Heineken, Van Gogh, Kraak & Smaak. The three most famous things to come out of Holland. Ever. In that order.
OK so maybe a bit of an exaggeration but the last couple of years have been an incredible ride for the three guys that are considered to be one of Holland’s hottest producer, dj and live acts. The trio consisting of Oscar de Jong, Mark Kneppers and Wim Plug are one of the fastest rising names of the international dance music scene.
After dropping a number of now heavily sought after 12”s from 2003 onwards, in 2006 they released their debut album Boogie Angst, which led to worldwide support from the funk and electronic community. Radio tastemakers like Annie Nightingale and Pete Tong in the UK and Jason Bentley in LA followed suit, which meant that there was a global demand for their sound and so their UK label Jalapeno quickly did deals with in the US, Benelux and Japan to make sure they worked with the best independent networks in the world.
In 2008 they released their second album Plastic People, which gave them the worldwide hit Squeeze Me, featuring one of their favourite UK vocalists, Ben Westbeech. Picked up by the international breakdance community, it sold 70,000+ downloads in the USA and earned them a live appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, one of the most popular entertainment shows in the USA. Moreover, it was accompanied by the now famous flipbook video that was given mad props by Perez Hilton and Kanye West a.o.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYeTwfyx0nw
Perez Hilton on his site: “We’ve got a new anthem y’all!!!!!!!! Say hello to Kraak & Smaak, one of the hottest groups around! Hailing from The Netherlands their music could best be described as Amy Winehouse meets Moby”.
The music video with its flipbook theme, directed by Dutchman Andre Maat, has won numerous international awards and many self-made videos for the track can be found on YouTube. Squeeze Me has since been also released in Italy (Time records, 2009) and Germany (Kontor records, 2010).
In 2009 the EU sponsored European Border Breakers Award (EBBA) was won, alongside acts such as The Ting Tings and Adele (both from the UK), and presented at the Eurosonic festival in Groningen, during a television show hosted by Jools Holland.
Kraak & Smaak have also been aided by a string of well-received dancefloor remixes for the likes of Maxwell, Jamiroquai, Fedde le Grand, Don Diablo, Mark Rae, Richard Dorfmeister, Fort Knox Five, Soul of Man, Junkie XL, Sam Sparro, All Good Funk Alliance, etc., and over the years have produced guest mixes for BBC's Annie Nightingale, Annie Mac, BBC 6, Hedkandi UK and public radio stations in Holland, Germany, Norway, Greece a.o.
Alongside their studio productions and live band the guys have rocked the international dancefloors with their energetic dj sets that makes them just as happy performing in the tiny basement of a deep funk night as it does dropping huge riffs to festival crowds. Up until now include three major US and two Australian tours, the Coachella, Rothbury and SXSW festivals and the last two Miami Winter Music Conferences. In the UK they have set dancefloors on fire at club nights like AIR, Fingerlickin’ and Chew The Fat, The End and the Bestival and Big Chill festival, while in the rest of Europe they swept away crowds in countries such as Sweden, Turkey, Ireland, Greece, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, France, Scotland, Austria, Poland and of course their home country Holland.