Nobody was more surprised by the massive success of Krewella's debut single "Alive" than the band itself, says Yasmine Yousaf. Released on the 2012 EP Play Hard, Yousaf recalls watching in amazement as the track scaled U.S. pop charts.
"We didn't expect anything big out of it," says Yousaf, who comprises the Chicago-based EDM trio with sister Jahan and Kris "Rainman" Trindl. Then, without warning, fans, radio and the group's management "started to gravitate toward" the song, Krewella's first attempt at a progressive house track.
Next thing Yousaf and crew knew, "Alive" "slowly, slowly, slowly climbed the charts." Ultimately, it peaked at #32 on the Billboard Hot 100; the accompanying video has amassed nearly 17 million views to date.
"It was all really organic," Yousaf says, "It caught us by surprise."
This surprise success, however, prepared Krewella for the release of its first full-length set. Get Wet, a 12-track progressive house, dubstep and drum & bass collection which includes "Alive" and follow-up "Live for the Night," arrived Sept. 24.
"The cumulative sound is probably something very schizophrenic and ADD," says Yousaf of the album with a laugh. "There's everything on there. There's a song for almost every genre and feeling."
While Yousaf promises the set will "still have your party songs" - tracks like "Come & Get It" and "We Are One" - she says Krewella "went a little deeper" lyrically on this outing.
"Tracks like 'Human' and 'Pass the Love Around' are a little bit slower," Yousaf notes. Krewella "spent a lot more time writing the lyrics and trying to dig deep" into the experiences of the last two years to "pull out all that pain and happiness and hard times and every emotion" they experienced.
With every track on the album co-written by Yasmine and Jahan, the collection also features collaborations with such well-known songwriters as Toby Gad. The Grammy nominee, whose credits include Beyonce and The Veronicas, contributed "We Go Down" and "Human."
"There's something beautiful about going into the studio and collaborating with another person, throwing a new mind in the mix, someone who's more experienced, who has a new ear - a fresh ear," says Yousaf. "We got to do that on this album, which is really exciting."
And while Get Wet might be a bit all-over-the-place musically, Yousaf promises it's not because the group is searching for its own sound or identity. Though Krewella meanders from one EDM sub-genre to the next, this only reflects the group's need to experiment.
"We know exactly what is a Krewella song, exactly what should be a Krewella song, and that's kind of an open door," say Youssaf, who is certain long-time supporters are already aware of this.
"Fans which know us deeper than 'Alive' and 'Live for the Night' or whatever they've heard on the radio are going to know we're going to end up doing whatever the fuck we want," she says, "But it's always gonna be dance music."