Crookers Shares Thoughts About Deadmau5, Skrillex, and DJing on Mars

Shannon Nehls / OC Weekly
Crookers with Congorock (right) who made a surprise guest DJ appearance Friday

Francesco "Phra" Barbaglia has carried on the Crookers name alone with his own DJ gigs and the launch of a new record label Ciao Recordings since October of last year. The Italian DJ stormed through the Observatory in Santa Ana on Friday night for an 18-and-over show filled with woofer-rattling bass which ignited some serious raging and grinding in the sauna- like room despite the rain. We got a chance to speak with Phra, (whose aliases apparently include Lucky Beard, Disco Samurai and DJ Premiere--dude, that one's taken already) about his famous DJ friends including Skrillex, Deadmau5 and his plans to take over Mars.
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Crookers has been an EDM favorite in the states since their remix of Kid Cudi's club favorite "Day 'n' Nite" was released in late 2008 and reached number two on the UK singles charts. Though the remix released on A-Trak's Fool's Gold Records has a radio friendly feel it had the Crookers signature electro house sound, which was popular with everyone from the indie hipster kids to the nu disco fans at the time. The duo were soon propelled into the electronic scene despite their Italian hip hop roots and released their debut album Tons of Friends on Fatboy Slim's label Southern Fried Recordings in 2010.

"In the studio it's not so different because we never worked together," says Phra of his new solo career. "It's always been me working on something and then him working on something in the studio." The DJ tells us he first picked up DJing at age 11. "Because I've been doing this for so long I'm kind of like an old school DJ and get to play whatever I want." Phra also never prepares his sets which he claims can be a good or bad thing, but by the response of the audience we think his mix of Crookers songs, electro favorites like Chromeo's "Fancy Footwork," trap and other booty-bouncing tracks along with Brandy & Monica's "That Boy is Mine" were all good choices. "I played that song ["That Boy is Mine"] because my girl loves it and I love to do little things to show her respect," he says.

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