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May 3, 2017

A sit-down with Mark Kneppers from Kraak & Smaak


Kraak & Smaak started with a bang in 2005, originating in a small studio with a few turntables and some samplers to instant world fame. Their productions came alive through mixing samples with their own beats. We sat down with Mark Kneppers from Kraak & Smaak to speak about his vision on DJ’ing, their new album, and the gig in Canvas on the 13th of May. Here’s his story.

Back in the day you started in a small studio where you were mainly sampling. Nowadays almost everything is done with live instruments. How was this transition?
“When we started out making music we had already been DJ’ing for some time, so we had shelves full of records. Naturally, we sought to these records for inspiration. Also back in that time we didn’t have the technical possibilities – we simply only had record players, some keyboards and a sampler. Luckily we’ve had the chance to build our studio over the years. We feel that playing with live instruments gives us more freedom to create the specific sound we want.”

The 13th of may, you’ll be playing a DJ set at Canvas. What are the pros of DJing compared to playing live?
“I really like the ‘one on one’ contact you can have with your audience. During a DJ set there is more room for flexibility and diversity. It’s easier to change the direction of your set, and take the audience on a ride. The atmosphere between the two is different, in our view DJ sets are made for dancing. Where during our live performances people show up with different expectations. At live shows people want more movement on stage, where during DJ sets the movement is in the crowd.”


Kraak & Smaaks’ Mark Kneppers in action.

In celebration of the new Kraak & Smaak album, you will perform a series of exclusive vinyl-only DJ sets in selected cities around the world. Why did you pick Canvas as a starting point for the tour?
“We know Canvas for a long time, and we think it’s a great location. Next to this Canvas has the reputation for successfully try out new concepts. The crowd at Canvas has an open mind, and really goes with it. An ideal spot to kick off this special new tour.“

You are known for your collaborations with a wide range of artists, with whom would you like to collaborate again?
“Phew… Yeah, we’ve had quite a few. Working with Ben Westbeech was very special, because we made ‘Squeeze Me’ [see the video below, red.] together. The collaboration we did with Romanthony before he passed was really special as well. Damn, he was a good writer and singer. We would have loved to do more with him. On our new album we’re extra proud of our collaboration with Mayer Hawthorne on ‘I Don’t Know Why’, we had to cross some difficult roads to get it done – but we’re super proud of the result. And working together with the English singer Omar is something we’d love to do quickly as well, who knows this is already in the making…”

Kraak & Smaak // Canvas // May 13
Early Bird: 8€
Regulars: 10€
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