11 October 2008
MSTRKRFT co-mastermind Jesse F. Keeler was on the cusp of breaking big with his former band, Death from Above 1979. But boredom - and a fear of winding up like the Rolling Stones - led him to ditch the electro-punk crew and turn his sights to producing.
“We played the same songs for like two (expletive) years,” Keeler said this week from a hotel in Minneapolis. “It’s like the Rolling Stones still playing those songs. I really can’t imagine having to do that.”
Formed in Toronto, MSTRKRFT (say “Master Kraft”) helped pump fresh life into a stagnant dance-music scene with its 2006 robotic disco opus “The Looks.”
Keeler and his partner in digital crime, Alex Puodziukas, don’t have to worry about repetitive sets anymore. The duo, which plays The Estate Monday with L.A. Riots, can manipulate, slice, dice, edit and re-edit anything they want as they spin records and laptop DJ across the nation.
“It’s a lot of production, and the stuff we’re playing is all pretty chopped up and it’s interesting,” he said about their live show. “It’s actually a lot of work up there. There’s no time for us to even look around.”
MSTRKRFT, which has also found success crafting underground remixes of Usher and N.O.R.E., plans to release its new CD, “Fist of God,” next month. Keeler says it will build on the duo’s clubshaking legacy.
“The great thing about this music is it has a purpose,” he said. “It’s called dance music - it says it right there in the name. It makes it easier when you’re making music that has a purpose.”
Both Keeler and Puodziukas come from a punk background, which Keeler says shouldn’t be a surprise since the current electro, nu-disco scene has the same DIY spirit.
“Part of what was special about punk was that you didn’t need a lot to make it happen,” Keeler said. “And the reality is, you can make all this music on a laptop. You don’t need a record label. You just put it out on a blog and the whole world will have it. In that sense, I believe this music is living out what punk claimed it wanted to do.”
When it comes to the road, there’s no need for a tour bus or van. Just two dudes with a laptop, CDs, some vinyl and a thirst to spend a few hours rocking a dark nightclub.
“We’re having a lot of fun,” he said. “I feel like I’m 16 years old. I’m 31. Who knew that hard drinking could actually make you feel younger?”
MUSIC MASTERS: MSTRKRFT spins dance music Monday at the Estate.