Interview: Krewella returning home feeling 'Alive'

Krewella

(L to R) Jahan Yousaf, Kris Trindl and Yasmine Yousaf of Krewella.

Krewella appears to be on the brink of fame, if it isn't there already.

The Northbrook electronic dance music trio's debut album, “Get Wet,” premiered at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 album chart last month thanks to its hit “Alive” (the song was prominently featured in April during ESPN's coverage of the NCAA Women's Final Four). Krewella performed its next single, “Live For the Night,” on ABC's “Good Morning America” on Halloween (“Live For the Night” was also used in ABC's national promo campaign for its fall TV shows).

But is Krewella ready for fame?

Jahan Yousaf — who sings in Krewella with sister Yasmine while producer and DJ Kris “Rain Man” Trindl provides the beats — seems uncomfortable with the idea of it. She insisted the band isn't famous and downplayed its success on the Billboard chart, but that could be her way of staying goal-oriented.

“Here's the thing: I don't consider myself famous,” Jahan said over the phone last month during a tour stop in Syracuse, N.Y. Krewella will perform Saturday at the Aragon. “Within the (EDM) scene I am. But if this continues growing to the point where I have no privacy, that would make me uncomfortable.”

When it comes to society's fascination with celebrities, Jahan feels it has gone overboard and calls the obsession unfortunate. And yet, there is one aspect of it she would welcome.

“I would use it to draw attention to certain issues,” Jahan said without specifying the causes that are close to her heart. “Unfortunately, you have to be a famous celeb to draw attention to issues. That's just the way society works. I would try to take advantage of it.”

It wasn't that long ago — the trio started getting serious about the band in 2010 — that it looked like fame would be a pipe dream for Krewella. Jahan recalls times when she cried in front of her bandmates because she didn't think the group was going anywhere. Jahan had left UIC and Yasmine had decided not to go to college so they could concentrate on music, much to the dismay of their dad, and they had little to show for it early on. As the story goes, the three Glenbrook North High School alums spent New Year's Eve 2011 at home in the Near West Side loft they shared drinking $5 champagne because no one had booked them.

It was that night, the members have said in interviews, they came up with the premise for “Alive.”

Now that the song is a hit, the band members have been living in Los Angeles since January (according to Jahan, they've spent too much time on tour or in the studio to really call L.A. home), and they're about to end their 50-plus-city Get Wet tour in their hometown.

Where the band goes from here is unclear. There used to be a ceiling on EDM artists' success, but that seems to be changing, with a handful of the genre's artists — including David Guetta, Calvin Harris and Avicii — achieving mainstream traction.

Regardless of what happens, Jahan said the group has already accomplished one goal in its career.

“As a teenager you dream of hearing your song on the radio,” Jahan said. “I remember the first time it happened, Jasmine and I were driving down Hollywood Boulevard after leaving the studio and we heard the intro to ‘Alive.' We started screaming. I remember growing up as a little kid listening to pop punk and saying ‘When I'm on the radio …' It felt very nostalgic.”

lgomez@tribune.com | Twitter @TribLuis

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