2017 was a huge year for Jordin Post and Luke Shipstad (formerly of Suspect 44, and originally from the Seattle area) when they started their duo KUURO. The bass duo incorporated Asian cultures and aesthetics into their brand to create something entirely new in the bass music scene. Their debut track, Aamon, released through Monstercat and has since hit it big with over 500,000 plays on Soundcloud.
We were able to sit down with Luke from KUURO before his set at Beyond Wonderland this year to chat about their unique sound, and what the duo has in store for their fans in 2018. KUURO will be making their way to the Pacific Northwest on April 4th at Foundation Nightclub with Snavs, with local support from Flow and Mortals. You can grab your tickets here.
Now it’s time to get to know KUURO better! Check out the full interview below for all the details you could possibly need.
What was it like for you guys when Zedd requested your remix for Get Low to be the official remix of his Echo tour?
Luke Shipstad: It was really cool; that came about in a really interesting way. We’re friends with the guys from Grey who are really close with Zedd. They’ve done some shows together. I guess Anton (Zedd) was talking to Michael from Grey one time and asked “have you heard of these KUURO guys?” and Michael said “yea I’m friends with them,” and pretty much asked if he thought we would be down to remix Get Low; he said yea and then Anton hit us up. It was super great because we look up to Anton so much, like coming up listening to electronic music even before we started producing professionally. It was great to hear that from him.
You have a lot of shows and festivals coming up, which one are you most looking forward to?
LS: Aside from all of them, but Beyond Wonderland was definitely one of the biggest ones. The set was awesome and one of the best shows.
What is something new that KUURO is bringing to the EDM scene that other artists aren’t doing?
LS: When we first started, we spent like a year trying to find what our KUURO sound should be and crafting it before we started releasing music. After we got that down, we knew that we wanted the imagery and visuals to be tightly knit with all of the sounds and stuff that we are doing. We wanted to create this dark world, not necessarily evil or whatever, but post-apocalyptic type world stuff with all of our visuals. I guess just creating a world where the sound and visuals just mash together very cohesively.
How did you guys meet and create this duo?
LS: So, before KUURO I was in Suspect 44 and he (Jordin) was Juventa. We both played progressive house and trance kind of stuff, which is completely different from what we are doing now. We were both fans of each other’s work, and I’m in Seattle and he’s in the Netherlands. One time he had a show in Seattle and I came to see him, we just clicked right away. Our personalities were similar, and taste in music were similar.
When he got back, he sent me a piece of music and said “hey I want you to check this out, it’s different from what I’ve been doing,” and it was funny because I had something and it was totally different as well. Both were very bass influenced pieces, and we were both doing it at the same time separately. Then we were like alright, let’s just do this together, he flew out for a couple of months, we got the sound down and working together in the studio.
Any new projects and music coming soon?
LS: We have our first cross over/ real vocal single coming out soon on Monstercat in March. That one is going to be a surprise for a lot of fans. We are flexing to show that we are not all about heavy bass, and we can incorporate this sound and have a cross over.
What is it about the Asian culture and aesthetics that made you want to incorporate it into the KUURO brand?
LS: I guess you could say me and Jordin, are kind of “weebs” or whatever haha. We both really appreciate anime, manga, and Japanese culture, and aesthetics that go along with that. There’s a fine line between appreciating it and appropriating it, and hopefully we’re not appropriating it. We’re walking that line as carefully as possible, but yea we are both really inspired by Asian melodies, whether it is Japanese, Chinese, or Thai. There’s just a lot of cool music theory behind all that music that we then try and incorporate into our stuff and into our branding as well, because we really appreciate the aesthetics and cultures.
One of you (Luke) is from Bellingham, Washington? People say that Seattle is the bass capital. Is that where your love for bass music came from?
LS: I’m not sure, actually. I love electronic music with every fiber in my body, but I was never a raver. I never went out to a lot of shows and I think it was because I was in Bainbridge Island, so it wasn’t really in Seattle or when I was in Bellingham. Bass music for me and Jordin, Skrillex is for sure one of the biggest influences.
I think we get a lot of love for bass from Skrillex because it’s not only hard hitting bass, there’s so much melody, tones, and elements involved, that sets it apart. We decided that if we were going to do bass music, we wanted to do something like that instead of grimey and heavy stuff, which is dope, but not what we were trying to do.
KUURO came to be in 2017, which has only been a year, and you guys are already playing huge festivals. For new up and coming DJs, what is some advice that you have for them?
LS: Man, just really focus on not trying to follow trends. It’s important to keep an ear to the ground and understand what’s contemporary, what’s cool, and applying it, but don’t try and chase other peoples’ sounds because they’re always going to be one step ahead of you, and you’re always going to be that copycat act.
A lot of great music comes from that too, but there’s a fine line between copy cat artists and artists. That is not saying we are not inspired by artists and hear something and say “oh man I want to make something like that,” but make sure you have a really clear vision of sound, brand, and imagery of what you want people to hear in their head.
Have you checked out KUURO’s music? What is one of your favorite tracks? Let us know in the comments below.