Milan-based musician Xabier Iriondo has been dedicated to his craft since he picked up his first guitar at age seventeen. Today, he is a guitarist and sound engineer working with dozens of bands on over 50 records. From being the principal guitarist for Italian rock band Afterhours to recording a new album with electronic musician Alula, and working with groups like experimental post-core band Buñuel, Iriondo is always busy performing and creating. While Afterhours recordings are completed in a professional studio, most of Iriondo’s personal work is done right in his home studio. For these projects, Iriondo turns to his KRK CLASSIC 8 studio monitors and KNS 8402 headphones.
“I’ve been recording and mixing with KRK for my solo album and on Buñuel’s new album, ‘Killers Like Us,’ that’s coming out this February, and I’ve been so pleased with the results. The CLASSIC 8 monitors have a lot of power, which is great for adding low and high frequencies depending on what kinds of music I’m working on. The KNS 8402s are so lightweight and comfortable that they are now my favorite headphones. The first time I heard KRK, I was so impressed by the quality of sound that I decided to go with them for my next setup. I’ve been using the brand for about five months now, and as soon as I switched, the rest was history.”
Clyde Strokes to Head to Nashville for First-Ever KRK Kreativity Bootcamp
The KRK Kreator Classic, a bracket-style competition aimed at North American beat-makers, recently wrapped with Theronn Calvin (aka Clyde Strokes or Clyde) named the winner. Clyde’s prize-winning beats advanced him through six weeks of head-to-head Instagram vote-based competitions to come out on top. In addition to $7,500 in gear, Clyde’s prize includes a three-day producer’s intensive alongside Scott Storch, DJ Khalil, and Amadeus at the inaugural KRK Kreativity Bootcamp in Nashville.
“I love all three; they’re all giants,” says Clyde about the Bootcamp mentors. “I grew up listening to a lot of Scott Storch records, so I’m extremely excited and already planning things to work on with him and the other mentors. I want to see Scott Storch on the keys and DJ Khalil on the drums. I’m just excited to see how they all move in the studio; it’s going to be great. In addition to the Bootcamp experience, I can’t wait to start working with all the equipment involved, which was an outrageously huge prize.”
Clyde found that one of the most difficult parts of the contest was the social aspect. “The process was a lot. It really pushed me to market myself; I think that was great,” he explains. “When I received the support back from people, it made me realize I can promote myself. Weirdly enough, although it was a struggle at first, it became my favorite part.” The success of his outreach has not only inspired him to promote himself more often, but also led to collaboration plans with other contestants.
After advancing to the Top 40, Clyde was tasked with submitting a new, unique beat each week to stand out from his competitors. “When I saw a chance to enter the contest, I knew I had to present my best beats into the mix,” he says. “I created my beats and stayed confident in what I made.”
Clyde began his musical journey as a rapper. When he started recording beats himself, he fell in love with audio production. That was 13 years ago. Today, as a freelance producer in Los Angeles, he draws inspiration from many of those who paved the way before him, like Kanye West, J. Cole, and Kendrick Lamar.
Kreator Classic runner-up Ernest Taylor (Big CEO Red) put up a good fight in the final round of the competition, which spanned three days of voting. Clyde and Red’s Final Four competitors were Aubrey-Dekari D. Dixon (absm00th) and Deion Frizzell (Frizzy Astro). Fans can soon re-discover the competition soundtrack by visiting the tournament site, which will feature beats from the Top 40 participants. The tracks will also be made available as a featured YouTube playlist that can be accessed by subscribers of the KRK Music channel.
“The KRK Kreator Classic is an opportunity for us to connect with our music makers in a more meaningful way; allowing us to shine a light on the amazing talent within the KRK community while celebrating our shared love of music,” says Michael Fox, KRK brand manager “We are excited to continue to engage our creators through an array of avenues. This excitement and feedback fuel us every day to develop the great-sounding products KRK is known for―tools artists need to elevate the creative process and craft their signature sound.”
Looking ahead, the 2022 edition of the KRK Kreator Classic will commence with a new pool of talent and great music. Stay tuned for details, including new partners, competition dates, and even more prizes!
