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Krewella wants fans to "Get Wet" with is brand of dance music
Jahan Yousaf of Chicago's Krewella says that due to a busy schedule and an aversion to pressure she's "not even paying attention to the charts at all."
But she's certainly been happy with the texts and tweets from friends, family, fans and management telling her how the electro-pop trio is doing these days.
Krewella's debut album, "Get Wet," debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 last month, and at No. 1 on the Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart. The group's had some club hits already in "Alive" and "Live For the Night," and it's made guest appearances on tracks by Adventure Club and Nicky Romero.
Krewella has also been tapped to remix songs by Skrillex, Zedd and Fall Out Boy, among others, and appearances at key festivals such as Ultra Music, Electric Daisy, Stereosonic and Spring Awakening scored the group the International Dance Music Award for Best Breakthrough Artist.
Yousaf's measure of success has been a bit different, however.
"We're starting to see more and more people at ever single show, progressively, and more and more people singing the lyrics to tour album," notes Yousaf, who started Krewella in 2007 with her sister Yasmine and Kris "Rain Man" Trindl. "Two months ago, when our (singles) were released, we saw maybe five kinds in the front rows singing them. Now there's a lot more.
"That's how we know something good is happening."
Krewella and dance music were "kind of a hobby," when the elder Yousaf and Trindl became acquainted in Chicago's heavy metal scene. "I met him at a house party; he was in his room programming a beat to this funky dance song," remembers Yousaf, whose father is a UPS sales rep and mother is a graphic designer, with older sisters who are in fashion. "He gave me a few drinks and asked me to write a few lyrics over it, and within one night we had a hook and a song.
"From there we started meeting a couple times a week and write songs together, just for fun. We weren't thinking about it as a career anything. It was just like a fun hobby. It still feels that way, really. We try to keep from getting stressed out about anything."
The duo wound up recruiting Jahan's younger sister, and in 2009 they started posting their songs on MySpace; the Krewella name had "popped into" the elder Yousaf's head around the time she and Trindl started writing together. The response was encouraging, but the trio kept soldiering away to refine their sound, holing up in Trindl's grandmother's basement until releasing their first official singles, including "Life of the Party" and "Strobelights," in 2011.
"Everything has developed and gotten stronger, so I'm glad we waited like we did," Yousaf says. But she laughs as she considers the irony of a career in dance music. "I'm not a dancer -- never will be a dancer," she explains. "You'll never see us doing synchronized dancing or anything like that. We're true rockers at heart. You'll find us at a metal club before we're in a dance club.
"But we like all kinds of music and writing in all kinds of style. I think you can hear really metal inspired instrumentation and really pop-punk inspired lyrics in Krewella. It really is a mash of different genres, which is why I think people are liking it."
Krewella's beat will go on through North America into mid-November, winding up at home in Chicago's Argon Ballroom on the 16th. From there the trio heads for Australia as part of the Stereosonic festival tour, with a Dec. 27 appearance at Dallas' Lights All Night event on Dec. 27. A second album is also on the horizon; with nearly 100 demos prepared for "Get Wet" and more coming all the time, Krewella is ready to hit the studio again at the start of 2014, according to Yousaf, which she hopes will mean more music sooner rather than later.
"I really want to keep up with one album a year," she says. "We're always thinking about our live show, too -- how do we push it even more and evolve, let the stage production formulate and turn into something else? We're not the kind of people who like to coast, you know? We want to work and keep doing new things."
Krewella, Seven Lions and Candyland perform Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19-20, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 313 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $29.50 advance, $35 at the door; Saturday's show is sold out. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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