Now on the Fallout: Part 2 tour, KRANE spoke to Saint Audio about life on the road, and how he stays focused on creating his memorable brand of EDM.
Tell me a little more about yourself and your music.
I had a 9 to 5 and started listening to electronic music probably like four to five years ago. Making hip hop beats and putting them online started as a hobby, and it really grew organically. I never went to shows and didn’t really know who DJs were when I started, and I just kind of learned about it more and more as I started getting some attention. Then all of a sudden I started getting booking requests, which was a really funny thing for me, because my only exposure to DJs was like, weddings and bar mitzvahs. The more I learned about it, the project just kept growing and I decided to put effort into it, because I love producing music—pretty much any kind of electronic music, hip hop, trap, stuff like that. It just sort of grew to the point where I realized I had a chance to make this a career. I quit my job after a lot of careful planning and consideration, and started doing this full-time. Now I mostly make EDM and trap music, and I make samples for other producers, but overall I’m this guy named KRANE now that plays shows. You couldn’t have told me five years ago I’d be doing this. I wouldn’t even know what this was, so it’s pretty cool. Now I’ve really been doing it in earnest for two years now.
Give me some more details on part two of the Fallout tour! What can your fans expect from this show?
We’ve got a bunch of dates coming up, and I’m really lucky to bring some really fantastic people with me (Myrne, Slumberjack, and Alexander Lewis). We’re going to be doing a bunch of fun stuff on stage, and some surprises, and some collaborating. People should come out; if they like the music, and they’ve heard my sets before, this is going to be a little bit different. It’s going to be awesome!
That sounds great! When you’re on tour, what is one item you can’t live without when you’re the road?
Hmm. I’d have to say… my Kindle.
What are your favorite type of books?
I’ve been on this hardcore sci-fi and fantasy kick for like, two years now. I’m on the road a lot—there’s a lot of waiting, there’s a lot of long flights, so I need multi-series books, like trilogies and stuff. If I’m on a long flight and my laptop battery dies, the Kindle NEVER dies. I like to read a lot, so that’s my go-to. That’s one of the benefits of touring, I have so much time to read.
Man, I need to go on tour now! I have so many books on my bookshelf that I tell myself I’ll read one day, and then I always end up watching Netflix. It’s terrible.
Yeah! I barely ever read at home, that’s why I like the Kindle thing. It’s also nice because it’s portable.
Yeah, totally, that makes sense! It’s also a great advertisement for Kindle, now I might have to go buy one! Do you feel like the things you read influence your music or your visuals in any way?
Oh yeah, totally! I’ve always been pretty nerdy at heart. I grew up watching a lot of fantasy stuff, a lot of anime, and things like that. Even the bands I grew up with—so much of the visual identity, their music videos and everything, were all a part of the experience. I grew up listening to a lot of Tool, Marilyn Manson, White Zombie… all these things, all their different touchpoints felt like a part of the story. I think for me, that’s something I try to remember for my listeners—to be somewhat consistent with the mood, not just with the music but with the visuals and everything that goes along with it, because I’m trying to create a whole experience. So yeah, I feel like whether consciously or subconsciously, my affectation for weird, nerdy, sci-fi stuff comes into play.
I can definitely sense the futuristic elements in your music. I feel like the word I would use to describe a lot of your music is “expansive”—it’s so detailed, and it wraps you in this layer of sound. Speaking of your music, what songs are you most looking forward to playing live on this tour?
One thing I love doing, and I feel like I have more leeway to do it now—I have so much unreleased music, that if I’m playing support or a big room or something like that, I’m a little hesitant to play it then. You want to set people’s expectations a little bit, you don’t want to go too far and play a lot of music they’ve never heard before, but with this tour it’s different. I play a ton of unreleased stuff in my sets. Once in a while, if it’s a particularly challenging song, I’ll let the crowd know that it’s not done, or that it’s something they’ve never heard before. It’s so exciting to see their response, and what’s cool is that every night after the show, I run back and I tweak some things. People are hearing music, but they’re not going to hear it quite the same way once it’s released. It’s cool, I love doing that.
I feel like that would be such a great way to test things out and see. Getting an audience response or reaction to it is the best way to influence your creative process, especially when you have so much music that you’re making. I know myself, and I know that if I worked on one thing long enough, I’ll never think it’s perfect, so I have to show someone else.
Exactly. It’s about context too. If I’m working on lots of music on headphones or at home, I know how to make it sound good in those environments, but it’s a little bit different when you’re hearing it in the context of a venue, or in a set. I’m trying to have my music straddle both in a lot of ways, and be at home in both environments. There’s only one way to see how something is going to sound in a venue in front of a crowd, and that’s to play it. It’s a lot of fun.
Let’s talk about Fallout. Did you ever hit a roadblock when you were making the songs off the album, and if so, how did you move past them?
