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Reinvented, reinvigorated remix

Keys N Krates integrate live instrumentation, manipulation into an anything-but-traditional DJ set



Who: Keys N Krates

When: Tuesday, March 31, 9 p.m.

Where: Moe Joe's

Cost: $5 in advance at Moe Joe's, Evolution, Showcase and Glacier Shop

This three-piece group, which includes musicians Jr. Flo, Matisse and Tune, is currently at the 2009 South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, checking out new talent and putting their unique sound out there for others in the industry to hear. But, Jr. Flo took some time out of their busy schedule to answer some questions for Pique , via e-mail:

Pique: So, your bio starts with a pretty bold claim that you "Reinvented the Remix." How have you managed to breathe fresh life into the art of the remix?

J.F.: Basically we are taking samples and freaking them via turntables, live sampling, as well as live instrumentation right in front of your eyes. The result is an entirely new musical experience. Ya kinda just have to see it.

Pique: Respectively, what are your individual musical backgrounds?

J.F .: I'm a former competitive DJ that's done both the battle circuit. Tune is a hard-hitting drummer who's played a lot of different styles of music, and Matisse is a classically trained keys dude who also has his own solo R&B project.

Pique: How were you drawn into the world of DJing?

J.F.: I used to watch rap videos when I was seven years old and only pay attention to what the DJ was doing. I pretty much knew from that point that I wanted to at least try it.

Pique: And how did the three of you manage to hook up to create Keys N Krates?

J.F.: Matisse and myself had this mutual friend, Abby (heads up our admin). He knew that both of us had an idea to do a project like this, so he sort of set us up. Matisse then brought Tune into the picture and he really took to and fit into the project well.

Pique: I understand that the underlying concept is to create a group that functions more like a band, with the DJ acting as the lead singer. How has this structure worked, so far?

J.F.: We often say the DJ is the lead singer because all of our vocals are samples that are chopped and looped by myself right now. But really it's to get across the fact that the instrumentation both centres around and carries out sample manipulation. The drums and the keys sort of do the same thing that the turntables do. They flip melodies and drum grooves, and there is nothing stopping Matisse or Tune from loading vocal midi into their instruments. It's all about the live manipulation using our individual tools.