After a breakthrough year, Krewella is going deep on their first studio album

By Dana Getz

Much like their club banging electro dance tracks, Los Angeles-based trio Krewella has been hitting the EDM scene hard since their debut single “Alive” topped charts earlier this year. Their anthemic pop–meets-all-things-electronic sound brought them instant acclaim, launching them from warehouse scene staple to “Best Breakthrough Artist” of the 2012 International Dance Music Awards.

Despite being one of the first few artists to layer poppy lyricism over electro-heavy beats, their trademarked style was somewhat accidental.

“We started before we even knew what dubstep or electrohouse or complextro or hard style was,” said producer Kris Trindl, a.k.a. Rain Man. “It was always I made music; they wrote lyrics and sang them. So as we got introduced to the scene of ‘EDM’ and all those genres, it just stayed the same. We just made the same kind of music.”

The resulting blend draws influences from across the board, including Trindl’s roots playing metal in high school bands in the northern suburbs of Chicago, where he eventually met sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf.

“I just wanted to get in a van and travel the country and have people screaming and listening to us just fucking shred. I wanted it so bad,” Trindl said.

After a few years in the metal circuit, Trindl discovered the hit-making magic of Timbaland while listening to tracks like Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” and “Loose” by Nelly Furtado.

“I heard that and I was like, ‘I need to be Timbaland,’” Trindl said.

He began producing crude reflections of Timbaland’s work, eventually honing his skills after being introduced to electronic acts such as Deadmau5 and Skrillex. He then persuaded Jahan to sing on a beat, and by 2011 the two had recruited her younger sister Yasmine. The crew played local shows at first—DJ gigs, underground raves, anything they could get their hands on—but it was hardly enough to pay rent, and by late 2011 they were faltering. Even so, the trio pushed on, and with the new year came “Alive,” a techno-inspired piano-pop hit that kicked their recent formation into high gear.

The group released their debut EP “Play Hard” a few months later, signing a deal with Columbia Records shortly after. Krewella is now finishing up their first full-length studio album, “Get Wet,” due out September 24.

“I’d say we definitely developed our craft more. Yas and I spent more time crafting every single lyric and every hook. We just took a lot more time working on it, and Kris spent a lot of time with production too,” Jahan said. “It’s more in touch with different emotions, too, whereas ‘Play Hard’ is one dimensional.”

Jahan cited emotions ranging from rage and passion to sex, love and happiness, noting she wants fans to feel like “they’re not alone, [that] there’s a song that understands them.”

Yet even with heavier lyrical content in tow, the dance-crazed threesome hasn’t lost sense of their brazen, fun-centric music making.

“I wanna make music that makes people wanna move. Well, not necessarily every single track ‘cause you have to have those ballads—you have to have the “Good Riddance” of your album,” Yasmine said. “But most of the time we’re up on stage and we’re going fucking bananas, and I want people to feel that and wanna rage and get sweaty with us.”

The Chicago natives have since moved to Los Angeles to finalize the album, where they’ve been collaborating with a collection of producers and songwriters including Toby Gad and Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump.

“When you make your own music it’s hard to step back and look at it from an objective perspective, so you have tons of talented people who can just give you notes,” Trindl said.

Despite their cross-country move and rapid rise to fame, the Midwesterners still make time to play shows in their hometown, recently returning to Chicago for a VEVO showcase during Lollapalooza weekend.

“It’s amazing to play festivals in front of 5,000-7,000 people, but also we still love shows like [this showcase],” Jahan said. “We have about 150 fans here, and we’re gonna be face to face with them. You can’t forget, as an artist, that no matter how big your shows get, you still want to play those really small shows when you’re having those intimate moments with fans.”