Electronic grand wizard, Francesco ‘Phra’ Barbaglia, AKA Crookers kick starts the new year with a special treat for the fans with a free download of his brand new single, ‘Heavy’.

Crookers remix of Kid Cudi’s ‘Day ‘N Nite’ reached #2 on the UK sales chart and Crookers’ debut album, ‘Tons of Friends’ featured an all-star lineup that included Miike Snow, Pitbull and Major Lazer. Not one to rest on his laurels, Phra has already begun work on his next album planned for release this summer.

Thanks to Francesco
Merci à Lucius

Ben Taylor

So where are you right now?
On the moon

Crookers caught the attention of many through their remix work, mainly Kid Cudi’s ‘Day n Night’ that was a game changer on the EDM scene. But many of us don’t know the story behind Crookers, where did it all start?
Everything started when my mom fell in love with my dad and decided to make love and I was born.
After that, there’s just music.

Reflecting on your history, it’s also important to remember that you are Italian, coming from a diverse music scene that also gave birth to Italo Disco as well as some of the greatest living producers. Who do you consider to be names worth knowing from the Italian dance music / Electronic scene?
I don’t know, I used to listen to « Sangue Misto » in Italy, not a great fan of Italo disco as a trendy thing.

What was the last record or LP that got you ridiculously excited? Mine was the recent release by El Guincho – Trances and also Dow Jones – Just A Techno Groove from 1989. Can you pinpoint what it is about it that particular record that caught your attention?
I just bought Schoolboy Q album…its pretty good.

Do you consider yourself lucky to have established your career during the MySpace era? How has the way music is shared changed since then?
I consider myself lucky in general with or without Myspace or sharing or a computer…it’s amazing to be part of this lovely world.

What are the pros and cons of the way we access and consume music these days? Particularly dance music?
Biggest pros is that there’s a lot of music around, biggest cons is that there’s too much music around.

You produced and released ‘Ghetto Guetta’ on your label Ciao Recs, which marked your first ‘solo’ release, and now you are ready to drop ‘Heavy’, which it sure is. Tell me about the record and what you wanted to achieve with it.
Actually my first « solo » release was « Giga a gogo ep » and after that I released some solid bootleg too… Ghetto Guetta is a fun track for fun people to dance to… Heavy is a heavy track for Heavy people to shake to.

I understand your working on a new LP. You’ve worked with amazing artists/producers/writers. Who have you been working with for this record? Any dream collaborations that you’d like to feature?
I’ve worked with a lot of people during my career and I feel that I’m really lucky to have this opportunity. I have some amazing collars on my new album but I can’t say too much yet!

How has your approach to the production of a track changed from the early days of Crookers to now? What pressures do you feel?
I don’t feel it ever changed… I’ve always done and I’m still doing what makes me happy musically.

Have you ever danced to your own records in public settings?
Yes and I’m really proud to do it every time a radio station plays one of my records.

What’s your party trick?
Never drink or take drugs. Just watch and observe others doing it.