Finding Unity in Music | Krewella
DateMarch 30, 2017
Yasmine and Jahan Yousaf, more widely known as Krewella, have been major players in the EDM scene for quite some time now. Their uplifting music has brought them all over the world and it’s easy to see how they’re able to create such positive tunes. Both find solace in staying true to their naturally down to earth personalities and diverse upbringing–both culturally and musically. We chatted with Krewella about their inspirations and what it’s like bringing crowds together in a world that often feels divided. Check it out below!
Where has been a favorite venue of yours to play at?
We recently played a show in Houston at Stereo Live which is a really dope, grimy and rave-y venue. That night it really hit us that Houston is one of our all-time favorite cities to play in. Considering the current times in the US, it was really powerful to see so much diversity in the crowd in a state down south. Tons of Latinos, African Americans, and South East Asians dancing together; groups that are often being told that they don’t belong here lately. On top of this image of coexistence, it was an honor to see fans go out of their way to make custom merch and signs with artwork. That’s how you know you’re in the company of die hards.
What was your biggest hurdle to overcome in this industry as women of color in a male dominated sphere?
We were actually born in the states to a half European mom and a Pakistani father. We’re mixed kids. As much as we identify with ‘brown’ culture due to our upbringing, I think most people in this industry perceive us as just American girls with interesting names. But we’re coming up in a really cool time where there’s a lot of awareness about diversity and desire to see different faces and ethnicities in entertainment and media. I’m sure if we were trying to make it in the 90s would be very different. Maybe we would feel pressure to have American stage names, instead of Yasmine and Jahan. Maybe we would feel like the only way to be a successful female artist is to be half naked and tiny. Maybe we would feel afraid to speak out about important issues because it would alienate fans. But we’re really grateful for the evolving current times, and how us women have more support than ever in history. There’s praise for women who stand up and make an assertion, more dialogue about accepting different body images compared to typical beauty norms, and celebration of women from ethnicities that are underrepresented in the media. This is the foundation for a future of young women pursuing a career in the industry.
How has your heritage and background inspired your music?
As we have evolved as artists, we feel compelled to explore our roots as half Pakistani girls raised on Bollywood music in the 90s. For years we dreamt of tapping into what felt authentic to us, and finally, within the past few years we stepped outside of what was expected of us and experimented with eastern melodies and tribal percussion. What started as a lot of trial and error resulted in us feeling more true to ourselves. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we had the classic rock roots from our mom, which influenced us to fall in love with bands like Incubus, System of a Down, and more of the indie pop realm with Death Cab for Cutie. Whenever we write I think we are subconsciously drawing from those influences embedded in us.
“We’re really grateful for the evolving current times, and how us women have more support than ever in history.”
What does your family think about your career?
I think they’re proud that we didn’t let the lifestyle get the best of us. We have a pretty down to earth family and we do dinners and hikes together where we have great conversations about our purpose, the meaning of life, politics, and our history as a family. Immersing yourself in your roots is what keeps you on earth.
You’re stranded on a desert island. What five records will you bring?
Morning View – Incubus
Wilder Mind – Mumford & Sons
Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette
Sempiternal – Bring Me The Horizon
When you’re not working, what are you up to?
Cooking, hiking, drinking cheap Trader Joe’s wine, digging for new music on Spotify, watching music videos, exploring cafes with hipster-ass coffee in Los Angeles, lifting, venturing into new areas of California, bumming around with our dog,
Your music has a super positive, uplifting energy to it. How do you two stay grounded and upbeat?
We surround ourselves with good company, family, people that encourage us to take care of ourselves, keeping tabs on the ego, and counting our blessings every day. Journaling, keeping up to date with what’s happening in the world so that we have perspective, and just being grateful.
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
It’s about harnessing your feminine strength by constantly seeking balance between vulnerability/sensitivity and strength/power. Seeking balance between the everyday hustle and grind, all with calm, quiet, and peace of mind.
Who’s your MISSBISH? Tell us who she is and why she’s an inspiration to you.
Tons of respect for all the MISSBISH ladies. It’s so cool to see how every single one has their own unique history, heritage, passion project, pursuit of happiness, or career/endeavor. Stories like this about women are what make us proud to be a part of such a beautiful group of people. I was super excited to read about Laura and Ashley, the founders of Dimepiece. As young entrepreneurs, I was really pleased to see that they care about creating a healthy environment for their employees, and try not to start their work day until they have gathered their own energy by meditating or whatever their rituals are. They’ve also been really generous in supplying us with some gear for tour, so we’re naturally big fans of them!
Photos by: Bukunmi Grace