Get To Know 30 Under 30 Duo Krewella In Their Own Words
Electronic dance music act Krewella had quite a 2015. Between regular Las Vegas club gigs to slots at festivals including Belgium’s Tomorrowland and EDC Las Vegas, Jahan Yousaf, 26, and Yasmine Yousaf, 23, also managed to settle a $5 million lawsuit with founding member Kris Trindl, which had launched a wave of sexist online abuse.
We caught up over email with the 30 Under 30 Music Class of 2016 honorees to reflect on their musical beginnings from a loft in Chicago’s meat district to the trials of the past year and learn how they define success.
Are you a first-generation American?
Yasmine: On my father’s side, yes (he was born in Pakistan), but my mother was born in the U.S.
Are you married?
Jahan: My business partner, best friend, and sister Yasmine is quite like my wifey. We cook together, have a home together, commute to work together, share finances, raised a dog named Scar together, share the same values and morals… I’m banned from her bed though. Apparently I’m violent in my sleep.
How many children do you have, if any?
Yasmine: Lots and lots of song babies. And one dog baby. But no human babies.
Jahan: I would love to raise a couple turds some day. But kids deserve the world, and right now I want focus on giving my heart to my family, loved ones, Krewella fans, my physical and mental well-being, my career, artistic pursuits, and the community. I do dream of raising a boy a that feels worthy no matter the score, welcomes vulnerabilities, and is sensitive to women’s issues. And I imagine a girl that is outspoken, resilient, and embraces her imperfections as well as others’.
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Yasmine: Early bird for morning ritual hikes in the hills of Los Angeles.
Jahan: I love the morning, especially at our home in LA where I have a clear view of the sun painting the San Gabriels. Preparing breakfast and slowly cherishing each bite of egg and avocado with a sip of coffee truly fulfills me, followed by 30 minutes of journaling (on a good day). For my own sanity, I had to discipline myself by not looking at my email or social media during this morning ritual. It is a sacred time of the day when I am collecting my thoughts. There is so much magic in our environment and nature that can facilitate creative ideas and different perspectives. I’m a night owl when we play at clubs, especially during our residency in Vegas where our headlining spot keeps us on the decks until past 3AM.
Who’s your dream mentor?
Yasmine: Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon—Ban is the man.
Jahan: Fellow Pakistani, Malala Yousafzai. She is a decade younger than me. Through the bloodshed, loss of loved ones, poverty, and physical pain she has endured by being a target of terrorist groups in her home country, she continues to fight for education and the rights of children. I admire her perseverance, fearlessness, and wisdom. Learning about her experiences puts my life into perspective.
Who’s your single biggest influence?
Yasmine: My sister.
Jahan: My father, Sohail. I have watched him transform throughout the years in such a graceful way. He is a true testament that age doesn’t mean you have to be set in your ways. My father has a sense of curiosity about life that always leaves him yearning to learn more about the world and people around him. He is constantly preaching kindness, open-mindedness, and reminds me to be aware of my ego and intentions.
What gadget can you not live without?
Jahan: My Kindle. It is therapy when I feel overwhelmed with life, a companion during sleepless nights, and a resource to learn about the world when I am traveling. Having instant access to a plethora of reading material truly makes it a portal to the world.
What’s your go-to app?
Yasmine: Duolingo & Spotify.
Jahan: Gmail, Spotify, & Al-Jazeera.
At what age did you decide on your profession?
Yasmine: It was a lifelong pipe dream until the age of 18 when I decided with my bandmates to throw caution to the wind after I graduated high school.
Jahan: In 2010, I was around 20 years old during the transition of Krewella as a hobby to a full-time project. We started around 2007 but it took years to finally gain the courage to quit everything that was distracting us from creating music as a full-time career. Our former third member of Krewella, Kris Trindl, and manager Nathan Lim, inspired Yasmine and me to write and rehearse every single day to grow and develop ourselves as artists.
Where were you when you launched your career?
Jahan: Yasmine and I lived in a loft in the meat-district of Chicago where we wrote everyday and practiced DJing before touring took off and signing with Columbia. That neighborhood had a lot of character; imagine meat packers with blood smeared on their white coats while lugging pounds of raw meat out of trucks, bleach filled streets, factories and warehouses, crackheads pushing around stolen grocery carts…it was slowly being gentrified on our way out. The biting cold during winter builds character. I think facing the brutal winters of Chicago gave us thick skin to handle haters.