Krewella, EDM's Sister Act, on their Sophomore Album and Finding their Voice
Krewella's Jahan Yousaf, 24, is part of a generation that tweets almost as a reflex. She and her sister Yasmine, 22, have spent the last two years sharing constant updates on the music they make with Kris "Rain Man" Trindl, and along the way have built a dedicated fan base that helped their first album, "Get Wet," debut at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 last September. When something crosses Jahan's mind, you know about it. In February, she tweeted about tour stops in Belgium, her concern about the unrest in Venezuela, and this: "i get drunk to remind myself that i don't need to be drunk."
But that was February. In early March Jahan announced that she was pulling the plug on her social media profiles. Tweeting was competing for time with work on Krewella's sophomore album. And so she logged off.
"My decision to abstain from social media kind of reminds me of my place," she says. "I'm not going to let technology control me. Technology is beautiful but a lot of people have started to use it in a very ugly way."
"You're not supposed to be living in the virtual world," adds Yasmine Yousaf. "To be in a room filled with other people and still be alone -- that's not the point of living."
Krewella's music is all about connecting physically. "Alive," which climbed to No. 32 on the Billboard Hot 100, and "Get Wet"'s first single, "Live for the Night," are full-bodied anthems, armed with partying credos. The band's Get Wet Tour featured a state-of-the art stage rig called "The Volcano," made of multitiered platforms and light-reflective panels designed to showcase the Yousaf sisters -- two of the few female artists in a male-dominated genre -- as rocking frontwomen as well as DJs amid a flurry of lights and sound.
Krewella's success has come from its ability to maintain dance credibility despite undeniable pop leanings, making it all the more accessible to an audience that is largely too young for nightclubbing. With hook-laden toplines and EDM beats, "Get Wet" resonated with an audience eager to sing (or scream) along to declarations of self-worth and earnest exorcisms of angst. In turn, the group's fans have shared their own feelings and experiences with Krewella backstage after shows and -- of course -- through social media.
"Sometimes it's a bit of a weight on your shoulders to share these experiences with all these people," confesses Yasmine. "But at the same time your music is there for them no matter what. We write our songs about these people, about their situations, their happiness, their sadness, everything."
"This next album definitely has a clear vision, and our fans have inspired that," adds Jahan. "I think it stands for something that has meaning, and I think it's something that no one in the dance community is singing about. The most important thing is to not feel like we are artists on a pedestal. Modern music has always assumed this subject/object relationship between the fan and artist. We really feel like we're on the same level as our fans. We don't want our fans to feel like they're in the margins."
"It feels good to have a voice," says Yasmine. "Whether or not I'm still finding that voice, it feels good to know that I'm doing something good with it."