Krell was born on September 10, 1984 in Chicago, Illinois. He has two older brothers who are twins and have Asperger syndrome, which is the subject of Krell's song "2 Years On (Shame Dream)."
Krell graduated from The New School with an MA in Philosophy in 2009. He then moved from New York City to spend a year in Germany as a research assistant for Markus Gabriel, the Chair for Epistemology, Modern and Contemporary Philosophy at the University of Bonn in Bonn, Germany. He then returned to Chicago and joined the philosophy department at DePaul University where he wrote a doctoral dissertation on nihilism and German philosophy in the eighteenth and nineteenth century before going on to earn a PhD in Philosophy from DePaul in 2015.