Greg Dawson, the band's DJ who goes by the name Jr. Flo, said they were anxious to stretch beyond homogenized dance music that "sounds great in the club with a big system" but fails to remain special when listeners are at home, jamming to music with an iPod. The new EP is a deeper dive.
"It's dark, heavy and emotional, and that's what we were going for," he said in a phone interview from Toronto. "We love club music, but the best club music has a life at home, too."
Drummer Adam Tune, keyboardist David Matisse and Jr. Flo founded Keys N Krates in 2008. They've been called a trap band, but that's a bit of an oversimplification. Their music has flickers of jamtronica, a sound often associated with jazz-influenced DJs like Big Gigantic or GRiZ, mixed with glitch-hop scratches and sweeping bass, like TNGHT or Break Science. Hip hop is always their jumping off point, Matisse said, because it lends a certain street vibe.
The new single, "Are We Faded," is dizzyingly sexy, pushing along at a slower tempo that's ideal for sweaty, middle-of-the-dance-pit grooving. It's carried by choppy female vocals that bounce around in tandem with the synths, vanishing every once in a while to let a low voice chime "f-f-faded."
The tour kicks off on Sept. 18th in Phoenix and will be co-headlined by emerging Los Angeles DJs Gladiator whose trap track "Weekend" was released on Fool's Gold this Spring. Although they'll hit major markets like Denver and Los Angeles, most of the performances are in smaller cities like Birmingham, Boise, and Biloxi, Miss. The groups will travel by bus and gig almost every night.
"A proper bus tour that hits 40 or 50 cities probably sounds like a nightmare to fly-around DJs, but it appeals to an act like us," Jr. Flo said. "We're a band, so we try to act like one."