Phra aka LuckyBeard aka The New Pope aka Crookers finally returned for a full US Tour in June. His first stop, fresh off his usual European adventures was Washington DC to play at the massive EchoStage. The warehouse nature of EchoStage truly complemented the Crookers’ sound & style and allowed for the crowd to both jump wildly and get down when Phra decided that some hip hop was in order.
Luckily we were able to catch up with Phra of Crookers right before his set and find out what is going on in this wild Italians career? Crookers as a solo act: killing it on Holy Ship 2013, starting up his label Ciao Recs, getting put on the EDC Vegas lineup and more. 2013 is the year that Crookers shows the music world how much of a powerhouse he really is.
Voices from the Undrgrnd
Undrgrnd Sound: How’s 2013 going for you, what have you been doing so far?
Crookers: Really, really, really good. I’m making a lot of music even though I don’t have a lot of time. I’m always touring like crazy. I find it really, really relaxing making music when I’m home. So I’m producing so many new tracks that I don’t even remember how many there are. You know what I mean?
Yeah, ha-ha. You just came off a European tour, if I’m not wrong, correct?
Yes I’m always on European tours. I’m always in Europe, then I do a US tour, an Australian tour, an Asian tour… Then, I just go back to Europe
And the American tour, that is going on right now.
Yes. It just started, today is the first day at EchoStage DC.
What’s the show you’re excited about in the American tour besides tonight?
Tonight, for sure. Then there is tomorrow, for sure. Then there is EDC. EDC is going to be super crazy-mad.
Have you played EDC LAS VEGAS before?
No, this is why I think it’s going to be super mad. Everyone says “Ahhhhh! You’re going to play EDC, wahhhh! OHH!” That’s what they say, “AHHHH, ohh!” So I’m like, “Oh cool, cool.”
Well hopefully it lives up to your expectation.
About your record label ‘Ciao Recs” that just launched this year: what are your expectations? What are your goals for that?
Basically, I have no goal at all, ha-ha. I’m just releasing stuff that I like to play when I play a set. Just kind of like banging dance music, ha-ha. I don’t even know what to call it anymore. Like music to make people dance… so there are no rules on what I release. I think it’s pretty good to release like 98% things that are new and unknown. I receive a lot of demos every day.
Find out more about Ciao Recs [Click Here]
So, you’re trying to push the music that you think should be out there?
Are there any specific artists on your label that we should be on the look out for?
There are these guys called Dilligas. We did a song together. I think it’s been out like three days. It’s loud, the song we did together, and it’s like a… I don’t know, it’s a super loud song.
Will we hear it tonight?
Yes, sure I can play it any time. There is another guy with whom I’m working on rap, Digi. I did this rap song called “Stiahh” with him. It’s a big, big song. I based it on a reggae sample but it’s a big rap song.
CROOKERS & DIGI – STIAAH! (Riddim Version) [Free Download]
So, there is no genre that you want to be held in? You’re looking to experiment off the board?
I’ve never been a big fan of genres in general. A lot of people tried to put me in a specific genre, but I can’t understand it. I was kind of like one of the guys that make that stuff happen, but I didn’t want to be considered just in that way. Right now there is EDM stuff, there is like house stuff, techno stuff and like deep house, or whatever… I don’t like genres. I like people.
The first time that someone mentioned EDM to me was like 4 or 5 years ago, something like that. There was a magazine called EDM, and I was like, “What’s EDM?” Come on. There was this EDM magazine and I asked them, and they said it’s a genre of music called electronic dance music. Like everyone who makes dance music or electronic music is inside this genre, so it’s house and electro and dubstep, and whatever else. I think it’s more of an American thing right now. There are people that actually don’t care. I’m just like whatever.
Are there any collaborations that you’re hoping to work on? Are there any artists that you would like to partner with? Not even EDM specific.
My dream is to make a song with Madlib. I think he’s a real genius. I just did a song with Zombie Nation because I’ve loved him for a long, long time. I finally got the opportunity to go in his studio, which is amazing: crazy analog, proper, big studio. Lovely.
Pusha T – Numbers On The Board (Crookers VIP version)
What got you into music, this lifestyle and this production? What made you want to do this?
I think it was like 80% the place where I was living. It was super boring and it kind of frustrated me. So I needed something to kind of like escape that reality for a little bit. And then, 20% was the fact that my parents didn’t want to me to do music. So I was like F***k it, I’m going to do it
The name of our company is Undrgrnd Sound. What’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Umm… Underground Music movement. That stuff. I used to have a t-shirt and also a CD. Also, Vinyl. It was really big in the 90’s, but I think they still are.
Yeah, there are a lot of people who just play vinyl right now.
Is that where you started? On vinyl?
Yeah, sure. I started on vinyl, and it was pretty heavy… I mean the weight was pretty heavy. Ha-ha
Do you miss those days or do you like CDs and the advances in technology?
I guess it’s really useful to play with CDs, but I miss those days because they were those days. Not because of the vinyl. I just miss those days.