Femme on Fire: Krewella

By Vanessa Butler Photography by Shane McCauley

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Femme on Fire: Krewella:

The girls of Krewella are both so gorgeous we couldn’t pick just one to interview, so we hopped on the phone with both of them for 15 minutes in heaven. Sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf have been touring nonstop since last year with their producer Kris "Rain Man" Trindl when their song “Killin’ It” broke out like wildfire. We caught up with the Yousaf sisters before they head overseas to tour with the Ultra Music Festival to talk about their new EP, social media and their wild fans.

Playboy.com: You’re our first double-team Femme on Fire! You guys are both so gorgeous we couldn’t say no to either of you.

Both: Thank you!

Playboy.com: Congrats on your Play Harder EP. People are really digging it. When did you start noticing people freaking out about your music?

Yasmine: It’s hard as an artist; when you get the littlest amount of attention in your first days it means the world, so even in the beginning when we had one person freaking out about our music I even remember that stuff. But obviously our numbers have grown over time. I’d say that it was probably February of last year when the “Killin’ It” music video dropped. That was when we noticed things were spreading a little bit wider.

Jahan: Yeah, and that’s around the same time we noticed that when we were playing shows the crowds slowly were starting to know the songs by heart. Now it’s at the point where we’ll have the entire crowd singing our recent single “Alive.” When we first released the song, it would’ve been just the kids in the front row. It’s really cool to see that grow.

Playboy.com: I was going through your Twitter and saw that people even have tattoos of your lyrics! How does that feel?

Yasmine: It’s amazing. It really inspires us and makes us want to become something larger than just making the music we are right now. Their enthusiasm makes us reach out to our fans when we’re writing music and when we’re thinking about concepts about albums. It definitely affects our creativity. I really do love that they can share it on Twitter, too. I think it’s the most amazing thing that we can connect so intimately with the people who have supported us. Honestly, they have become our friends. We talk to these people every day on Twitter and Facebook. They’ve become a part of our family. We’re always on the road and never really get to take a chance to breathe. So being always connected with these people makes the ride a lot more fun.

Jahan: Being connected is really important. I feel that it’s what sets us apart from other artists; what we’re doing is not a one-way street. Instead of fans tweeting, e-mailing or Facebooking an artist where normally it would go into an abyss, with us we see it as a mutually beneficial relationship where we’re all talking with each other. It’s not like we’re on this pedestal with all of these fans worshipping us; we love our fans as much as they love us.

Playboy.com: You guys kill it onstage, and we assume you know how to party. What’s the best place in the world to have a big bash?

Jahan: I always say our hometown, Chicago. I love playing there, I love partying there. Ultra Miami was crazy, too, so if you’re looking for a party scene that’s the place to go. You have this hub of electronica artists, clubs and underground parties…it’s just a whole week of that.

Playboy.com: Ultra was one of the first times you performed the lyric tracks live.

Jahan: We’ve been incorporating it in our sets now for a few months. The environments we usually play in are rave-type settings and bottle service clubs, so it’s not really suitable for that, but Yasmine and I had been dying to come out from behind the booth because we love to perform the music that we like. So we’ve been incorporating it towards the end of our sets, singing a few songs here and there, but Ultra was the biggest show we’ve done with live vocals. We had such a blast. There’s a dynamic now in our set when we DJ and then come out from the booth, interacting with the audience. It’s not just us hiding behind a computer. So we’re really stoked about that.

Playboy.com: How did you go about choosing who to include on your latest EP?

Jahan: A lot of them were friends of ours. We’re pretty connected in Los Angeles right now with the up-and-coming producers and DJs and ultimately chose those who had a really unique sound. For example KillaGraham, we knew that he’d take “Killin’ It” and put a completely different spin on it. He gave it a new bpm and it’s a completely new vibe that almost has a rock-type vibe to it, which is really cool. That’s what we look for in remixes. We’re not looking for someone to take the track and put another layer over it, it’s about completely giving the song a new direction, a new vibe, a new emotion.

Playboy.com: Was there one remix that you were really blown away by how they interpreted the song?

Yasmine: Probably Stephen Swartz’s remix of “Alive.” When we got that back for the first time, we were blown away. Nobody had ever taken one of our songs and completely flipped it 180. He did a beautiful job of it. It’s totally chill. It’s the same bpm and you would never guess it. It’s 130 bpm but it feels like another world.

Playboy.com: What are you looking forward to most this summer?

Yasmine: We have a few international dates; we’re playing Ultra in South Korea, which is really exciting. That’s in June; it’ll be our first time there. It’s always exciting to go overseas to see who we’re playing for because no one ever has any idea. We feel pretty comfortable playing shows in America because we know the places, we know we have fans here, we know that we’ll have people singing along to our songs. The second we go overseas it’s kind of like a wild card. We’re also playing Ultra Croatia. I’m curious as to what the music is like there, apparently it’s insane. I’ve heard that it’s the craziest Ultra festival in the world, so I’m so stoked to play it.

Playboy.com: What’s your favorite story from the road?

Jahan: Probably one of the funniest experiences was with Kris [Trindl]—he’s our producer in the group that goes by the stage name “Rain Man”—and Steve Angello from Swedish House Mafia. We were playing in Kansas City at this global dance festival where we opened for Steve Angello and Knife Party. After the show we stuck around to watch them and Steve came into our green room and was looking to party with us, which really surprised us since normally artists just kind of do their own thing after their set. But it seemed that his goal for the night was to get Kris drunk. It was pretty funny because he was just doing it on his own. He was just shoving tons of alcohol in his face. By the end of the night Kris was piss drunk. So we have this war going on with Steve; the next time we see him we wish to seek revenge!

*Playboy.com: *What’s your…

Worst pickup line:

Jahan: I could take your career to the next level.

Yasmine: Oh yeah, that’s a terrible one.

Favorite drink:

Jahan: Jameson, I’d say that’s our go-to drink on the road. It’s on our rider; it’s what we chug out of the bottle while we’re performing. [laughs] I’d say that’s our group drink.

*Favorite food: *

Yasmine: Anything that has a large amount of sugar in it. I’m like a kid, I like sugar.

Jahan: I’m a huge fan of Greek yogurt. Gotta be semi-fat or full-fat yogurt, plain, with honey in it!

First memory of Playboy:

Yasmine: I have such a random memory, but there is this episode of Fresh Prince where the daughter [Hillary] is posing for like a weather girl thing in Playboy, and I just have this odd memory of linking that one episode with the Playboy brand.


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