For veterans holding more than 12 years of music-making, Camo & Krooked continue to ignite the drum ‘n’ bass scene with the fresh energy of newcomers. The Austrian duo consisting of Reinhard Reitsch and Markus Wagner have proved an indomitable force since their formation in 2007—signing to mammoth Hospital Records and winning the Drum&BassArena’s Best Newcomers DJs Award just three years after their debut. After captivating listeners with their explosive debut album, Above & Beyond, Camo & Krooked went on to assert themselves as ambassadors of multi-genre productions in their colorful exploration of d’n’b and its relationship to electronic music as a whole.
If d’n’b were a canvas, the color palette would be sub-genres and the painters: Camo & Krooked. Fundamentally loyal to their d’n’b roots while welcoming intuitive influences from dubstep, house, techno, grime, electro-house, and more, the d’n’b influencers have made it their standard to challenge the boundaries of genre-centric lines and push the sonic expectations exceedingly further.
They have embraced dubstep in their hit single “All Fall Down,” emulated disco in Zeitgeist, played off hip-hop in their 2019 single, “Set It Off” featuring Jeru The Damaja, and recreated their d’n’b sound with ever-cinematic expressions in their latest UKF10’s “Atlas” VIP remix. Now, with two massive orchestral Vienna shows locked in, a highly anticipated Rampage performance, and a pipeline of new music, Camo & Krooked are poised to take on 2020.
Dancing Astronaut sat down to catch up with Camo & Krooked on their pivot to single releases, insights into their Red Bull Vienna show, and the creative process behind “Set It Off.”
For a while, you were quiet on the music front, but 2019 was a massive year of releases with “Atlas,” “Sidewinder,” and recently “Set It Off” among other tracks. Will 2020 be a music-centric year as well or focus more on the tour side?
We are completely back on track musically so 2020 will continue along the lines of 2019 with lots of new music, trying to evolve in music production skills and find new directions. Really loving writing music at the moment!
You mentioned that the two of you went into studio hibernation to concentrate on new music. Do we have a new album in store?
We are planning on working single-based, as it leaves us more freedom of creativity and we can fully concentrate on one track at a time. Writing an album of 12 tracks you have to apply new learned techniques on each of the tracks while writing over and over again, it takes lots of power and we really like the ease of releasing one tune after another at the moment, feels more up to date.
What inspiration came first for “Set It Off”—wanting to produce a hip-hop/funk-infused track or wanting to collaborate with Jeru The Damaja?
As always, we tried to make a drop that is different to what everybody is doing at the moment, because that is basically what excites us when producing music, reinventing ourselves over and over again. After nailing it we thought that adding hip-hop flavor would give the tune more character than just your usual DJ tune. After nailing the halfstep part we approached some ’90s hip-hop legends and Jeru got back to us, being totally excited about the project!
Coming up on 12 years since you started releasing music, how has your respective approaches to the creative process evolved?
When you start making music you imitate and recreate your favorite producers, learning all the techniques needed to find you own niche to explore. Now we feel like being in a position where, with every tune we make, we want to learn something or use new techniques, what makes the tune feel more special and valuable for us. Making simple sounds sound as pristine and big as possible and including new influences in each track.
Speaking of milestones, UKF’s decade anniversary saw your track “Atlas” on UKF10 and the release of its VIP counterpart. What elements did you want to add in remixing the cinematic aspects of the original?
The VIP got even more cinematic actually and been influenced by the techniques we learned for the Red Bull Symphonic Show, C&K orchestra shows in Vienna beginning of February, at which we perform our biggest tunes with a 70-person symphony orchestra.
We’re just a few weeks away from the Vienna orchestra shows. How did this collaborative concept come alive and what type of experience would you like attendees to take away?
Red Bull approached us with this project and we loved the idea from the very first second. We have been working hard on it for the last three months and its going to be a really special event that no one really can say how exactly it will turn out in the end. We reworked most of our tunes to make space for the orchestral elements, so it’s not just the original tune with another layer, it’s a melting pot for both genres creating something completely unique.
Learn more about the Feb. 1 and 2 Vienna shows here.
This back-to-back was on our minds for very long already and what better platform than Rampage could you ask for as Introduction of Camo & Krooked b2b Mefjus. We will have lots of exclusive material and looking forward how the set will turn out, will start preparing soon!
Rampage 2020 has locked in an incredible program including you all. Who are you excited to see?
You’ve mentioned that Tame Impala and Flume are musical influences for you, respectively (Krooked the former, Camo the latter). They both had returned this year with some pivotal releases. What did you think?
We are huge fans from all their recent output and took some influences from Flume especially as his sound is always changing and very exciting!
Any resolutions for the new year?
Make new music, be healthy, be happy!