KRK Kares, a program of Gibson Gives, in partnership with Music Has Healing Power and Shriners Hospitals for Children, is creating heartwarming opportunities like the recent update to the Shriners Music Room at Shriners Hospital for Children in Pasadena, California. For patients like six-year-old Naira, going to the Shriners Music Room to sing, dance, perform, or simply observe their friends explore different instruments, can turn the mood around after a hard day of treatments. Music Has Healing Power Founder, Bruce Lowe, thanks the KRK ROKIT 5 studio monitors and KNS 6402 Headphones donated by KRK Kares for the positive effect they have had, not only on Naira’s day, but for all patients at Shriners in Pasadena.
“Naira is one precious soul,” says Lowe. “She was shy at first, but as soon as the music started, she went into her joy-mode and was singing and playing with the instruments. It was so heartwarming. Seeing her happiness was a reminder as to why these medical music rooms exist. Music truly does have healing power, and it’s a real joy seeing that in action.”
World-class Engineer Relies on KRK Monitors and Subwoofers for 7.1.4 Recording
Having spent his entire childhood and teenage years playing guitar for a variety of bands, Joe Zook would soon discover his true passion—music production. After attending recording classes and landing an internship at a local studio, Zook mixed everything from worldbeat and jazz records to ESPN fishing shows and political ads. Today, as a world-class mixing engineer, Zook has worked with artists such as Alessia Cara, AJR, OneRepublic, Modest Mouse, Katy Perry, Smokey Robinson, and hundreds more. When Zook recently decided to upgrade his studio for Dolby Atmos recording, he turned to KRK V-Series studio monitors (V4 and V6), as well as the brand’s S12.4 subwoofers.
Zook also finds KRK’s S12.4 studio subwoofer to be a great value, offering a cost-effective solution for mixing bass-heavy tracks. “With the KRK sub, you really get a bang for your buck,” he continues. “They have all the controls and connections that I want and can get the job done for about 300-percent less than the top-shelf subs. With KRK, you simply can’t go wrong.”
Exciting things are coming out in the next few months for Zook, who’s been working hard in his Dolby Atmos studio, creating both immersive and stereo mixes. Some recent projects on which Zook deployed his KRK studio monitors and subwoofers include mixing tracks like Scott Helman’s “Pretty,” Tassia Zappia’s “Like Ooh,” and Alessia Cara’s “Somebody Else.”
“Lately, any project that I’ve mixed in stereo has also required an Atmos version,” says Zook. “So, I’ve been turning to my KRKs more and more to meet this new demand. I’ve also started working on older catalog albums that I originally mixed. With KRK, I’m able to mix both stereo and Dolby Atmos recordings, and the artists have been thrilled with the results.”
Growing up, Artist, Producer, and Engineer Austin Sexton was surrounded and inspired by his father’s 60’s doo-wop band. While his dad taught him everything from soul to punk to R&B, in 2012, Sexton decided to use that knowledge to create his own unique sound. Now an independent platinum producer for projects like KYLE’s album Light of Mine and single To The Moon, Sexton just released his third personal EP, Spike, on Thursday, November 11. With his father as his muse, Sexton created an album he feels is reminiscent of the groovy soul and funk music he grew up around, combined with a modern Hip-Hop twist for today’s listeners. To attain that deep bass and clear sound he wanted for both Spike and other projects, Sexton has been relying on his KRK ROKIT 10-3 G4 monitors at home while also using the KRK V-Series 8 monitors while working at Playback Studios in Van Nuys, California.
“When I use KRK, I immediately feel like I don’t even need to mix the song because it already sounds like it’s put together; it sits things nicely for you. The music feels very bright, but it also hits really hard. The low-end is tight, and the high-end is crisp. I’ve got depth and kick and oomph in there. When it comes to music creation, it’s a really good thing to be able to feel something. I’ve always loved that about the KRK sound.”
At the age of 21, KHEA has made his mark on the music industry with his versatility and one-of-a-kind lyrical creativity that has categorized him as the leader of the Latin Trap movement. Having worked alongside international superstars in-studio and on-stage, including Bad Bunny, Daddy Yankee, and Rita Ora, to name a few, KHEA is carving a path for a generation of urban Latinx musicians on a global level. After signing with one of the biggest labels in the industry, Interscope Records, KHEA released his track “Dónde Estás,” which has garnered more than 180 million combined views between Spotify and YouTube. Similarly, he had the opportunity to collaborate with Blackbear on the song “Hot Girl Bummer” and with One Republic on “Better Days,” which marked a new chapter in the young artist’s career. When KHEA first started producing music on a professional level, he turned to KRK ROKIT G4 White Noise 5-inch studio monitors for a sound he could trust.
