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Italian production duo Crookers, aka Francesco "Phra" Barbaglia and Andrea "Bot" Fratangelo, formed in 2003 and first began remixing tracks by AC/DC, Armand Van Helden, and N.E.R.D. They achieved their big breakthrough in 2009 when they hooked up with U.S. rapper Kid Cudi on the U.K. number two hit "Day N' Nite," and after signing to Interscope a year later, they released Tons of Friends, a collaborative studio album featuring the likes of Kelis, Pitbull, and will.i.am. After returning to their underground roots with 2011's more low-key Dr. Gonzo, Bot left the group to pursue a solo career, leaving Phra to carry on the Crookers name alone.
Crookers is the musical project of Italian DJ/producer, Francesco "Phra" Barbaglia.
Crookers was originally a duo consisting of Phra and fellow producer Bot, who worked together from 2003-2012. When the two artists met, both were trying to branch out of their genre and explore dance music. Their first collaboration worked. Phra said "It felt natural to team up, seeing that we had the same musical tastes... which isn't that easy here in Milan."
On October 19, 2012, it was announced that Bot had left the group to pursue a new direction and that Phra would carry on the Crookers name as a solo project.
Bot took up the guitar at an early age, later moving onto synths, turntables and sequencers. Phra had already started DJing by age 11, when he was introduced to the Italian hip hop scene.
Their first international release was on Berlin's Man Recordings (Funk Mundial #3), for which Crookers contributed various remixes. The duo later released three EPs in 2008 (Knobbers, Mad Kidz and E.P.istola, all containing exclusive original tracks). Their debut album, Tons of Friends, was released in 2010.
Their collaboration with Kid Cudi entitled "Day'N'Nite" entered the UK Singles Chart at number 2 and is featured on the game Midnight Club: Los Angeles.
Crookers work with producer/remixer Sketch Iz Dead on many of their tracks.
In 2009 they DJed the in-game radio station ElectroChoc in the game Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony, which is based around the nightclub scene of Liberty City. Also, the group gained significant attention as the closing song in the final GTAIV game ("The Ballad of Gay Tony") is "No Security".
In November 2010 the duo signed a deal with Interscope Records, and they released their new single "We Love Animals" under the label as their first single of their upcoming second studio album.
In May 2011, Crookers released their second album Dr Gonzo on iTunes and Beatport. The album features Savage Skulls, Neoteric, Wax Motif, His Majesty Andre, Lazy Ants ans Keith & Supabeatz and has been described as a return to their original style. A related EP titled The Gonzo Anthem was released on June 27, 2011.
Bot left the group in October 2012. Phra continues to use the Crookers name solo.