Phra, aka Crookers, born in a small town in the Alps, and now lives in an equally tiny community in Switzerland, surrounded by a peace and quiet that is the polar opposite of the chaotic, brazen, in-your-face explosiveness of his production. His sound embodies in equal parts house, rap and weird: the now world-recognized and signature Crookers sound.
Back in 2007 almost exactly seven years ago was when Crookers’ first mixtape emerged from the Milanese rap-electro scene and started the journey that has led Phra to this point. That was the beginning of what was to become a journey that took the name Crookers to headline some of the biggest festivals in the world and remix some of the hottest names in music. From U2 to Lady Gaga & Beyoncè, and most renown for his remix of Kid Cudi ‘Day ‘n’ Nite’ which made Crookers a household name. 2010 marked the release of the first Crookers LP “Tons Of Friends”, which was the first real showcase of the unique juxtaposition of sounds and styles that has become so iconic for Crookers and filtered it through a storm of other musical tastes which as the title suggests, included a ton of friends such as Kelis, Will.I.Am, Roisin Murphy, SoulWax, Major Lazer, Rye Rye, and even Sepultura’s Igor Cavalera. The following year saw a huge follow up with his second record, “Dr. Gonzo”, an experiment that brought together an even more far-reaching set of influences both futuristic and innovative. More than anything the record was fun, and three years later its time for a bit more fun.
The Crookers Way
Flash forward to November 24th 2014 and we present to you Phra’s third studio album “Sixteen Chapel”. ‘Sixteen Chapel’ isn’t entirely a new album, it’s actually more of the Crookers signature sound than ever before but in a new frame work. Phra elaborates, “With this record I tried to take a time-machine into my past, into 2006, and project that moment into an alternative future, to re-conceive what directions my work would have taken in an alternative life. It is filled with collaborations because that is the Crookers way. The greatest thing about music is collaboration, especially when it is spontaneous and it arises from real admiration and respect.”
Sixteen Chapel is a diary that tells the story of Crookers over the years, from r’n’b to ghetto-house, from trip-hop to minimal techno. The structures of the songs are as elegant as they’ve never been before and all the while their surface is as ignorant and as blunt as expected or not as is often the case with Crookers production. “Sixteen Chapel” is as much fun to listen to as it is to play, as exciting to dance to as it is intense to contemplate: a weird, fun, eerie roller coaster of sounds that will take you through the different levels of reality. The album features many new collaborations including Def Jams’ own Jeremih on “I Just Can’t”, bounce king TJR, and rap influences from Antwon and Mr MF eXquire.
Beyond this 2015 seems rife with opportunity, from new remixes on the horizon too early to say who… a series of tours including Stereosonic in Australia, a US sell out club run and a handful of European dates plus the ever growing popularity of Phra’s own label imprint Ciao Recs, its hard to imagine the year will be quiet for this Italian mastermind. But the most exciting moment really starts with the release of ‘Sixteen Chapel’. A new Crookers record. Expect it to be different and all the while always staying exactly true to itself. The Crookers way.