“I love my KRK ROKIT G4 Studio Monitors. Not only are they super accurate, but they also do a great job of adapting to any space. The KRK ROKITs were the first pair of studio monitors that I used to work on my initial professional releases, so in addition to possessing a professional production value, there’s also a sentimental component for me. I will be holding KRK close to my heart forever.”
Dennis Lorenzo Turns to KRK’s ROKIT G4 Studio Monitors for Home Studio Production
Artist/producer Dennis Lorenzo’s oldest memories take him back to listening to Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Prince with his mother, and standing in front of the TV watching wrestling, in which the promos and theme songs were primarily rock music. With a strong attraction to both ends of the musical spectrum—soul music and hard rock—Lorenzo picked up a guitar for the first time at the age of sixteen and never looked back, ultimately taking his career to the “American Idol” stage, climbing steadily to the Top 10. Today, he relies on KRK ROKIT G4 Studio Monitors, whether producing tracks that lean more towards soul or rock—it’s always KRK.
When he relocated from West Philadelphia to Atlanta, he built his first project studio and spent countless hours writing songs and playing guitar. The Atlanta scene came with an entirely different music culture than Lorenzo was used to, as Migos, Drake, and Swae Lee were shaping a new sound in hip-hop. Lorenzo quickly fell in love with this new “Trap” sound.
Two years in Atlanta added a new element to Lorenzo’s sound, but he felt Los Angeles was the place where he could take his music production career to the next level. His first few months in the new city proved challenging as he battled homelessness, but opportunity would soon present itself. In 2018, he auditioned for “American Idol,” where he would crack the Top-10 and change his life forever. After his time on the show, he dove right back into the LA production scene, mixing tracks for The Game, Marsha Ambrosius (Songwriter for Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys, and Jojo), and JD McCrary (Simba from Disney’s “The Lion King”). He’s also worked with a range of GRAMMY® award-winning musicians, including Gary Clark Jr., Allen Stone, and Lionel Richie, among others.
With KRK ROKIT 7 G4s on his desk, Lorenzo can rely on realistic audio playback, no matter the genre he’s mixing. “The ROKIT 7 G4s are perfect for my home studio,” says Lorenzo. “I need that boom when I’m playing back my records, but I also need clarity, and that’s what the G4s bring me—the best of both worlds. For the price range, you really get honest playback from these speakers. I recommend the KRK G4s for any home studio.”
KRK studio monitors’ superior sound quality isn’t the only standout feature when it comes to Lorenzo’s ROKIT 7 G4s. “Aside from just the auditory sense of things, the design is fresh and sleek—these things really stand out on my desk,” he adds. “Plus, the monitors have an LCD screen on the back and can be connected to KRK’s Audio Tools app, which helps in achieving the exact sound I’m looking for. With KRK, I have everything I need.”
KRK’s First-ever Creativity Contest is Now Open for Entries
KRK has launched its new Kreator Classic, a bracket-style competition for beat makers of all levels, in partnership with BeatStars, the world’s fastest- growing community for music producers. North American-based beat makers have the chance to put their production skills to the ultimate test, going head-to-head through six rounds of competition. Initial entry into the competition is now open on the BeatStars platform through October 22, 2021.
“The new Kreator Classic contest drives home our top priority at KRK and across all Gibson brands, the artist behind the gear,” says Sterling Doak, Director of Marketing at Gibson. “We are honored to provide an opportunity and platform for beat makers to show off their craft while also giving away gear that will help them take their music to the next level.”
“BeatStars works hard to make the music industry more accessible by finding the best opportunities for our community,” says Erin Foster, Senior Marketing Manager at BeatStars. “On behalf of the creators on BeatStars, we are honored to have such legendary brands as KRK and Gibson recognize this mission and challenge our community to develop their sound to further their music careers.”
Competitors can enter the contest through a sign-up form on the BeatStars platform, which will require participants to have a BeatStars account. For those who don’t have an existing profile on the platform, it’s easy (and free) to sign up. During this round of the battle, BeatStars members will vote on the participants’ entries.