This project just grew and grew and grew, to the point where I was struggling with what to remove, not what to add. All the songs came pretty naturally. The hard part was editing it down to a collection that made sense, and then shelving the other songs I loved but didn’t quite fit the mood I was going for. I’d say afterwards, after it was all done and I put in all the hours for mixing and all this stuff, I hit a bit of a block because you just get tired. Your ears get tired, your mind gets tired. I spent so much time at the end strategizing and micro-analyzing every sound, that I had to remember to reset afterwards, and go back to that process of playing around and not overthinking things, which is how songwriting starts for me. So I’d say the block came afterwards, if anything. But I took a little break, you know? As a producer, and I think a lot of other producers can relate to this, you get stressed out when you’re not actively working on music. If you don’t feel like you have the next awesome single lined up that you’re finishing, it’s a bit stressful, because you start thinking, “what if it doesn’t happen again?” But for me, it’s about recognizing that stress is there and then ignoring it, and going back to having fun.
That’s a skill that I really admire, because I think it’s tough sometimes to make yourself set aside the stress, and allow yourself to recharge. Recognizing that just because I’m not working right at that moment doesn’t mean that I’m not going to keep working or that things aren’t going to work out. It’s easier said than done.
Yeah, it takes a lot of will to believe and to look back at the times you’ve done it before successfully, and there’s always the unknown. Like, what if I just can’t… do it again? What if that was it? But those are all irrational fears. It goes away, and the more you just force yourself to sit down and try to have fun, then you realize, “Oh, okay. There’s plenty more music.“
Totally. What do you usually like to do to de-stress that’s not music related?
Oh, cooking and baking.
Oh really! Tell me more!
I love food. I love thinking about food, and watching cooking shows or videos to learn new techniques. I love trying a new recipe, or learning something new, but to unwind it’s nice to go back to the basics and the staples. I have one friend that I bake a lot with, that’s really fun. Otherwise, just roasting a chicken and making chicken soup or something, that’s how I unwind.
I’m the same, I love cooking. I find it to be very meditative.
You have to follow a process, you can’t really be checking your phone or messing around with other stuff, which is a relief. What’s been a favorite dish recently?
Probably like once or twice a week I’ve been roasting chickens, and then I’ve been using that to make a bone broth as well after I roast the chicken. Getting the perfect roast chicken that’s still moist with crispy skin has been something I’ve been doing a lot. I like taking one thing and doing it over and over again, to the point where I don’t need to think when I do it anymore, and then it becomes really relaxing. Before that, I was braising a lot of pork, and things like that. But right now it’s roasting chickens.
That sounds so good! Switching gears here: what kind of songs are you working on now? Are you working on more heavy trap stuff, or more melodic stuff, or a little bit of everything?
Well it’s definitely a mix, I’m always sketching and making stuff. I think that… I’m always making the trap stuff because I always want new, high energy songs whether it gets released or it’s just for my sets. I’d say right now I’ve been definitely doing a lot more melodic music, I guess, and a lot of—I don’t know if it’s nostalgic, but I’m pulling a lot of synth stuff.
So, on the topic of creativity and inspiration, who are some artists that are inspiring you right now?
I think a lot of the creative inspirations I take are outside of my genre. I could very easily say some people that are inspiring in electronic music, like Rustie, or RL Grime, or Hudson Mohawke. But right now, I listen to a lot of modern ambient music. Really simple, relaxing stuff. There’s this one pianist named Nils Frahm, and he’s a huge inspiration, especially when it comes to chords and moods. People like him—there’s a composer called Arvo Pärt, and he does a lot of what’s called “sacred music,” which is a lot of religious sounding music. It’s so simple and moody, and I love hearing music that does the maximum amount of work with the minimal amount of chord changes. It might just be one surprising thing, but every time it happens, it’s so impressive. That stuff is really inspiring for dance music, because it’s so much about—everything needs to be simple, and you can do one or two interesting things, and that’s all. It’s like a haiku; you’re capturing something with the least amount of sounds. Which is something I struggle with, so it’s part of why I look for it.
My last question kind of touches upon the mood you channel in your music—if your creative process had an aura, what color would it be and why?
Green. I guess the first word that came to mind was “natural”. It’s very unforced. It’s very calm in a way, but it’s like—I’d say a lot of my career process involves turning off my mind and just being open, and not being self-critical while I’m working. I work fast, I do a lot of different things, and nine out of ten ideas I throw away, but that to me is the point. Getting out of my comfort zone involves turning off my inner critic and just having fun. All my favorite songs I’ve done, and a lot of the ones that have the best reception, come from letting go of control, and letting it happen naturally.
See if KRANE is coming to a city near you, and buy tickets to the Fallout: Part 2 tour here.