Today we bring to you CRNKN, a Los Angeles electronic trap producer who has recently been getting a lot of attention for his high-energy hybrids of dance and hip hop, receiving play from Flosstradamus, UZ, and the like. In addition to putting together ‘DOPECAST #002: IT’S A TRAP’, he was kind enough to take some time to do an interview with us about his relationship with the music and how he sees it from the point of view of a hip-hop-fan-turned-EDM-producer.
*Original questions may have been modified.
So you’re one of those new-fangled Electronic Trap producers. What do you tell people when they ask you at what point you went so wrong with your life to end up where you are now?
Well, I come from a traditional musician’s background. My mom plays the harmonica and my sis plays uke, piano and guitar, and I’ve played guitar for the better portion of my life, so instruments and music have always been around. Even before I got into EDM, I listened to tons of stuff. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were my favorite band by leaps and bounds, and I also loved Incubus and a lot of other alternative stuff. I listened to tons of Hip Hop too—Nas, Mos Def, Jurassic 5, etc. It was a friend of mine who I lifeguarded with who first introduced me to a few EDM songs, and I was hooked. I think it was how different EDM was from traditional music that attracted me. I was really intrigued by how it was made—and completely oblivious to any details in terms of production. I really liked the energy involved with it and wanted to learn how to do it myself—though really only for fun at first. When I finally decided to start seriously producing, it wasn’t a very difficult transition.
So were Hip Hop and Alternative just a gateway to the harder stuff? Or have you found time for their recreational use even though you’ve graduated to EDM?
Right now I’m doing a lot of hip hop influenced stuff. Zeds Dead and Crizzly were instrumental—pun intended (laughs)—to my production, and lately I’ve been vibing to a lot of Flosstradamus, DJ Sliink, Baauer, and UZ. Personally, I’m just excited that this Hip Hop amalgamation has made its way into EDM because I LOVE Hip Hop. I think that’s why I like this movement so much. Hip Hop is something that has always been around, so it appeals to a huge range of people. Also, it’s exciting just to see this influx of new ideas being brought to the table.
So it’s not just you who enjoys doing Hip Hop, Alternative Rock, and EDM all at the same time… Do you see this habit becoming part of a new ‘American’ Electronic Music identity?
I’m not really sure. I guess it’s a generational thing. I know I grew up listening to a lot of Hip Hop and I know a lot of people who would say the same, so I think it’s just a natural thing to gravitate towards something that’s similar to what you’re used to. All this new stuff that’s been coming out has elements of traditional hip hop mixed with happy hardcore or dutch or whatever—and the result is something entirely its own that is really attractive to people who were already into both hip hop and EDM. If you go to a Flosstradamus show, you’ll see all kinds of people. People that are used to rave and EDM culture, and people that come from Hip Hop backgrounds coming together. I think people innately want to be a part of multiple ‘scenes’ and this movement is a really interesting way for people to go a little outside of their respective comfort zones and meet somewhere in the middle to have a good time. It’s really cool stuff. In terms of an ‘American’ identity in electronic music? That I’m not really sure of. I think only time will tell what direction EDM decides to take. It’s ever-evolving, so it will be really interesting to see where it goes.
Tell us about your partners in crime.
I’ve got some really cool collaborations in the works with Lazerdisk Party Sex, UZ, Big Makk, Expendable Youth and some others. In addition, I’m doing a remix for Adventure Club, and am working on my first EP which I hope to release in either late September or early October. Definitely keep your eyes on Lazerdisk. They co-produced one of the dopest tracks on Diplo’s new EP. Also, you should be on the lookout for UZ, who has a new EP coming on Mad Decent. Oh, and supergroup TNGHT—made up of Hudson Mohawke and Lunice.
I see you’ve also taken the time to put together your own potent mix for us, could you tell us about what exactly is in this thing?
Oh, it’s really just some of my favorite tunes right now, some of which are from friends of mine. There’s a sickBaauer x Expendable Youth collab in there, a dope Nas remix, and some other stuff that is definitely worth listening to in the car.
And with that last comment urging our readers to operate a motor vehicle with this mix in their system, we decided it was time to conclude the interview. Enjoy DOPECAST #002: ‘It’s A TRAP’ by CRNKN, and please—use only as directed.