The story of Krewella starts out like an American fable: 2 sisters (Jahan Yousaf and Yasmine Yousaf) and one former boyfriend (Kris Trindl) from a Chicago suburb form a music group and, using some social-media savvy, rocket to fame as headliners of popular EDM festivals worldwide. The 3 met as students at Glenbrook North High School.
On 8th June 2010, the 3 are said to have marked “a vow to put aside any other career plans outside of music and commit to Krewella” with tattoos of the date. The 3 then moved into a loft together in Chicago and came up with an idea to mix heavy-metal-inspired performances with EDM. The sisters would sing on stage while Trindl would stay behind the sound deck as the DJ.
But the huge success would only come after they hooked up with another Glenbrook North High School graduate named Jake Udell, who had gone into marketing and became adept at using social media.
Unfortunately, now the trouble happens: Kris Trindl is suing sisters Jahan Yousaf and Yasmine Yousaf for at least $5 million for kicking him out of the group and for allegedly violating an oath that dates back to when they got “6-8-10” tattooed onto their bodies.
Trindl says he missed a flight to Mexico City in March 2014 to perform at the Electric Daisy Carnival. Thereafter, Trindl says he was ushered into a living room at Udell’s home for a meeting led by an “interventionist,” where others told him to go into rehab.
Trindl didn’t think that was necessary, but a day later, he says Yasmine and Udell told him it was time to take a break from the group and get healthy. The DJ/producer says he acquiesced, through still created new music for the group. It didn’t matter, he adds. According to the complaint, “It was not Kris’ health or sobriety the others were thinking about, it was all about keeping him off the road so Jahan and Yasmine could establish themselves to live audiences as a duo without Kris, so they could eventually erase him completely from Krewella and reap greater financial rewards.”
At that point, attorneys began getting involved. Trindl’s presence began being diminished, and after he saw a billboard of the group without his presence, he retained Dina LaPolt and litigator William Hochberg.
Trindl’s lawsuit is a unique one that befits an age where electronic music has exploded in appeal. The plaintiff says he went through pains to deal with alcoholism and after he got sober, the Yousaf sisters didn’t like the fact that he wouldn’t party anymore, mistook his condition for depression and began scheming to deny him membership in the group.
The lawsuit says:
From March of 2012 until March of 2013, it was non-stop music, good times and partying for the members of Krewella, and the money started rolling in. Kris and the Yousaf sisters were public about their drinking and partying, posting on the Internet video dispatches from the road that only served to stoke their popularity with an ever-growing worldwide fan base.
Kris used alcohol to try to cope with the pressure. By late summer of 2013, he knew he had a drinking problem and checked himself into a detox program and then a 30-day rehab program. But the Yousaf sisters didn’t like the new, sober Kris, who took care of business but did not party or drink anymore. They thought he was depressed, although he explained it was just part of the recovery process.
At this time, Udell, the Yousaf sisters and others conspired to remove Kris from the group altogether. Now that the band was successful, they figured they could always hire outside people to write and produce music for far less money than it would cost to continue splitting their income equally with Kris, as they have done (one-third to each member).
The other side retained attorney Richard Busch.
The two sides went back and forth about whether Trindl’s share of live performance income should be reduced (LaPolt’s suggestion) or whether Trindl should resign from the band, check himself into rehab for 60 days, and then possibly, rejoin the band if the Yousaf sisters allowed (Busch’s alleged insistence).
“Busch’s outrageous September 25th letter, which purported to be an ultimatum, precipitated the filing of this lawsuit,” says the complaint that demands declaratory and injunctive relief plus damages for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and violations of the Lanham Act.
As of time of writing, Busch has yet to comment on this.