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Band EDM World


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The best kept secret in music


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The Looks (2006)


Feeling a bit camera shy


There’s a punk disco party going in, and MSTRKRFT are ready to man the decks. JFK and ALP are here to up the ante as rock’s merger with electro continues to incite, excite, and rumble its way into dance charts the world over. They’ve got mad skills, fresh sounds, and they’ve developed a legion of loyal fans in less than a year. Just who is the mystery duo?

MSTRKRFT (pronounced ‘Master craft’) is the project of Toronto musician Jesse F. Keeler and studio wizard Al-P, two music-loving dudes who’ve been itching to make people dance as hard as they’ve made them rock. The pair has been collaborating, on and off, since 1998, when Al recorded Jesse’s punk rock band Black Cat #13. Though they went separate routes – Jesse taking a brief break from music, and Al moving to New York where he worked at studios like Sound on Sound and Chung King recording artists as diverse as Jay-Z, Wyclef Jean, and David Clayton Thomas – the friends remained in contact, trading tapes of their individual, unreleased forays into dance music.

Al returned to T.O. in December 2001, going on to work at studios including Chemical and his own Kimagure Sound, and becoming one of the city’s hottest go-to men for hip-hop, house, and rock artists alike. His short-lived, self-described “weirdo” project Girls Are Short preceded the current, popular merger of indie rock and electronics, influencing bands including Broken Social Scene who count themselves as fans.

Jesse returned to music with the solo punk rock explosion Femme Fatale, enlisting Al-P to record the many singles that ensued. This studio success naturally led to Al’s being at the helm early in 2002 when Jesse was looking for fresh production ideas to compliment his new band, Death From Above 1979, also featuring drummer/vocalist Sebastien Grainger. Jesse and Al worked 15 hours a day in the studio together to complete DFA 79’s You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine, a red-hot masterpiece that fuses the energy of rock and roll with the oomph of disco. Not only did 2004’s You’re A Woman… go on to receive rave reviews from the likes of Pitchfork, MTV, Spin, Chart, Eye, and and spawn hit singles like “Romantic Rights,” and “Black History Month,” it also gave rise to Jesse and Al’s resolve to start their own project.

Enter MSTRKRFT, a shit-hot addition to the global community of sonic warriors currently smashing down boundaries between punk, house, hip-hop, grime, electro, and all kinds of electronic experimentation.

“What we’re making now, we don’t know what the hell it is, but I know it’s danceable,” says JFK. “We were hanging out in New York with Armand Van Helden the other day, talking about making tracks, and he was like ‘As long as that thump is there, it’s fine and it will appeal to that audience.”
“So simple. So true,” laughs ALP.

MSTRKRFT is already proving this to be so. In October of 2004, the duo recorded their first remix for release – a balls-to-the-wall rendition of NYC band The Panthers’ “Thank Me With Your Hands.” An immediate underground success even before official release (the song was first included on a promo-only Vice magazine CD), the remix was played in dance clubs, rock clubs, and made its way onto compilations, including Plant Music’s prestigious The Sound of Young New York + Toronto.