MORE

Crookers on EDM, Hip-Hop, Shitty Formulas, and Making "Sex Music"

Crookers on EDM, Hip-Hop, Shitty Formulas, and Making "Sex Music"

In the whole world of EDM, there might not be a more fun-loving DJ-producer than Francesco "Phra" Barbaglia, AKA Crookers.

Like, what kind of mind does it take to make a song called "Ghetto Guetta"? Clearly, Phra has the kind of brain that's always racing to test new waters.

Speaking of new waters, he's got all kinds of new tracks, "sex music" as he says, and he's going to be trying them out on Thursday, June 20, at Grand Central. We spoke to him earlier about just how far he's come, where he's going now, and why he's never looking back.

See Also:

-Crookers: "If You See Two Babies, My Music Is the One With the Cross Eye"

You started DJing when you were about 11. You were doing a lot of hip-hop, and hip-hop beats have seemed to play a part in a lot of the music that you produce. How do you feel about the current merging of dance and hip-hop cultures?

I mean, the Kid Cudi track was kind of like that, take a rap song and transform it into a completely different thing, with a house-y electro. But I always feel like I'm supercontaminated by rap music in genera,l because as you said, yeah, I started when I was 11 with a lot of rap stuff, and right now actually, I'm listening to a lot of rap again. But all the contamination between house and rap, there is something that is really amazing and some other stuff is kind of the same thing, over and over. I feel like there is kind of a formula that isn't really working anymore for me, which is the formula of the "Day 'n' Nite" remix.

Look what you started.

Exactly. That formula, I think, was something really good and exciting like five years ago. There was no hook in that song. The hook was the synthesizer, sirens, and stuff. So I was really, really happy when that happened. I was like, "What? Wow, something is changing." But then I think it got overdone. Like, have the rapper go eight bars, then do a supercrazy drop, which is something formulaic. I like there to still be some music in music, and not just be supernoisy. Eh, today I feel like this. Maybe tomorrow I will feel like completely different. I am kind of ADD about it.

 

Tell us about your current project.

It's actually how I did Tons of Friends, which was making music with people who were touring, and so I had a lot of features. It took a lot of time to do that stuff, but it was good in the end, to me. Right now, I'm making kind of the same stuff but making it for the clubs. I don't even know if it's an album or singles and EPs, or just free tracks, if it's gonna be called Dr. Gonzo Two. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm just doing a lot of music. But any type of music.

I am doing some R&B that sounds really weird, and then some R&B with supercrazy, heavy house music and instrumentals. I'm just trying to make work and mash up different beats that I did in the last few months. I think it's working. I have some really nice songs already, and I'm looking forward to trying it out on this tour and see how they work. I want to try to make like a mash-up between Tons and Friends and Dr. Gonzo, the two albums. So, ideally it's something for the club with some weirdness, but with some vocals that are not really club. I'm really into R&B. I've been listening to a lot of stuff.

What is some of it that you're looking to for inspiration?

Actually, I listen to Jeremih. That kind of stuff. He's an example of what I like right now.

Are you going to try to work with him?

I asked my manager, yeah. I think we're working to try to get him and see if he's down to do it. I know he did something with Shlohmo that was really good. I'm really trying to do my type of sound or club stuff with that kind of atmosphere right now, kind of deep and sexy. Can I describe that? Sex music. Whatever.

 

What other projects are you working on?

Actually, my side project (Lucky Beard), and one of my labels, Ciao Records. Lucky Beard, I release really weird stuff since three years, and Ciao Recs, I release kind of like, fuck, I could even say bangers. Like, festival music that I can play when I play as Crookers, because I am receiving, since ten years ago, so many demos and promos and music from all over the world. I thought it was just a cool thing to start to release some of these new guys and try to get it out, but it's working, actually. I'm on the third release and since then, I got some attention on it. People that release stuff are really happy because they have attention from other DJs and people are starting to play Ciao Recs stuff, so it's exciting.

It must feel good to be able to spread that wealth with other people that deserve attention.

Oh yeah, sure. I'm just trying to get them as much exposure. I'm actually doing a lot of tracks right now with people that I'm releasing on Ciao Recs, too, because it's natural. I'm relating with some people because I love their music and then we just start to speak in Skype, and then we just start to share sessions. It's a natural thing that you end up making sounds with them, and then I did some tracks with other people on Ciao Recs, like Dilligas and Louis Benoit.

Anything else you've got coming out soon?

I've got this release on OWSLA, it's the next stuff that's going to come out, official stuff. It's called "Ghetto Guetta." It's nothing against Guetta, I super respect that guy. I just feel like when someone gets so big, it's cool. I just tried to do a song that was, in my mind, a version of a Guetta song but made by a ghetto guy, so it sounds kind of weird. I always play it, people get really into that stuff. I think it's funny. I don't know, I love it. I actually am waiting to have a release date for that single track, and then I really want to do a video too. I'm really looking forward to do the video, because if you think about making a video for a song called "Ghetto Guetta," it can be really, really funny. My idea was to make a proper Guetta video with a private jet, like that kind of super huge DJ or also a rapper thing, but only the broadest way. Like, a guy for the first time is making that stuff, he really doesn't know what to do. I don't know, I want to see what's going to happen.

Crookers. Thursday, June 20, at Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Ages 18 and up. The party starts at 11 p.m., and tickets cost $15 plus fees via ticketfly.com. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmia.com.

Crookers on EDM, Hip-Hop, Shitty Formulas, and Making "Sex Music"

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

Use Current Location

Related Location

miles
Grand Central

Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >