Since the Dutch trio of producers Kraak & Smaak released their first album ‘Boogie Angst’ worldwide in 2005, the boys’ dj set, soundsystem and live band have grown steadily into well-respected forces in today’s international club and festival scene.
For over a decade Kraak & Smaak have been performing DJ sets all over the world, combining their unique funk-filled sound with disco and house music. Their success led to Kraak & Smaak exploring the possibilities of bringing their sound live on stage.
The first time the band played together was a one-off to promote their first album. But after that show premiered in Amsterdam, with its energetic mix of funk, disco and house, plus a heavy dose of rock ‘n roll attitude, the reaction convinced the band to embark on a follow up tour in the Netherlands.
Their set-up, combining the fat club sound of their releases with live musicians and male and female vocalists, turned out to be a musical phenomenon on the Dutch club and festival circuit at the time, leading to invitations to play at Holland’s biggest festival, Pinkpop, and support slots for UK superstar dance act Faithless at various stadium venues in the Benelux area.
With the first international successes release-wise, fed by album licenses, television and movie syncs in the USA and growing club and radio support in more and more countries, the band landed their first big European festival, Sziget in Hungary. A short breath later K&S found themselves in Australia for a full tour and then introduced themselves to the American audience through shows at renowned festivals like SXSW, Coachella, Miami’s WMC and New York’s CMJ.
The second album ‘Plastic People’ dropped in 2008, and off that album, the hit single ‘Squeeze Me’, made for an even more rapid international rise of Kraak & Smaak. The acclaimed UK dance magazine IDJ labelled K&S as a “Must see live act”, together with big guns as the Chemical Brothers, Moby and The Prodigy. The band subsequently performed at the ‘holy grail of festivals’ Glastonbury in the UK, Lowlands in the Netherlands and again Europe’s biggest festival, Sziget. During a five-week live tour across the USA they performed at Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show on ABC television and further explicit support came from US Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who describes K&S as ‘Amy Winehouse meets Moby’. Even Kanye West declared himself a fan! And to top things off, the European Border Breakers Award (EBBA) is won, together with none other than Adele.
In the following years, the upward trend of K&S has continued and solidified with the albums ‘Electric Hustle’ (2011) and ‘Chrome Waves’ (2013). Again live and DJ tours are mapped and carried out in the USA, as are a second visit to UK’s Glastonbury festival and shows at Detroit Movement, Sziget and Exit. First steps are taken too in Latin-America and Asia, and the K&S soundsystem is rolled out combining the DJ set with the live band’s female singer and MC – and sometimes the drummer and percussionist too. In this, it successfully fills the void between regular dj sets and the full live set-up, giving the dj set a more live show feel while retaining its club approach.
At this point in time, Kraak & Smaak has grown into a renowned international crossover act that will tear apart any club or festival, whether a dance, jazz, rock or pop one. So no faceless laptop act that seems so abundant nowadays in the dance scene, but an accessible yet uncompromising, fully fledged live band with drums, bass guitar, keys, DJ and a male and female vocalist, matched up with their distinctive clubsound and their rock band stage attitude. The K&S soundsystem version completes it all by taking up the middle ground between live and their regular dj sets.
Watch out for a brand new album to drop in 2016 on Jalapeno Records.