement to say that Kalle and Kaveh has been around the block. They lay claim to some of underground dance music's most successful songs of all time. Self-described as "our most famous track," "Tarantula" was actually one of the top all-time bestsellers on Beatport, competing in a world of many Tiestos and Martin Garrixs.
Their latest track, "Troller", actually bears a name you might expect to hear out of the Garrix camp, but in reality it reflects their light-hearted nature and their approach to what can be an inherently negative environment surrounding electronic music. "Being part of this business, the bigger you get, the more haters you get, and you can't please everybody. At some point you just have to thicken your skin, smile, and move forward with what you want to do," admits Kaveh. "Everyone has an opinion to express these days and a platform to express it on. This time we said, instead of just making a record and putting it out, why don't we be the most self-deprecating ones at all. Let's call this 'Troller' and lets invite everyone to troll it. I thought we were going to get some really negative comments, but it wasn't even that bad. I guess people liked the track…"
The guys recently put out a Cadenza podcast as well, which is truly one of the most intelligently curated and creatively conceived mix series in the world. Each guest drops not one but two mixes, mysteriously coined a 'Source' and a 'Cycle' mix. Strangely, the nature of the mixes could not be more different. "Hour one (Cycle) was a fair representation of what you might do in a club. Hour two, however—the world is your oyster. In fact, we had made another version of the Source hour, but it was more emotional and honestly too depressing. Since it was coming out as spring was beginning to take shape, we decided to do something more fun and out of the box. That's why there's a Snoop record, a Ying Yang Twins record we worked on, and we even ended it on a Pink Floyd record."
Kaveh is no stranger to creative endeavours like Cadenza's Source mix. He studied film in college and explains that he "still has some film-related ventures on the back burner for when there's time." Funnily enough, film and music are the two things that keep him grounded. It's obvious which one landed him in this interview.
Through it all, the boys behind the Pleausurekraft moniker have accomplished arguably the hardest feat in dance music today—staying relevant. From the glory days to the more recent five-star remixes for Josh Butler, Cajmere, and Pete Tong, the production duo has managed to retain every lick of respect from an underground music culture that has evolved so much over the years. In Toronto at least, Pleasurekraft in many ways acted as a metaphorical 'bridge' into underground music from a more mainstage likening. Those anthems from the pre-2011 era turned many ears away from a slowly dying progressive house genre. From there, these new underground journeymen grew to open their arms to the heaviest techno, the grooviest tech-house, and darkest deep house. The feedback from the fans is somewhat similar.
"I actually hear that all the time," he explained. "To me it's a wonderful thing to be able to turn people on to an entire new set of subgenres that they otherwise may not have stumbled upon. I'm not taking full credit for that and were not the only artists to have done something like that, but I think it's great."
His older, more celebrated tracks have made them so successful outside of the underground. The reasoning for which seems to be an easy answer for Kaveh. "The hook. Hooks don't generally go with underground music. The presence of a hook caught people who were maybe more tuned to EDM culture. They had never heard catchy underground music before." It's a good point. By adding that element of differentiation from most 2010 tech-house in circulation, the boys stood out. "Some of it was very formulaic, very circular and not much was happening. That was boring, it still is boring for the most part. We didn't set out to be that gateway drug into the underground, it just kind of happened. I'm happy to be one of the artists carrying that torch," says Kaveh.
There are future travel plans that include Toronto. In fact, Kaveh has a ton of love for Toronto, both personally and musically. He grew up with family in the city, and visited all the time growing up. He's also played shows at some of our most famous clubs and festivals, from Coda, to Sound Academy, to VELD. He's even set to release The Junkies and Nathan Barato on Kraftek before the year-end. "I'm still waiting to get Drake—all we need from him is one word and we're good to go. We'll be sitting at Billboard number one," he jokes.
As for his upcoming set at Coda in Toronto, Kaveh says that no one should expect to hear very much of "the old stuff." His reasoning is, in a way, very symbolic of the role that Pleasurekraft has played in dance music over the years. "To the people we converted all those years ago and the new people who may not know us yet, it's always the same—now that you're here, pull up a chair, and get comfortable. Let us expand your horizons just a bit more."