Toronto has birthed a plethora of hot musical talent, and here at EARMILK, we've been quite fond of the Keys N Krates trio that has come out of that scene. David Matisse (synth/keyboards), Adam Tune (drummer), and Jr. Flo aka Greg Dawson (turntablist) all bring their uniquely creative vision to the project to create some pretty dope electronic music. Their sound is pretty distinguishable; a mixture of electronic, trap, bass, grime, hip-hop, and even more puts Keys N Krates on the map as an act you don't want to take your ears off of.
We recently hosted the premiere of their Every Nite EP, which was released in collaboration with Steve Aoki's label Dim Mak Records. Even more recently, the guys have just dropped the remix EP with tracks from Machinedrum, Chris Lorenzo, Darq E Freaker, Taiki Nulight, and R3II. The guys are in the midst of an intensive touring schedule across much of North America. But we were fortunate to be able to catch up with them at their recent tour stop at Webster Hall in New York. Between their silly jokes and sarcasm, the guys had great things to say about their own collaborative work, the touring life, and their fans. They had a great energy and it was entirely evident that they are smitten with the way their careers have played out so far. It was easy to see why their fans are so enamored with Keys N Krates. Read on below to see what else the guys had to say and to see what jokes they tried to pull over us.
EARMILK: In all seriousness, do you guys prefer the New York street-cart hot dogs or the dollar slices of pizza?
Greg: I'd definitely say the street-cart hot dogs. That dollar slice pizza can be ratchet. You can get the most amazing pizza here for $3-$5. You don't need that dollar slice stuff.
EM: Are there any spots that you guys make sure to hit up when you're in town?
All: Vanessa's Dumplings! (In unison)
Adam: Except for Greg.
Greg: No, I definitely do. I just didn't make it today.
EM: How did the Toronto scene have an influence over developing your sound?
G: I think it's the whole multicultural city thing. It's always been a big hip-hop city, but it's also been big in the electronic scene. There's a big West Indie population there, so the Reggae influence is definitely there too. With all of those major influences, I think it has shaped how we view music and how we even make music.
EM: Who is in your playlist right now? Or what artists do you look to for inspiration?
David: Who am I listening to? I've got a lot of good stuff. Doja Cat, Majid Jordan, some Porter Robinson.
A: And Phil Collins! And Michael Bolton! (laughs)
G: I know we're definitely listening to Porter Robinson's new album. This guy Ouici, PARTYNEXTDOOR, you know, a lot of different stuff.
EM: When you're in the studio, or building a track, do you guys all contribute equally? Or what does the creative formula typically look like?
D: I do everything!
G: Except make the music! (laughs)
A: No, we all come in with our own ideas. One of us will chill at the computer for a bit while we try and bounce some ideas off of each other. We'll all say whether we think it's working or not. Then when we get stuck, one of the other guys will jump in.
D: It's actually very collaborative. We're all chipping in. Whoever comes in with an idea, we'll try and run with it and bounce ideas around.
EM: EARMILK actually hosted the premiere of your most recent EP, what sort of releases can we expect to hear from you next?
G: We're just on this huge tour right now, so we haven't had the chance to be in the studio as of late. But we're going to have the chance to work on some new music for the next couple of months pretty soon.
A: We just put out the Every Nite (The Remixes) EP.
G: Yeah! You'll see Chris Lorenzo and Machinedrum on there. There's lots of good remixes on it.
EM: How do you guys cope with the non-stop touring?
A: We actually try to keep it pretty healthy. I think when we first started, it was the whole party-hardy thing. But now, we're trying to take care of ourselves and be a bit nicer to our bodies.
D: Basically, I'm a big believer in napping. I nap the fuck out of everything.
EM: The power-nap is so real!
D: See that table there, I will nap right there!
G: That couch over there too!
EM: Are there any genres of music that you'd like to dabble in?
G: We are always on the lookout for weird, new sounds and sound textures. We aren't, and have never been, closed off to any types of genres. Nothing is really off limits with us.
EM: Can we expect a studio album any time soon?
D: We are all about those EP's. We are faithful to our EP groove.
EM: Does Aoki ever make it into the studios with you guys?
A: No, unfortunately. He's all the way in LA and we're up in Toronto.
G: Plus, we make really different kinds of music.
EM: If you could collab with one artist tomorrow, who would it be?
G: Maybe like Drake or Rick Ross.
A: Dr. Seuss!
G: Yeah, that'd be good. I like a lot of bands like Churches or Purity Ring kind of stuff.
EM: Any chance of those collabs coming to fruition?
D: That's top secret! Real classified shit.
G: We won't really talk about that stuff until it has actually happened.
EM: How do you guys balance all of your different creative visions?
G: We actually don't argue at all. Everything is peachy-keen.
D: We have the best synergy where we never argue about anything. We've just been blessed that we like each other's stuff most of the time.
A: If you flip that all around, that's exactly how it goes down. (laughs)
G: We obviously disagree on plenty of stuff. It's one of the things that can cause us to take so long to actually make the music. Every decision has to pass by three strong decisions. But we've made a lot of music together, so we're constantly trying to find that common ground.
EM: Any closing remarks for EARMILK readers?
A: Thanks so much for coming to our shows!
D: If you're reading this, thanks. We appreciate you for listening to our stuff!
G: We've played all over the place in just the past few months, in so many markets where we've never been before. We got to connect with so many new fans. It was awesome because we'd show in up in random cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma and somehow we'd have a full venue. So thank you to all of you that come out.
D: We have enthusiastic fans and we don't take that for granted.