MSTRKRFT: Thumps, Bumps and God

I just do music, I tried to have normal jobs but I was never good enough to keep going. I love the constant struggle. It's what draws me in and keeps me here. A bouncer told me last night, "You know how you know you're old? The cut off year to drink is 1990!" I was just like, "Fuck, that was the year I got expelled from high school!"

-Jesse Keeler



MSTRKRFT, along with their two studio albums, comes stocked with an impressive repertoire of remix work as well. These days, they're highly coveted producers, creating remixes for the likes of the aforementioned Bloc Party and Wolfmother and even Usher and the resurgent Britney Spears have come calling. It's in these remix tracks that the listener can gain a broader perspective on the true dexterity of Keeler and Al-P's production. With each new remix they release, a new set of fans arises, each yearning for a different piece of the overall MSTRKRFT sound.

JamBase: You guys are critically heralded for your remix work and have been for some time. These days, are artists coming to MSTRKRFT and saying, 'Hey, can you remix this track?' or are you approaching them?

Jesse Keeler: We haven't really approached anybody since the early days with The Panthers (while Jesse was on tour with Death From Above 1979). We had no idea what to do!

That was a while back, so how does the process go these days?

Most of the time people have just been asking us. The requests are far more than we can do. Britney Spears asked us for a remix and the song comes to us and we're really not into it [laughs hysterically]. Then at the end, we realized that we didn't use any of her vocals in the track [laughs even harder]. I told them, "Hey, we just can't do it."

How did Britney Spears take the rejection?

I don't know. That's what my manager is for. Just yesterday, we were like, "This isn't going to happen. You're going to have to tell them."


Making new albums, doing remix work and touring the world incessantly will hopefully get you places and get your music heard by the masses. Audiences from Toronto to San Francisco, Tokyo to London have experienced the live spectacle of MSTRKRFT over the last several years, culminating in an ever-expanding and eager fan base the world over. Their habitual chain-smoking and bass-blowing beats have been the quintessential atmosphere for parties all across the globe, and the parties keep getting bigger and better. Unlike more American-based music such as jazz and the blues, electronic music is more of a worldwide phenomenon, enjoyed by audiophiles in abundance pretty much everywhere.

JamBase: You and Al-P play all over the world on a continuous and rather crazy schedule. How is MSTRKRFT received differently depending on where it is you're playing on that particular night?

Jesse Keeler: It's not necessarily the place you play, it's all about the fans. Last time we played in Tokyo, it was crazy. When we're there again it will have evolved and be more crazy.

So, the fans just come to the show, regardless of Europe, America or Japan?

Your fan base evolves. We've been around for long enough that [there's a] fan base that's super into it. You want the right people to be there.

Yeah it's crazy. Electronic music is huge here in San Francisco, more so than other places I've lived or frequented. What's your take on the seemingly expanding scope and diversity of the genre?

Dance music is the only music with an expressed purpose - to make people dance.

Well, electronic music also goes hand-in-hand with late night parties and people like to dance at those kinds of occasions.

The way I got into electronic music was going to after hours and seeing all these Chicago guys that cost $5 at 6 a.m. It's a lot like Europe.

How do you get that studio MSTRKRFT sound to translate into the live setting? More specifically, that crazy, frantic energy.

I feel like they're two different jobs. When we're making tracks we think about how they're going to be live. What you learn from DJing crosses over to producing. DJing is rad. We do try to keep it as fucking crazy as possible. We get gray hairs trying to keep those levels up all the time.


For musical acts in the post-modern era, utilizing and taking full advantage of the digital age, specifically websites like MySpace, Twitter, Facebook and whatever new spin-offs will come out by the time this article is published, is the key to success. The ability to reach millions and millions of music lovers worldwide with a few clicks is proving to be the best way to share and spread music outside of traditional industry techniques. No more burning CDs and trading them. Today, we get online and file share. We go to message boards and find out about the new hot shit while we listen to a stream of last night's show.

JamBase: The Internet is completely opening up the way music is listened to and shared so that everyone, everywhere can listen to just about everything. How has your utilization of MySpace, Facebook and other social networking sites helped you guys get your music to more people?


Jesse Keeler: The Internet makes your life into a reality show. We are the generation of instant replay.

"Generation of instant replay," I like that. Kind of ironic, too many people will take that too seriously I fear.

It's so hard to get irony or your sarcasm to translate into text form.

Yeah well, people in San Francisco certainly aren't New Yorkers.

For sure [laughs]. The East Coast gets that dry sarcasm.

I was checking out your MySpace page a while back and I noticed that you guys have "Money," "Pretty Girls," "Dancing" and "Crown" labeled as your "Interests." That's hilarious. Glad to see you don't take yourselves too seriously.

You noticed that? That's great. We also had "For a good time in Toronto" [where] we left [Al-P's] cousin's email there. He's wondering why his inbox is full.


No one ever said making music and being successful at it was easy. The vast majority of aspiring acts never make it above ground, let alone gain any respectable recognition for their art. If it were easy, there would be an even greater plethora of garbage music polluting our airwaves and eardrums. For Jesse Keeler and Al-P, they have taken the beautiful struggle that is being musicians and producers and made it into a promising career as MSTRKRFT. Despite the wide, open road to success in front of them, these aren't two jaded guys making beats in the studio, forgetting where they came from and who they are. They continue to make relevant music and stimulate an expanding audience with their trademark post-punk, funk-electro whatever you want to call it.