After the final entry deadline on October 22, the Top 40 artists will move on to the next round, which puts their beats directly in front of industry professionals from BeatStars and the KRK Kreator Alliance for the first round of voting and eliminations. The head-to-head portion will officially launch, with the top 32 contestants, on KRK Instagram on Tuesday, November 2. During each round of the competition, public voting periods will determine who advances to the next level.
All 40 competitors will walk away with a prize curated specifically for each level of the bracket. The further one makes it in the competition, the greater the prize bundle value will be. One Grand Prize winner will be announced on November 24 and will receive a music production package valued at $7,500. Featured prizes include KRK’s newest products, the S10.4 Subwoofer, CLASSIC 8 Studio Monitors, and KNS 8402 Studio Headphones, and a one-year BeatStars Pro membership, along with gear from some of the industry’s top brands, including Guitar Center, iZotope, Native Instruments, Shure, and Universal Audio. The Grand Prize winner will also receive access to the first-ever KRK Kreativity Bootcamp, where they will have the opportunity to produce tracks alongside industry heavyweights such as DJ Khalil, Amadeus, and more, at the KRK Studio at Gibson’s headquarters in Nashville.
To check out the creators’ mixes, cast votes for contestants and receive live updates throughout the first-ever Kreator Classic competition, be sure to follow KRK on Instagram @krk.music.
Guitarist Esani Dey Turns to KRK’s Renowned ROKIT Line for Home Studio Production
One of India’s youngest guitar sensations, Esani Dey, is best known for her music composition for various Bollywood films including Bala, Houseful 4, Hichki, Yeh Saali Aashiqui, PM Narendra Modi and many more, as well as her role in MTV’s Unplugged for three seasons strong. Growing up in a household where the day started and ended with music, Dey embarked on her professional music career at just seven years old. She first started using KRK studio monitors in 2011 after being gifted a pair of ROKIT 5 G3s, which she has deployed for all of her work ever since.
Spending countless hours in recording studios from a very young age, Dey is accustomed to the quality of top-performing studio gear. “The depth and balance of KRK studio monitors is amazing,” says Dey. “I’ve used many other brands in studios throughout my career, and for my needs as a guitarist, KRKs are a perfect choice. The tweeter provides the best clarity possible, and the outcome is extremely clean, with a very tight low-end. KRKs are definitely the best studio monitors available at their price point.”
Having been using her ROKIT 5s for the past decade, KRK has proven to surpass the test of time for Dey, having remained strong and true to their sound. In addition to deploying KRKs for all of her home-studio productions, Dey recently turned to her ROKIT 5s to record two new singles, “Mistake” and “Jam5” as well as the song “Murshida” for the 2017 Indian drama film Begum-Jaan.
With studios gone dark for the majority of 2020, Dey found herself spending most of her days mixing away in her home studio. “During these pandemic times, musicians have been 99% recording from home, and for me, my KRK speakers have been my best friends. I had the time and opportunity to make a lot of great music over the past year and a half, and it wouldn’t have been the same without my ROKIT 5s.”
Although she plans to keep her ROKIT 5s close-to-home for many more years to come, Dey looks forward to upgrading to a new pair of KRKs in the future. “I’ve been seeing more and more KRK monitors pop up in studios around the world, and I totally understand why. The sound quality just can’t be beat and I’m excited to upgrade my KRKs in the near future!”
With 16 GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY awards to his name, mixing engineer Javier Garza recently upgraded his mix room, replacing his main nearfields with a pair of KRK V8 studio monitors. Since launching his music production career in the early 1990s, Garza has worked on mixing projects for various major-label albums and prominent artists including Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Alessia Cara, Eris Ramazzotti, Il Divo, Gloria Estefan, Madonna, Shakira, Marc Anthony, Kany Garcia, Paulina Rubio, and Laura Pausini, among many others. A loyal KRK ROKIT user for the past few decades, Garza has relied on KRK studio monitors to mix many of his award-winning tracks, and his V8s have found a home next to his beloved ROKIT 5s.
“I’ve been absolutely loving my new KRK V8 speakers. The tone I get out of my KRKs is super flat, yet punchy, which is exactly the response I’m looking for when mixing. I really love how the high-end comes across through the monitors’ signature Kevlar dome tweeters. I am impressed! So impressed in fact that I am upgrading my entire 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos system to KRK V8s. A huge thank you to KRK for all the love they’ve shown me over the years! I’m a huge believer in the brand and I can’t wait to watch KRK monitors evolve even more in the future, all while staying true to their roots.”