Since 2003, Crookers has been setting new standards in the world of Fidget/Tech House, and opening our minds up to just how crazy this music can get. Starting out as a collaboration between Italian artists Bot & Phra, Crookers made huge waves in the dance music industry for about eight years, before the duo split up to take their music in different directions. Their releases while they were together included such hits as Knobbers, Lollypop, and their classic remixes of Day N Night by Kid Cudi, and Thunderstruck by AC/DC.
After the two split, Phra continued the Crookers project solo, and has been producing incredibly creative and genre defying House based music ever since. Some of his latest hits include the epic Ghetto Guetta, and the instant classic Heavy, which has taken the DJ community by storm over the past few months, becoming a staple in nightclubs and festivals around the world. Crookers’ latest track, a remix of Stoner by Young Thug is one of my personal favorites, and showcases Phra’s exceptional ability to push the boundaries of just what House music can be. If you love weird, fun, bouncy house music, and you happen to see that Crookers is playing in your area, don’t hesitate go. This is one artist you will definitely want to keep your eye on as House music makes its comeback.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Phra about what he’s been doing recently, check it out below.
1. How long have you been making music? Who/what got you into it?
When I was 11 years old I saw my first DJ and after 4 days of annoying him he finally showed me how it all worked and how to become one of them. I was in love. I spent that entire summer cutting my neighbors’ grass to save enough money to afford technics and a shit mixer. After I bought my technic (Yes I know it’s unusual to have 1) I started practicing how to scratch in my tiny little basement using the radio to play some music and so that I had a rhythm to follow. I finally met this hip-hop producer (who is still my best friend now) that introduced me to ‘production’. Thanks to him I learned how to use a sampler, mixer, cassette recorder and the basics of recording. My first ever gig was at the ripe old age of 13 where I was asked to play in a club right near my house. Unfortunately it wasn’t paid, but they used to give me 1 piadina and a couple of soft drinks to keep me happy. I was also in love with a girl who worked there too!
2. How is performing here and in Europe different? What do people tend to like more in the states as opposed to overseas?
I’ve just finished my USA tour, which was amazing! It was so good to get out there as I haven’t been back in nearly a year. I love playing in the States, everyone loves dance music over there. It’s a bit different in Europe as the genre lines of music are constantly blurred. However I love playing all different types of music and love seeing people’s reactions to some of the crazy music I’m playing.
3. Describe your music in one sentence.
Random, crazy shit!
4. How long does it usually take you to finish a song? What’s the most difficult part of the process?
It depends… I don’t have a real method to produce music. The most important thing for me is to sit in the studio when I can and play with as many sample / synths / compressors as I can, and try new stuff and have fun… When a loop stands out I’ll transform it into a song. I think I’ve got more than 1000 loops of 25/40 seconds stored on my computer that are waiting to be songs 🙂
5. Which songs are you most proud of and why?
Ah, that’s a tough question! It’s like asking a mother which one of her sons she prefers! If I had to give you an answer, I’d say that I am really proud of ‘Heavy’. That’s the reason I wanted to release that for free. I thought “Why wait for people to set up the release and blah blah blah…let’s put it out today!”
6. How do you like to get over writers block?
Eating! But I’m really concerned about that,.. I don’t eat rubbish, only healthy stuff.
7. Is there any genre of music you haven’t made yet but would really like to try your hand at?
Footwork maybe? It’s so rhythmically complex, is very fascinating.
8 .What do you like to do when you’re not in the studio?
I go to the gym, sit in my garden and enjoy the panoramic view and check out expensive stuff on the internet such as houses, cars and shoes which are so expensive I catch myself shouting “It’s craaaaaazy!” When home (which isn’t a lot) I normally organize a huge dinner with friends and family.
9. Who are some of your biggest non electronic musical inspirations?
I listen to a lot of hip-hop and R&B.
10. What do you think about the return of Deep/Tech house to the forefront of the EDM community?
I think is pretty cool! Although with my new stuff I’m going more towards another direction. I still like a more fat and warm sound if you know what I mean.
11. Do you like the direction house music is taking in the scene today? What would you like to change/see more of?
What I’d really love to see is a little bit more experimentation, a little bit more craziness. It’s so boring when things begin to sound the same, isn’t it?
12. What’s next on the horizon for you?
Well, I’m pretty busy at the moment! My new album will come out relatively soon, and I’ll be around Europe playing shows for much of the summer!