07/21/2014 04:06 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Janet Krupin Keeps Dance Music Trill: How Working Alongside Idina Menzel Inspired Integrity-Driven EDM


I'll spend my whole life long chasing ways to live inside a song.

That line in Trillium's upcoming EP (extended play music album) represents exactly what Janet Krupin and Alex Caraballo hope to accomplish as they aim to revolutionize the dance music scene.

"What makes Trillium different [is that] yes, we're dance music, but we want to be dance music with integrity, with consciousness," Krupin said. "We want our live shows to be that wonderful wellness, tribal experience that I think -- at its best -- dance music is. I want more people to be exposed to that."

Krupin is currently in the Broadway show If/Then starring Idina Menzel, someone Krupin cites as being a powerful inspiration in Krupin's desire to create music. Yet though Krupin may be a "Broadway girl," she wants to do as much as she possibly can with music -- and that included heading to Brooklyn night after night once the Broadway show ended in order to record original music with Caraballo, a law student and musician/producer.

Krupin and Caraballo have a vision of electronic dance music (EDM) that refreshes people through movement and sound, a vision of dance music that leaves people with a cleared mind and increased connection with the universe.

"The anxiety and depression I've battled throughout my life completely evaporates when a song takes you in its arms and hugs you and tells you everything is going to be okay," Krupin said. "I feel safe and happy in songs. And I think other people do too."

Krupin and Caraballo will be performing Trillium's Aurora EP at a release party on July 26 in New York City. But Krupin hopes this is only the beginning of Trillium's desire to revolutionize the world of dance music. She hopes to expose as many people as possible to the healing power of the dance music scene.

"I hope [people] get their heart rate up, smile, and hug your friends [at our live performances]. That's a very eastern thing to do, but it's very allowed and encouraged at these dance music things," Krupin said, "so that's what we're going to do."

Between Krupin's busy Broadway schedule and her work with Trillium, I had the chance to catch up with her last week. Check out the interview below for more information about what Trillium means to Krupin, how the acting industry is like playing bingo, and her advice to aspiring musicians.


How did you come up with the name "Trillium" and what does it mean to you?
Trillium is a wildflower. I grew up in Washington state around tons of nature, and one [flower] that always stuck out in my head was a trillium because it's a rare flower. I liked how [Trillium] sounded kind of elemental, nuclear almost. And I liked how the word "trill" has kind of entered urban dictionary to mean "true" and "real."

Our Trillium is the opposite of entropy, an element like a benevolent kryptonite. Our logo is called the ScarStar: the mystery and magic in the phenomenon of what was supposed to destroy you, instead making you stronger. A rarity, but with an adrenaline-like potential for growth and power.

How and why did you get interested in the dance music scene?
I grew up in a small town, [and] I was into theater, so that's all my mother took me to. I didn't go to my first real concert until I was 18. I remember every live concert I saw after that was a unique and special and wonderful thing. It was a new kind of magic that I wasn't very used to and totally mystified by.

It wasn't until I was on the road with Bring It On did I think I'd like to make some of this. I didn't [go through with it] until I lost my job last year, barely paying my rent, looking around like "oh my God, this Broadway thing comes and goes, doesn't it?" I wanted to make music and take people on a journey. And I also had a deep desire to try to help people.

How have your experiences working on Broadway influenced your music?

I don't know that any of this would be happening if I hadn't got to sit in the room for three Broadway shows in a row and watch it be born. I think that's a pretty unique perspective that I feel very privileged to have had. Especially since something I felt like I battled coming from the small town that I did, moving to L.A. at 18... it made me have this sense that I was supposed to be timid because I didn't have actual knowledge. I didn't feel like I had permission to create [until] I sat in these rooms [for the Broadway shows] and watched people that I loved and admired have an idea and then the relentless process to make it the best it can be. And I thought, "I have ideas; I think I have something to say that's worth saying."

I'm going to be very honest, I love performing, [so] I find being a swing [on Broadway] a little hard; but on the other hand, if I hadn't had this wonderful job and this warm and encouraging workplace -- which is so rare -- then I don't think that any of this would be possible. It's a lovely work environment here. When you meet someone like Idina Menzel who I've looked up to ever since I heard the Rent cast recording... not only is she a goddess, but she's the nicest. It's utterly inspiring.

You mention on your website that the music community has given you so much and that you want to do more than just to contribute. What has the community given you?
What haven't they given me? I feel fortunate having grown up away from Broadway because the way I was exposed to these stories [was] listening to [Broadway soundtracks] over and over again, [and] pictures would just paint themselves in my head. Music was a key into my imagination. When I was on the road with Bring It On and totally feeling lost -- tour was pretty hard for me, I had never done it before -- being able to put on my headphones [was incredible]. There's something about electronic music that really encourages you to choose your own adventure inside your mind, and that excites me. There's still story there, but there are blanks you're expected to fill in.

The website mentions you and Alex both have faced hardship in your life. What type of healing powers have you found in music?
The experience of those concerts were like the best church I've ever felt. When I go out dancing with my girlfriends, I'm always kind of searching for that -- you close your eyes and you get sweaty and you work through whatever thing has got you entangled. I know that I've seen other people doing that at these concerts too. It happens more with dance music than at another genre. There's like a musical therapy aspect to it that is healing. I feel better after I go to a really great concert, I feel more connected to universe, I feel more connected to my fellow man, and I feel more connected to myself and what I want to be and manifest.

If you had any advice to young people or people hoping to break into the music scene as you have, what would it be?

There's this thing in the industry where you have to wait for a job to come. It's cosmic bingo. You get a card, and half your numbers are filled in (you were born here, you are this tall, you have this color of eyes).You get to fill in the other half of the card (I took singing lessons, I went to dance classes, I made it to New York). You still have to wait for the industry to call N39 before you call a Bingo. But you could spend your whole life waiting for them to call N39.

If you're in an industry that demands that you wait for them to call N39, the best thing you can possibly do for yourself and for the community that built you is to start playing Connect Four. What are you good at? What do you love doing? What makes you happy? And just start doing it. Don't wait for permission.

Join Janet Krupin and Alex Caraballo at Trillium's Aurora E.P. Release Party at Iron Bar (45th and 8th) in New York City on July 26 at 11 p.m.

Be sure to follow Janet Krupin and Trillium on Twitter to stay up-to-date with their music!

Photo credit: Jonathan Rios