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20 Questions: Keys N Krates

Evan Sawdey
Photo: Devon Little

"Use as few sounds as possible to get your point across when making music." Pretty great advice from a dance trio that's shaking up the system.

Keys N Krates

Dim Mak



Dance music as we know it has evolved into a force that the mainstream has borrowed and copied from for decades, each year ushering new sounds and trends. For the Canadian trio of Keys N Krates (comprising of Jr. Flo, Matisse, and Adam Tune), they are less focused on the sounds of the now as they are recontextualizing the sounds of the past, leading to results that, incidentally, are trendsetting in their own right.

For example, take their great, Juno Award-nominated Katy B collaboration "Save Me": it mixes the rising synth sounds of peak-Eurodisco 2009 and adds the crashing, clatternig drum-n-bass percussion that turned the mid-'90s into a grand experiment in the realm of breakbeats. The trio know their stuff, and have been putting out enough singles, EPs, and remixes over the years to build up a tangible audience. Now, at long last, they can unveil Cura, their debut full-length, to the world.

Even hardcore dance fans may be surprised by the guys' mastering of true pop melodies in Cura, as the guys walk a fine line between club-ready bangers and radio-friendly accessibility It's a hard line to cross without being called a sellout, so the fact that Cura manages to do so, ending up somewhere in alternative-dance territory, says something to their talents. To help mark the occasion, the three Keys N Krates fellas answered PopMatters' 20 Questions, revealing great advice, Reddit addictions, and an affinity for samurai-styled nail cutters.

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1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?

Flo: Marley and Me.

2. The fictional character most like you?

Tune: Mr. Clean.

3. The greatest album, ever?

Matisse: Stevie Wonder's Innervisions.

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?

Matisse: Star Trek.

5. Your ideal brain food?

Tune: Obscure Reddit threads.

6. You're proud of this accomplishment, but why?

Flo: The other day I ate a full bowl of Ramen and then went to yoga and didn't barf. Pretty psyched on that.

7. You want to be remembered for ...?

Tune: As some crazy Canadians that made some good-ass music that was really needed at the time. One can only aspire to that.

8. Of those who've come before, the most inspirational are?

Flo: Jay Dilla, Just Blaze, DJ Premier, Swizz Beatz, The Neptunes, Timbaland. Could go for a while here ...

9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?

Flo: Mura Masa's "Lovesick" (What a perfect song!)

10. Your hidden talents . . .?

Tune: I'm pretty good at squash.

11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?

Tune: Use as few sounds as possible to get your point across when making music.

12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?

Flo: Oh man: great question. Tune and I acquired these crazy nail clippers in Tokyo -- they're stainless steel and huge and cut your nails clean off like a sword with very little squeeze pressure at all. I lost mine, but Tune still has his and I jealous him every day for that.

13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or . . .?

Flo: Obviously, Armani.

14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?

Tune: I've always wanted to have dinner with Tony Danza. I guess the Ritz would be a good backdrop for that.

15. Time travel: where, when and why?

Flo: Maybe the late '60s to watch Curtis Mayfield or Marvin Gaye perform or something?

16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?

Flo: I play tennis and do yoga, Matisse does this crazy fighting class and runs, and Tune plays squash and walks his dog. I also play with my cats.

17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or . . .?

Flo: Coffee with ice.

18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?

Matisse: We're city guys at the end of the day.

19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?

Flo: Of Canada? Do the shit you said you were gonna do.

20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?

Tune: We are on tour now but starting to work on new ideas and new songs.

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