MSTRKRFT discusses their new single “Little Red Hen”, development of their live act, upcoming album

Chris Duncan

Jesse F. Keeler and Alex Puodziukas, known as Al-P, have been creating house music together since 2005 under the name MSTRKRFT, using modular synthesizers and patching to create their distinct sound. The Daily Texan spoke with the Canadian duo about their disregard for mainstream EDM and upcoming releases.

The Daily Texan: When Fist of God came out in 2009, Jesse said that it was a “calculated business move to reach a wider audience.” Did it pay off?

  • Jesse F. Keeler: We had a theory that dance music would become pop music, and that rap and R&B would become dance music. That was part of the reason why we made the record that we did. And it has happened since then, but not until we were totally over the idea. Was it super profitable for us? Not really. The record itself did pretty good, but in terms of timing, we probably could have waited. We were a bit too early.

DT: When you’re working on your music do other EDM songs or styles effect your sound?

  • Alex Puodziukas: I’m not really concerned about other stuff. I think that me and Jesse found out [how to make the best music, and we have to satisfy ourselves. What we’ve learned from something like Fist of God is that the best thing we can do is try to impress ourselves.
  • JFK: It makes it easier when you’ve had some space from everything. You’re not even hearing anything by accident. My ignorance as to what’s going on in music is at its all-time peak, yet I feel like we’re more productive now than I’ve ever been. It’s really hard to have a clear perspective when you’re eyeball-deep in whatever you’re doing instead of looking back on what happened.

DT: You guys took a break from releases, with “Little Red Hen” being your first in five years. Do you think that you didn’t feel like you needed to make anything new, or was it a lack of inspiration or something else?

  • JFK: Back in 2009, we had an idea about how to work live, and we wanted to work live in the true sense of the word, like a band does. It’s easy to keep going live temporarily, but in our private time, we were trying to find a new way to work — a way that would be the same on the stage, because that’s what the band does. And so we were trying to figure out how to do that with the same old shit we’ve had forever. We started working the way we do now around 2013, when we started actually recording this album we’ve got now. I know it’s been five years for you, but it certainly hasn’t been that for us.

DT: The jump from your first album, The Looks, to your second, Fist of God, was pretty big stylistically, is there going to be something similar with your upcoming project?

  • JFK: There will be a dramatic jump. There are certain times when we’re doing something completely new for us, and then afterward we’ll listen to it and know it sounds like MSTRKRFT. So there’s certainly a group of chord choices and stuff that comes up a lot when we play.
  • AP: About a year ago, we started playing a song from the album, just the instrumental, in our DJ sets. And when the song came on, people cheered like they knew it. And I attribute that to the fact that it sounded like MSTRKRFT. No one had ever heard it, but there’s a signature to what we do. No matter how many different ways we try to do music, I think it always comes through.

MSTRKRFT will perform at the Cedar Street Courtyard March 16 at 12 a.m., as well as several other shows.