JamBase: So, what is it that has kept you going?

Jesse Keeler: I just do music, I tried to have normal jobs but I was never good enough to keep going. I love the constant struggle. It's what draws me in and keeps me here. A bouncer told me last night, "You know how you know you're old? The cut off year to drink is 1990!" I was just like, "Fuck, that was the year I got expelled from high school!"

MSTRKRFT are on tour now, dates available here.

MSTRKRFT - Bounce feat. N.O.R.E & Isis

JamBase | Planet Rockin'
Go See Live Music!

[Published on: 3/17/09]

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geyser starstarstarstarstar Tue 3/17/2009 01:34PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

can't wait to see MSTRKRFT rockin' it late night at Rothbury!!!

allthink Tue 3/17/2009 02:24PM
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geyser - I'll see you there dancin til the sun comes up.

FunkLizard Tue 3/17/2009 05:34PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


MSTRKRFT is tits.

GoldenBoy Tue 3/17/2009 06:28PM
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the next Daft Punk??

i think so

Henrock starstarstarstar Wed 3/18/2009 11:29AM
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can't really compare these guys to Daft Punk, they each have a sound of their own. got FoG yesterday, not as good as The Looks IMO. they tend to use the same synth sound over and over, gets kinda annoying. don't get me wrong, there are some great tracks. the Looks really did it for me. can't wait to see these guys on tour

Lakai starstarstar Wed 3/18/2009 01:23PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


their new album is pretty bunk in my opinion, they can be kinda hit or miss live also but usually a good time for the most part but next daft punk!?!? no way

Henrock Wed 3/18/2009 03:24PM
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the only group that could even be considered 'the next Daft Punk' is Justice, and they're still not comparable

POTKETTLEB1ACK Wed 3/18/2009 04:16PM
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MSTRKRFT > Justice by far...

blaznAZN Wed 3/18/2009 04:39PM
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no, Justice is not the next Daft Punk. pretty simple.

n-1 Wed 3/18/2009 05:20PM
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actually i believe some "jambands" are expressively there to make people dance. just because theyre not right on the nose with explicitly calling it dance music

George W. Bush II starstarstarstarstar Thu 3/19/2009 06:38AM
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George W. Bush II

I just dont get what is so great about daft punk? I have listened to their cd's but never seen them live, but for some reason their cds really dont do it for me. Can somebody help shine some light on this for me?

Nice article btw, still trying to decided if i should make time for these guys at Rothbury...

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} Fri 3/20/2009 05:23AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

hell stuckinabeat. I cannot get into ANY DJ stuff at all!

at least you kinda like it.

I just can't.

hnkscrpio Fri 3/20/2009 06:21AM
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Comparing Justice to Daft Punk is an insult to Daft Punk. Justice fakes their live sets. I definitely agree, MSTRKRFT > Justice. I gotta check this out though.

geyser Fri 3/20/2009 03:15PM
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Check out the MSTRKRFT performance from Jimmy Kimmel Live:

It's pretty funny, the rapper dude (N.O.R.E.) checks his phone multiple times during the performance.

radarlin starstarstarstarstar Fri 3/20/2009 08:43PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


MSTRKRFT tore Arizona a new asshole when they came last week. I agree FunkLizard MSTRKRFT are REALLY BIG TITS. Coachella Coachella Coachella. haha

bigworld Fri 3/20/2009 11:20PM
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stuckinabucket - i would HIGHLY recommend listening to Alive 2007 from beginning to end on a volume of 10.

Henrock Sat 3/21/2009 10:31AM
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stuckinabucket - listen to bigworld (above)

hnkscrpio - wasn't comparing the two at all, if you read my post i said they weren't comparable. also, that Justice article about them faking their live sets..well they don't, i've seen them several times including some really small gigs and i know for a fact that they ain't faking it so please please don't be fucking idiot

esq54 Sat 3/21/2009 10:47AM
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I agree Alive 2007 is what got me into daft punk as well

hnkscrpio Sun 3/22/2009 12:16PM
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Well Henrock, I wasn't even directing my comment at you. On another note, a picture is worth a thousand words, and there are pictures of Justice pretending to play an unplugged midi controller. Also idiots use words like "ain't", and I don't.

cUB_nAsTY starstarstarstarstar Mon 3/23/2009 09:26PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


these guys are good. daft punk live is breathe taking .youtube some live stuff. audio and visual sensory overload

TBMLEE Tue 3/24/2009 12:29AM
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check out MSTRKRFT starting a riot in Austin last weekend

colinf112 Wed 3/25/2009 04:46AM
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Daft Punk cannot be compared in any way to MSTRKRFT, and a comparison to Justice is simply sad to hear. Their live shows sell out thousands of seats in minutes, and noone knows who they are. MSTRKRFT is in another category. Saw them at Camp Bisco last year and they absolutely ripped it up. Cant wait to see em at Webster Hall and rollin face at Rothbury!!

dankb23 Tue 3/31/2009 06:47AM
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seeing daft punk live, is like the biggest dance party in the world, i was luky enough to see them at lolla like 2 or 3 years ago... amazing

KimMPLS starstarstarstarstar Fri 4/10/2009 10:32AM
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hottest DJ set of my life was MSTRKRFT at bonnaroo 08. I was close to dancing myself to death. I worship these guys.