With the dust still settling after the massive Metronome mix the Austrian duo known as Camo & Krooked dropped on us, we thought we would return to the streets where it all began before they turn their full attention to this Friday’s Bassrush Massive at the Hollywood Palladium.
Best known for delivering top-notch, high-energy drum & bass across the board, the crew also have a not-so-secret love of skateboarding that continues to shape and drive their ever-evolving sound. The intersection of bass and skate culture should come as no surprise for those who have been grinding it out on the streets as long as Camo & Krooked have, their own unique and energetic take on the drum & bass sound providing an ideal soundtrack for late-night, cross-city excursions on a board.
So, as the Bassrush fam gear up in preparation for a night of full-bore liquid, minimal, deep, dancefloor, neurofunk, and even hip-hop and glitch-hop beats to be dropped on them, we touch down with Krooked to get a sense of how the energy of skateboarding and drum & bass come together in often surprising ways.
Not many people know but skateboarding is actually what brought you two together. Looking back, how do you see that foundation as having informed your creative evolution?
Yes, we actually met at a skate contest after-party where Camo was playing. It wasn’t too long until we realized that we had similar taste and interest in music production as well, so we decided to work together on some tunes. Even before we knew each other, skateboarding and music had always been a part of our lives and so many connections between skating and the world of music seemed natural, especially when it came to lessons like never giving up before you achieve your goals and “no pain, no gain.”
Skateboarding not only requires a tremendous amount of mental and physical ability, but at its very best seems to demand a level of extreme focus; is that something that carries over into the DJ/production side of things?
The thing I love about DJing is that you don’t have a twisted ankle when you turn a knob the wrong way around! But playing a set does take a lot of energy and needs focus as you want to get every mix 100% clean the way you want to roll away after a flawless trick with a big smile. It is the best feeling when you produce a tune or land a trick to the best of your abilities, no matter how long it takes!
In many ways, you can compare a D&B banger to a big-looking trick over a mega-ramp, whilst the minimalistic tune is more like the curb/manual wizard; doing the hardest tricks in both settings are usually only skills that another skater/producer will be able to appreciate to the fullest. When it comes to playing sets, I’m glad it’s not as dangerous as riding a contest run, but when you stop the wrong tune that’s playing it can be like bailing a trick in your run which might make it hard to get back into the flow. Gladly that doesn’t happen too often at the shows!
Your musical taste and knowledge spans so many genres—what keeps you coming back to the drum & bass side of things?
We definitely love digging into different genres but what always brings us back to D&B is the urge to create something new. When you are influenced by the genre you are producing you may tend to copy your favorite tunes rather than create a new hybrid, so we try to carry influences from a big variety of genres back into D&B and the sound of Camo & Krooked in general, hoping to create something unique.
Are you still able to work skating in to your day-to-day life? Any plans to get out and rock a session on the boards when you’re in town this week?
Skateboarding is part of our daily life routine, but it’s rather to get the head free between studio time than getting new tricks done. Unfortunately we only have one night in Los Angeles on the tour so we won’t have time to hit the parks, but we plan to come back for a longer period in the wintertime hopefully! Spots we would love to check out would include the Stoner Skate Plaza and perhaps even a peek into The Berrics park.
What’s one trick you’ve never mastered that you would love to be able to pull off before you get too old?
I guess there is no special trick I could think about. Skateboarding for me nowadays is about having fun and meeting friends, and feeling super happy when I’m still able to pull off some combos I used to have on lock five years ago.
Before we go, there are rumors you’ve been working with TC on something and I imagine you’re already at work on the next album; give us a sense of what other projects you’ve got cooking in the lab!
At the moment we are deep in the works for our next album, which will follow a more musical, organic and minimal path. The tune we did with TC was a fun dancefloor banger we made on a weekend. We will probably release it for free soon so keep an eye out for that one!