Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf, known to the world as sensational duo Krewella, are back with an all new album “New World Part 1” showcasing their range of talents, from songwriting, to producing, to performing. Having graced the stages of Electric Daisy Carnival, Tomorrowland and more recently, Electric Love in Austria, the two sisters’ vast experiences in encapturing crowds has proven them to be one of the most versatile artists in the industry. With a second part to their album on the way and a current Asia tour under their belt – Krewella’s recent accomplishments only show that they’re not stopping anytime soon. We were able sit down with both Jahan and Yasmine aboard It’s The Ship for a quick chat regarding their upcoming music, songwriting influences and recently launched label Mixed Kids Records.
Your latest album, New World Part 1 dropped on the 7th anniversary of Krewella! Congratulations. What was the process like behind the making of the LP as a whole?
Jahan: “Thank you! I think we started making it a year ago. It was just creating a bunch of demos, and then choosing the ones the we loved the most. We just chose the 7 that we thought were the strongest and built them out from there. We have a collaboration with Diskord on there which is amazing – and finished it out and released it back in June – it was really fun to put together, that one.”
You’ve recently completed the American leg of tour as well, and the creative direction of your stage production looked incredible! I’ve got my own theory that it’s been influenced by your Pakistani ethnicity…
Jahan: “Right! We really wanted something that was clean and simple, and we wanted to dive into our Pakistani roots since we’re both half Pakistani, so it was really important that the references we put together for the production company were like Islamic and Arabic art with some temples”, revealed Jahan. “We didn’t really tell fans that because we’d like them to create their own interpretation of whatever the art or music is. Sometimes as an artist it’s good to not explain and let people make up in their mind, or think of something that that reminds them off.”
Yasmine: “We had an amazing crew, we had a laser guy with us, and someone programming the visuals, so during the rehearsals we just spent a lot of time kinda going in and sending references for what we’d like to see.”
Speaking of performances, you’ve been incorporating singing live into your sets for a while now – do you see it as a growing trend within the dance music industry today?
Yasmine: “It is! I think that a lot of artists have been dying to do that, because so many of these artists play guitar, the piano, they sing – and to be able to incorporate that into a live set instead of just DJ-ing is an amazing way to evolve your live shows. So we’ve seen a lot of people do it. We brought in live vocals at the end of 2012 way before a lot of people began doing it, so it was probably a mess at the beginning cause we had no one to turn to – for tech advice, or just advice in general about how to mix dance music with the live elements. But over the years we’ve smoothed it out and it’s very normal for us now and it’s second nature, so I love seeing other artists do it too because it’s a new side to them. I think you get to pour even more emotion into a live show.
Your collaboration “Another One” with Pegboard Nerds just dropped yesterday, and you played it live during your set last night too! Is there a backstory to this song?
Jahan: “I was looking back at the notes on my computer, and we wrote ‘Another Round’ in July 2015! So the song is over two years old. Sometimes we have like dozens and dozens and dozens of demos, and sometimes we come across them.”
Yasmine: “I was drunk on a plane, – well not drunk cause my version of drunk is a glass of wine, – and just listening to older songs. I stumbled upon that and I was like we have to release this, I love it!”
What kind of influences go into your songwriting? Is there a message that you try to convey through your music?
Jahan: “I think the key is not trying. because when you really think – “Hey, I wanna write a song that that conveys this message”, it becomes almost too thought out.
And it wouldn’t feel genuine anymore.
Jahan: Exactly. I think it’s really important – and I know that there are some artists who operate like that – but I think for us as artists we really like to just sit down in the studio and whatever we’re feeling that day, or if there’s a memory or something that happened a week ago and we wanna tell the story of that, we just like to go with the flow and not really over think too much – it’s very in the moment and a very mystical magical thing that happens in the studio.
Definitely! Your lyrics are powerful, and speaks to the listeners. “Empowered” is a word I would use to describe it.
Jahan: “Empowering is definitely something. We’ve gotten that a lot from fans when they come up to us and they say that – and I think it’s because our music is really in touch with our emotions and we’re not afraid of being vulnerable on record. I think that’s really resonated with fans as well.”
If you had to pick one track that best defines who Krewella is, which one would it be and why?
Jahan: ‘Love Outta Me’. When i think of that song, it really makes me think of Krewella because it has the more aggressive powerful verses. Then the hook gets really vulnerable, and it’s more melodic and heartfelt feeling. That’s something that Yasmine and I love doing – is that we love to have this juxtaposition of having these harder, aggressive beats juxtaposed with soft, pretty melodic moments.
Which would you choose, Yasmine?
Yasmine: “I’m gonna choose a newer one too, just because it’s popping in my head right now – I’m sure there’s a million other reasons for our other songs to choose from to describe us – but I think ‘New World’, our collaboration with Yellow Claw and Taylor Bennett is really representative of us. It’s slightly quirky, and we were writing it just out of stream of consciousness and fun. We were just having fun with it, but at the end of the day we wanted it to mean something to the kids – ‘Mixed Kids Records’ is what we call our record label – but just kids in general who relate to being mixed, or from a different culture , or maybe they feel like they don’t necessarily belong somewhere, or in the society that they grew up in. Like we’re from America, so if they feel like they’re in a marginalized group of people who don’t feel like they’re represented or have a voice, we kind of want that song to represent those people in general. It’s a fun song with a deeper meaning underlying it, and still has a lot of energy so I think that’s the one I’d choose.
Now that you’ve mentioned it, your very own label launched earlier this year as well! Going forward, what do you have in store for Mixed Kids Records?
Yasmine: So Mixed Kids Records is originally going to be about us, because we don’t necessarily have the time to take on signing on new artists. As much as that’s a goal for us someday, right now it’s going to be releasing only Krewella music.
So it’ll be like a brand new Krewella project for the both of you to work on by putting out original music and collaborations independently.
Yasmine: Yes! Someday that’s a huge dream of us to find new unsigned artists to release on our label but as for now, not in the new future. It’s a fantasy for sure!
Last question. You’ve always been very vocal about your thoughts, opinions and journey over time – and fans look up to you for this. How does it feel being able to have such an impact on a large group of people?
Jahan: “I never wanna say I’m an example because I’m a flawed human, and I do allow myself to make mistakes. I don’t see myself being this good girl archetype either, but i think what it did really – and I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately after meeting fans on the New World Tour. Fans would come up to us and say “you saved my life”, or “your music saved my life”, and that I think makes me wanna be a better person knowing that there are thousands – or maybe even millions someday, who do care about us. And the fact that they are following us and influenced by us makes me want to become a better person.”
Yasmine: “With great power comes great responsibility!”
Connect with Krewella on their socials below:
Wording has been edited for clarity.
Photos credited to It’s The Ship.
Special thanks to Jahan and Yasmine.