Hunnypot Does...
Powered by CircleSquareLA


Written by 

It’s been almost a decade since the first time I saw Jesse Keeler & Al-P, the Canadian duo known as MSTRKRFT (pronounced “Master-Craft”). Nearly 10 years after they played at Los Angeles’ last Electric Daisy Carnival in 2010, they were back in LA. Academy LA was hosting MSTRKRFT’s EP debut Release Party and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity see these two guys throw down a live set.  

After a bit of a hiatus, MSTRKRFT teamed up with Deadmau5’s mau5trap label to drop a 4 song EP entitled, Sunshine Of My Life. This dropped on October 18th, 2019, right in the beginning of their tour with Deadmau5. As they make their way from the southwest up to the northeast, both opening sets for Deadmau5 and headlining shows along the way, MSTRKRFT unveiled this new EP as a draw to their act. They used this specific show on October 19th, 2019 in Los Angeles as a night to showcase this EP (amongst other material) in live format.  

I made my way to the venue excited for MSTRKRFT, but I’ll admit I didn’t know who the opening act was. Once I got through security and entered the main room, I was greeted by the dark eerie beats of local Los Angeles DJ, Joey Zander. There’s a feeling you get when you walk into some of these venues. Joey Zander’s use of haunting samples and creepily soothing synths coupled with beat driven LED visuals on the ceiling of Academy LA’s main floor sent a chill or two down my spine. We were in for one of those nights.

One thing I noticed from Joey Zander is he never picked up the microphone to speak to the crowd. The entire time I was in there, he let the beats do the talking. As we neared midnight, Zander teased the crowd by lowering his BPM, only to raise it again. The lights in the venue even went white bright for a few split seconds to signify the end of the set, but the bass lines kept rolling. He played with the crowd’s emotions as the anticipation for MSTRKRFT grew. I turned away from the DJ booth for a moment, and when I turned back, there were two different men in the DJ booth. Again, without saying a word to the crowd, Jesse Keeler & Al-P opted to communicate with the room with nothing but beats.

I had listened to Sunshine Of My Life on my way to the venue a few times. It’s only 4 tracks and totals 26 minutes and 37 seconds. I gave it a couple of spins on my drive into the city. I knew MSTRKRFT gave the electro-house and dance-punk a bit of a break and returned to some old school techno influences. But you can never fully grasp what a live set is going to sound like just by hearing the EP. Once they mixed those tracks in with some of their older material, I saw a whole different side to MSTRKRFT. They maintained their same classic MSTRKRFT ambiance, but they committed to a darker dance vibe than I was expecting. They delivered a no-bullshit two-hour set of a combination of hard repetitive techno kick drums, screeching synths, and never-ending deep basslines. When they gave you a break from their haunting samples, they delivered an onslaught of hi-hats to keep your body moving into the wee hours of the night.

Shout out to MSTRKRFT for an amazing EP release party. It was great to see them in action after so long. It was also great to see them push limits and expand as artists while regressing to some of the origins of EDM, paying homage to some old school elements of techno. Kudos to the venue too. The show would not have been what it was if it wasn’t for that massive monstrosity of an LED panel hanging from the ceiling from the DJ booth all the way to the back of the main room. The venue was a match made in heaven for a duo like MSTRKRFT to deliver a night that Los Angeles won't soon forget. I sincerely hope these guys make another run down here soon. Their show was simply awesome!

Kris Kuganathan

Photojournalist - Orange County

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Twitter