Artist Spotlight: Keys N Krates

Artist Spotlight interview: Keys N Krates

With Alix from The Bass Collective

Why don’t you guys start out by introducing yourselves.

Matisse: Hey I’m Mattise and i’m on keys! Flo: Hey I’m Flo, i’m on turntables! Adam: I’m Adam and i’m on drums!

Tell us how you guys met and started producing music together.

Matisse: About 10 years ago Adam & I were playing in Soul Funk bands…and then 7 years ago I started talking to Flo and had ideas about putting together something with keys and dj’ing. We started jamming in the rehearsal room and I told my buddy about it and that’s pretty much how it all got started. We started working together, and then 6 months later Keys N Krates was born!

keys n krates

Back when you guys first started in 2008 did you ever think you’d be this big and become dubbed as “one of the hottest live acts in electronic music”? What has this experience been like?

Flo: I don’t know I mean like, we never had any crazy expectations. We just wanted to play in front of people and we’ve changed quite a bit from what we started as to what we are now. We started out as a live kind of…Hip-Hop act, doing remixes of dance tracks, to becoming full-on producers doing our own Hip-Hop-based electronic music while still incorporating samples in and create that live band party vibe. Like I said, we’ve changed a lot and I think the most that has happened for us has happened in the past year while putting music up on the internet. We’ve seen the quickest climb in the past year for sure.

What’s it been like working with Dim Mak so far?

Adam: I think it’s been great. Steve’s a wicked dude and he’s been such good support. It’s a big family over at Dim Mak. They just really push us and we feel like a real band with them.

Who are some of your major influences?

Matisse: I’m never good at this answer because I feel like I don’t really have major influences. I kinda just listen to things and pull from here and there. Right now I’ll listen to Kaytranada – I like some of the synth sounds he uses. I’ll still listen to Radiohead and still listen to some of the melodies they have. TNGHT of course, we all listen to them because they’re really cutting edge in terms of trap. For me personally it’s always changing and it’s just a matter of what kind of hits you as an artist. You try to grab inspiration from whatever you can, you know?

Flo: Lately we’ve been drawing on a lot of producers from the past. Guys like Timbaland, Swizz Beatz, Just Blaze…and just bring those kinds of sensibilities and bring them into today with our own spin on it. We’re excited about stuff that was coming from that era.

We haven’t seen many collaborations with you guys yet. Is this something we can look forward to in the future?

Matisee: We just do collaborations when it makes sense musically. We’re at the point now where we’re talking about doing more with vocalists and trying to get to that point but at the same time we’re totally fine with ourselves and what we’re doing now. But yeah definitely working with vocalists so don’t worry, it’s comin’!

You recently released your SOLOW EP on Dim Mak with huge success. What’s your next move?

Adam: To release another one with HUGE SUCCESS. And then another one, and another one, and another one, ha-ha! We’ve been trying to figure out the style for the album, how to make it all fit together, and what the palette’s going to be like. We actually listened to this interview with Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails and he was talking about when he decided to go into the studio and do their album, they had these parameters they set for themselves. So I feel like we have a bunch of ideas on the table and we’re figuring out how to turn it all into a cohesive album and what our mandate is. That’s the next step.

What are the benefits of being an actual live act compared to just DJ’s?

Matisse: I think for us is that it’s just more fun. I don’t think we can do it any other way to be honest. We talked about backing tracks and all that stuff but I think the main thing for us is that it’s all live. We’re musicians so that’s what we enjoy doing; that’s who we are.

Flo: We all come from that musical performance background. Like with Matisse and Adam, how they were in a band together and me i’m like an actual turntablist battle DJ so to do it any other way seems like…a bit funny. We definitely have talked about hitting spacebar on a laptop and taking our shirts off and spraying champagne over the crowd but…ha-ha!

Adam: It’s fun and spontaneous. I don’t think we’ll ever get bored because there’s always that element of “some shit could go really wrong.” We have to stay focused on each other and make sure we’re all on the same wavelength. Some nights we play, songs will be locked together and we’ll be like “yeah, we really nailed that groove” and then on other nights it’ll be different tracks. That’s the whole thing about playing it all live is continually trying to get better at being a band. I think by hitting a spacebar you never really get that. You can work on your crowd interaction but you never really get the opportunity to figure it out amongst a group and how to make the group better.

We know you guys played Lollapalooza this year and we feel you guys really represented Toronto extremely well. Do you think that has been your biggest show to date?

Flo: It was definitely one of our biggest shows. If not the biggest then it was definitely up there and one of the most significant. Having a set like that at Lollapalooza… I remember looking at these guys while playing and being like “holy fuck we’re playing Lollapalooza!” I remember coming off stage and we were all just like “what the fuck just happened?” It was such a surreal moment.

Adam: Our management may have cried at the show. We were all so stunned. He was just crying – his name is Tobias, so shout-outs to Tobias for crying ha-ha!

Aw, ha-ha! Well thank you guys for taking the time to talk to us, do you have any last shout-outs to your fans?

Matisse: Well shout-outs to our fans of course ha-ha! Thanks to all the Facebook followers and all the likes on that last video we just posted! We posted that video of Chillin’ and we’re putting it on our new live set so we appreciate all the feedback you guys have been giving us on our live rehearsal footage. Thank you guys!

Flo: Yeah keep talking to us, it’s been fun! KEYS N KRATES!


All photos by: UH-HUH! [Brent Michael Azer]

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About The Author


My name is Brent Michael Azer and I'm the creator of The Bass Collective.


  1. […] N Krates then you must know that they have been making some serious moves lately. In our recent [interview] with the boys we found out that this year they were going to focus on more vocal-heavy tracks. […]