Plastic People is the second studio album from Hollands most credible band Kraak & Smaak.
Since releasing their debut album Boogie Angst, they have played over 200 live band gigs, they’ve been hailed by I-DJ as a “Must see live band” they’ve supported the stadium-rocking Faithless on their European tour and played some of the most prestigious gigs in the USA including Coachella Festival, SXSW Festival and the Miami Winter Music Conference.
Although Kraak & Smaak originally started out as a studio project for the founder members Oscar De Jong, Mark Kneppers & Wim Plug it quickly became one of the hottest live properties in electronic music.
In the UK, the boys have rocked shows for Club nights like AIR, Fingerlickin’ and Chew The Fat as well as festivals including Bestival. This year they are in negotiations with a string of key festivals including Lovebox, Glastonbury, Bestival, Big Chill & Bloom and aim to spend the summer dropping their electronic funk bombs on the UK’s Festival crowds.
When it came out, their debut Boogie Angst stood out because it sounded like nothing else around. The K&S brand of future funk led to their singles being supported by the cream of Radio 1. Annie Nightingale was the first to support the band and invited K&S to record a guestmix for her show. Annie Mac, Pete Tong and Rob Da Bank also came to the party with Rob licensing their first single Money in the Bag for his Blue Room compilation CD. Zane Lowe even adopted one of their tracks as a soundbed for his show.
On this their second album there has been a progression that is a natural result of all their touring and is testament to their ambition. There’s a collaboration with one of their heroes, rapper Dudley Perkins (a mainstay of the legendary Stones Throw label) who agreed straight away to do the vocals for “That’s My Word” once he heard the beat that the boys had cooked up for him to drop his lyrics on.
One of the performers that had most impressed the boys in the year since their debut was released was Ben Westbeech. Ben is a rapidly rising soul star, signed to Gilles Petersons influential Brownswood label so the boys were delighted when Ben agreed to collaborate with them on “Squeeze Me”. “We flew him out to our sleepy hometown of Leiden and worked together for a couple of days and Squeeze Me is the result” says Mark. “He’s a great guy and came back to Amsterdam at Christmas to perform with us at our show at the Melkweg”
So underground hero. Dudley Perkins. Check. Hottest property in Dance Music. Ben Westbeech. Check. What’s next? Oh yes let’s make sure we’ve got some world class songs on the album. For that the band turned to old friend Mark Brydon from Moloko who co-wrote “Plastic People”, due to be released as the second single from the album. “We started working with Mark and everything really clicked. Through him we met the singer Bobby NiO who does an amazing job on this track. We had an instrumental version of this track which we had been using in DJ sets for a while – Sander Kleinenberg licensed it for his Renaissance album, but it really came to life when we started working with Mark & Bobby” says Wim.
“We wanted to make sure that the album was not just about guest vocalists though. We have a tight live band who perform our songs all over the world and wanted to make sure that we worked with our own vocalists as well as guests” says Oscar. “We wrote “Ready for Life” with our singer Rose and did a killer club track called “Funk Ass Rotator” with Ro who is the drummer and vocalist in the live band”.
Apart from these highlights there is an abundance of K&S soundscape moments that give the album its ebbs and flows and mean that their audience and fanbase is a lot more widespread than just club kids. Cornered in particular picked up a lot of support for its Carl Craig style deepness and clarinet lead.
And so to the name – how have you been finding life on the road as Kraak & Smaak. “Well we got thrown out of America once for not having the right visa – I don’t think the name helped us there – But in dutch… it’s a little difficult to translate… but it means crunchy & tasty” explains Mark. “We love our name but we don’t mind if radio people have to call us K&S or anything else so long as they play us”.