FEATURE: KEYS N KRATES - A BEAT TAPE FOR YOUR FRIENDS
summer in full swing
photos by RHYAN CORREIA
Today, Toronto three-piece Keys N Krates shares a new project. A Beat Tape For Your Friends arrives just in time for summer. The release brims with grandiosity and vulnerability, at times brightly orchestral and other times jagged and raw. A breezy collection of beats seamlessly made to soundtrack the warm weather. Whereas last year's debut full-length, Cura, found them navigating the intersection between hip-hop and dance, this release channels back to their hip-hop roots. A glorious return to form both infectious and triumphant.
Speaking on the inspiration behind the project the band says:
"The project is all instrumental and pays homage to the beat tapes we love like Jay Dilla's "Donuts" which has helped shape how we approach music in general.
This is our take on that idea, made from our perspective. It's a good-vibe playlist you can put on with your friends to enjoy the summer and get outdoors after a long winter."
The release arrives ahead of Keys N Krates playing a string of festival dates around the United States and Canada this summer, including Denver's Global Dance Festival and Nashville's Deep Tropics. All tickets are available here.
Hear A Beat Tape For Your Friends above and see upcoming tour dates, full project details, and read more about Keys N Krates below.
Since forming a decade ago in their native Toronto, Keys N Krates have carved their own path via a bass-centric, sample-driven sound which melds the realms of electronic, hip-hop and beyond. The group-composed of drummer Adam Tune, keyboardist David Matisse and turntablist Jr. Flo.-has built a venerable reputation as one of the leading live electronic acts today on the strength of their onstage instrumentation and energetic sets. Keys N Krates now elevate their craft with Cura, their debut artist album.
Reflecting a sonic evolution many years in the making, Cura sees Keys N Krates evolving from revered instrumental beat-makers into musically sophisticated producers and songwriters. Curaembodies Keys N Krates' matured style of now: soulful electronic music created with an organic touch, allowing for open experimentation and sonic curiosity. On "Music to My Ears," dynamic strings and reverberant bass provide a joyous backbone to Grammy-nominated vocalist Tory Lanez' uplifting hook. On "Glitter," a slow-burning romp through disco-tinged future R&B, the group slathers the groove-laden cut with satiny synths and distorted strings alongside the vocals of rising sensation Ambré. "Do What U Do" revisits the sample based, boom-bap beats and harmonious vocal layers that have become a keystone of the Keys N Krates aesthetic. Elsewhere, the hard-hitting instrumental "Flute Loop," featuring Ouici, is a frenetic bomb exploding with trap-leaning muscle, while "My Night" boasts hallucinogenic production accentuated by 070 Shake's haunting sung / rap vocal.
Keys N Krates first broke into the mainstream with the SOLOW EP (Dim Mak, 2013), featuring the breakthrough single "Dum Dee Dum," which recently received gold certification in the US in 2017. Since its release, the track's cheeky official music video was nominated for a Prism Prize by the Association for Music and Innovative Arts in Canada as well as a Berlin Music Video Award in Germany in 2014. In 2013, the group later released a remix of the track featuring a collection of buzzing Chicago-based rappers, including G.O.O.D. Music's Cyhi the Prynce as well as King Louie and Tree. Elsewhere, the group released "Keep It 100" (Mad Decent, 2014), a collaboration with producer/DJ Grandtheft, which was featured in a trailer for the animated film Minions in 2015 and won for Best EDM/Dance Video in the 2015 Much Music Video Awards in Canada. In 2016, Keys N Krates took home their first win at the Juno Awards in Canada in the Dance Recording of the Year category for their song "Save Me," off the Midnite Mass EP (Dim Mak, 2016), featuring British singer/songwriter Katy B. The group's discography also includes the Every Nite EP (Dim Mak, 2014) as well as numerous remixes.
Originally formed as a live hip-hop act in 2008, Keys N Krates have since logged countless hours on the road via a relentless tour schedule and have been recognized for advancing the live performance aspect within electronic music. They have headlined their own tours and performed high-profile sets at the top international music festivals including Coachella, Sónar, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Tomorrowland, EDC Las Vegas, Pukkelpop, Bestival and more. Keys N Krates will spend 2018 on an extensive world tour in support of Cura, performing headlining shows across the US, Canada, and Europe, with additional shows in Asia and Australia. In-between tour stops, they are set to grace festival stages at Sónar Hong Kong, Ultra Music Festival, and Electric Forest.
While Cura marks the crew's debut full-length album, it, too, initiates a first step toward a new creative vision, a breakthrough in sound and a new beginning for Keys N Krates.