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Austrian Drum and Bass Duo, Camo & Krooked, Rev to 175 BPM

Published: Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 18:06

The limelight has been sweet for Reinhard Rietsch and Markus Wagner,the Austrian drum and bass duoknown as Camo & Krooked.

The pair launched their DJ project in 2007, releasing a string of hits that quickly turned them into dance floor mavens. Tracks like “Turn Up (The Music)” and “Climax” resonated with clubbers and DJs so much that Camo & Krooked were hailed as “one of the biggest talents in drum and bass” by British drum and bass DJ Grooverider.

Last year, the hard work paid off at the Drum & Bass Arena awards where they took home three awards for “Best Producer,” “Best Video” and “Best Album.”

Now with a few extra credentials to their name, Rietsch and Wagner are coming through the US for some additional tour dates, including one stop at School of Rock in Tempe on June 7.               

College Times: For those of us who are not too familiar, can you explain what the drum and bass genre is?
Markus Wagner: It is an electronic music genre with a broken drum pattern on 175 beats per minute. If you can’t imagine how fast that is, approximately: hip-hop is on 90BPM, techno, house, around 125BPM and dubstep on 140BPM. Because of its speed it carries a lot of energy with it. There are a lot of sub-genres though, like liquid drum and bass, which is mellower, dance floor drum and bass, and neurofunk, which can differ quite a lot. 

How did you two get into that category?
Wagner: Once you get familiar with the drum and bass genre, you either love it or hate it and we loved it with the first tune we heard – it had so much power and sounded way fresher than any other musical genre.

You guys didn’t come together until 2007. What led you guys to want to collaborate and become a team?
Reinhard Rietsch: When you want to improve in your career, you have to get honest feedback from other people. Since [Krooked] and I would send everything we did back and forth all the time, we exchanged feedback every second — that made the production [process] a lot better than sitting alone in the studio, struggling because you didn’t know if the tune you just created was good enough. After a while we couldn’t work individually anymore because each of us had abilities the other half didn’t. It’s like a production symbiosis.

So how do you guys function as a DJ duo onstage?
Wagner: We are both responsible for everything. We DJ with three CDJS (a device that allows DJing from CDs, basically) and a headphone splitter, so both of us can mix at the same time. And when one of us is adjusting a tune in the mix, the other guy can select the next tune and insert it and mix it on the fly. 

2011 was a big year for you. How did you guys react to the news that you’d won three Drum & Bass Arena awards?
Rietsch: 2011 was definitely the milestone year for us so far. The three awards showed us that almost two years of hard work on the album have paid off. We had hoped to win one award but winning two more was quite surreal. Especially the best producer category was a very big honor for us.

What do you have in store for the rest of this year?
Rietsch: We made a remix for Paul Van Dyk, which is coming out mid June. Other than that we have been busy in the studio for the last weeks to work on the next album already. There are more things we are working on, but we can’t spill the beans on that so … patience. 

Tell me about your live show dynamic.
Wagner: The main attraction of our live show is a big LED cage, which is synchronized to our music. It’s an Ableton set where we mash up all our tunes live and modify them with different drum, melody and vocal patterns on two iPads and an APC 40. In addition to that we play several scores live. On the vocal tip we got our singer Ayah Marar and our MC Youthstar.

Camo & Krooked, School of Rock, 411 S. Mill Avenue, Tempe, 480.966.3573, Thursday, June 7, 9:30 p.m., $10

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