Kraak & Smaak

Kraak & Smaak are a musically gifted trio hailing out of Leiden, Holland consisting of Oscar de Jong, Mark Kneppers and Wim Plug.  With over a decade of touring and releases under their belts, the boys’ live band has grown into a steady and well-respected force in today’s international club and festival scene. K&S have toured from Australia to America and everywhere in between, played in festivals like Glastonbury in the UK, Lowlands in the Netherlands, Coachella, WMC and SXSW in the States and one of Europe’s biggest festivals, Sziget. We caught up with the crew before their gig at Ku De Ta’s Annual Bikini Party and talked parties, experiences in Bali and their new album “Juicy Fruit”. And in case you we’re getting the wrong idea; their name translates to Crunchy & Tasty in Dutch. You can catch them at Ku De Ta’s Endless Summer series from 4.30 pm on Friday July 29, Sunday July 31, and Friday August 5, as well as the KDT Bikini Party on Sunday August 7.
Good day guys! Where in the world are you at the moment?
Haha, well Mark is already in Bali, “warming up” for the gigs. Oscar and Wim are sweating in our studio in Leiden our hometown in the Netherlands.
Tell us a bit about how Kraak & Smaak started?
We started out as friends just trying to make some beats. Oscar already had a small homestudio and was making hiphop beats. Wim and Mark were DJing in Dutch clubs every weekend. Mark also had tried to coop with other producers but nothing really came out. The combination of the three of us worked very easily. We were all on the same page. Mark and Wim came with the samples and ideas while Oscar could make music out off that. This all started around 2002.
What genres do you like to play within your sets?
We all have interests in a very wide variety of music but when it comes to a DJ set it can go from hip hop beats, disco, funk to deep house or jazz. When it comes to Bali, Ku De Ta, the sound will be on the jazz funk side I guess, but like I said it can go anywhere.
What do you think about the nightlife scene in Bali? How does it compare to your home country’s scene?
Wow, tough question. Easiest is the temperature. This makes everything more easy. It really fits our style of music. Relaxed and with a groove but not too easy.
At home (where it usually is a lot colder) you have to come with more beat orientated stuff. Also nice but Bali makes for a nice exception.
Your new album Juicy Fruit came out last month. Tell us about it?
First to say is we are very, very happy with this album. We think we succeeded very well in what we had in mind upfront. A nice listening trip from beginning to end. No skipping. Also this time we were very lucky with the planned collaborations. In the past it not always worked out as good as now. Vocals fitted very well and singers delivered on time. We were thrilled. Musically the sound goes from hip hop flavored tracks and  jazzy soundscapes to funk and disco fueled songs. Yes it is a bit poppy but still on the dance side.
Do you guys have a favorite party somewhere around the world?
Also a tough one. We’ve had a few I guess. From Sziget and Glastonbury to parties at “the Standard” New York and Miami, but also club gigs in San Fransisco are favorite. The thing is, there are too many nice places we’ve played and we cannot name them all here. Forgot one; Ku De Ta Bali.
Do you enjoy remixing as much as creating originals?
We often start with a sample but nowadays what mostly happens is we will recreate this or work from that point until we have something totally different. One reason for that is the claims you get from using samples but also we like more and more to create our own stuff. However, making new music out of samples is what we really like the most. I think creating originals is what we like the most, but sometimes it is really refreshing to make remixes. It is a totally different mindset. I think you can say we like both.
Any remixes we should keep our ears out for?
We just heard Purple Disco Machine is going to do a remix of a new track for us. We are very excited about that but also Tosca (Richard Dorfmeister) is working on a remix for us. Really looking forward to that one too.
Have you worked with any up-coming artists that you’d like to shout out?
Well, to be honest we have worked with a whole bunch on our new album. Eric Biddines (US rapper), Meeka Kates (US singer songwriter), and Mayer Hawthorne (US soul singer) but he is not “upcoming” anymore. Berenice van Leer (NL singer), Parcels (New Zealand band/singers) Ivar (also like Berenice our live band performer from Holland, his own album will come next year) and Cleopold (LA based Australian singer). They are all very promising in our opinion.
Now, you nailed it at last year’s Ku De Ta White party and this year you’re playing the Bikini Day Party. What can we expect to hear this time around? Anything different?
I think this year it will be a bit more on the disco side but you never know as I always go with the flow. But the groove is always in our sets…

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