You can’t blame us for wanting a bit of hedonistic relief after a year of going stir-crazy within our four walls. And as we yearn for release, and ache for the proximity and darkness of a packed dance floor, here to give it to us, no questions asked, is dark-pop trio KRUDO.
Comprised of pop singer Olivia May Green, as well as established industry greats, producers Dan Duncan and Igor Tchkotoua, KRUDO blurs the lines of genre to make way for a whole new body-moving beast – and their latest release “You Can’t Blame Me” is no exception. Moody warped synths, sinister bass lines and the haunting vocals of Green tell a story of empowerment and self-love, as she growls “I’ll never change or leave to fit your master plan.” Just the anthem we needed when many of us will be feeling disconnected and out of sorts. The trio have previously stated that their music is “not about polished pop music; it’s about memorable moments that hold a clear message.” And that much is clear from the formidable sonic palette of the new release, accompanied by a symbolic music video which shows Green breaking the picture-perfect shackles of industry expectation and rising phoenix-like into her own identity.
Taken from their two-part EP of the same name, the release comes as part of the ever-expanding release schedule of label HE.SHE.THEY – the event series, record label and fashion brand operating as a safe space for individuals regardless of “age, race, sex, gender, ableness, religious background or sexual preference”.
We caught up with the trio and talked making music packed with “attitude, edge, euphoric sounds”, and their simmering dark-pop track “You Can’t Blame Me”…
Hi Olivia, Dan and Igor – how have you been during this uncertain time? How has it impacted your music and creativity?
Dan: It’s certainly been a massive shift after touring as an international DJ virtually every weekend for almost 30 years. At first I found it hard to digest what was going on around me however after some time I saw a way to feel inspired by the fact I was in an industry that was trying to reinvent its self. There’s always a positive that comes from a negative. As an artist I’ve always drawn from what’s surrounding me emotionally and thats very much what music is about. Absorbing experiences and connecting with how it relates to your feelings helps others relate to your experiences.
How did you all meet, and how did you pick the name KRUDO?
Olivia: We met through a mutual friend, I was working on a project and she talked to me about Igor and how he was quite well known in the techno world. We spoke a little about having a session together, because I’ve always loved experimenting with music and writing for genres, so we decided to meet up and instantly started writing new tracks. Then, Igor introduced me to Dan, we lived nearer to each other than Igor so we became very close. Dan actually came up with the name KRUDO, one day we were speaking about the music and he said my lyrics we’re extremely raw and honest, we translated that to Spanish, crudo and changed it to KRUDO.
Your music is so genre-less, and you’ve talked about how it’s “about memorable moments”, but where would you say your derive your biggest influences and inspirations?
Olivia: Honestly, a huge inspiration for me would be film and TV. I love thrillers, action, drama. I get inspiration from events that happen within whatever I’m watching. Recently I watched the whole series of “The 100” (so many hours of my life gone) and I started writing really dark music, literally about killing someone and living with the consequences. I thought I was going mad! Of course I get a lot of inspiration from other artists, like London Grammar, Charli XCX, BANKS… their style of writing and the different musical elements that they use. A lot of the time I write about my own life, about that voice in the back of my head that comes and goes, and how I cope with certain situations.
Dan: I think right now our main influences are between us three, as we all come from different parts of the musical spectrum. With my background first being in pop and Drum & Bass and then forming a Techno Duo with Igor for the last 20 years I’ve learnt to bounce back off those you trust in an artistic environment. Olivia has an incredible talent both lyrically and is a master of melodies that are incredibly unique. When sharing that personal create space you have to be able to break down barriers that most find uncomfortable to say the least, however we’ve found this groove between us of a challenging genre and adding elements that add nostalgia with references to old school and new school.
Congratulations on your new song “You Can’t Blame Me”, what was it inspired by?
And the music video was filmed at London institution The Omeara – what did you want to evoke with it?
Olivia: Thank you so much! When I wrote “You Can’t Blame Me” I was feeling huge mix of emotions. I was feeling self conscious about myself both physically and mentally, I’ve always been very aware of what people think about me, caring too much about what they have to say or how they react over things. In the song. I basically say all the negative things that I can about myself so that nobody else could. I guess in a way, protecting myself. I’ve had a lot of people tell how I should behave on stage or act in front of a camera. I was putting pressure on myself for so long to be perfect, trying to get everyone to like me. So the chorus is like an explosion and realisation that it really doesn’t matter what others think about you, it’s important to just be true to yourself and embrace your flaws. There is always room for improvement in every one of us, but don’t beat yourself up if you’re not working 100% or even 50% to better yourself every day. In the music video I wanted to appear uncomfortable in the first part, with a whole production team surrounding me, symbolising all the people in my life that tried to change me. Then, finally have this overwhelming breakthrough in the chorus where I suddenly come across as extremely confident and sassy. The director, Kassandra Powell and the whole team behind her did an amazing job and completely brought the song to life.
And it’s taken from your two-part EP of the same name, what do you think ties the songs together as a body of work?
Dan: Attitude, edge, euphoric sounds and a shit load of meaning. I think with music or art in general, it kind of speaks for itself because everyone takes what they feel out of it. Ive had this discussion about songs or paintings a million times but at the end of the day its up to the individual to interpret what they hear for themselves.
Olivia: I agree with Dan, but I think the main thing that ties all the songs together as a body of work would be that music is upbeat and makes you want to move and dance along, although at the same time the entire theme is quite dark so it can be quite contrasting which is something I like.
Why did being signed to HE.SHE.THEY feel like such a good fit? And also fitting with your ethos?
Dan: Yeah its an honour for us because they’re not only a company that can embrace the direction we are heading in but also have an incredible knowhow of how to enter this market with a very equal minded ethos and thats something we are passionate about.
Olivia: I think HE.SHE.THEY are amazing, they really focus on creating a safe place without any prejudice when it comes to your gender, sexual preference, religion etc… They are really passionate about music and they really care about their artists. We are quite a unique band with different ages and backgrounds, HE.SHE.THEY. respect us and look beyond the way we may appear on the outside and respect us for the music that we make together as a band.
How does it feel releasing new music when most of the world is in lockdown/everything feels so uncertain – what do you hope your music will bring?
Dan: Music is something that unites us and has a history of assisting us to get through moments that have challenged humanity. Uncertainty is brutal, and can effect us on so many levels, however we’ve relied on music to give us hope and comfort by helping us step out of the everyday focus.
Olivia: It’s true, these are scary and confusing times, everything is changing as well as the way we write music. Although, the way I see it is that we can use this time to work even harder than we normally would, there aren’t as many distractions anymore so there isn’t really an excuse. Everyone is feeling more emotional, more lonely, uncertain of what the future will bring, so there are more things to write about. I hope our music with bring company to those who are struggling, I hope that it will make them feel less like they are going through this global pandemic alone.
What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to in 2021?
Olivia: I mean, it would obviously be amazing if we could perform live. That seems like it will be highly unlikely so I’m looking forward to performing virtually, growing a following online and making contacts within the industry. 2021 has just started and I already feel like it’s going to be a good year creatively. We have already started working on new music which I can’t wait to share with people.
Dan: Although challenged by working in three different studios we are definitely a team of prolific writers, so we are all over creative flows currently.