Interview: Flosstradamus

Ahead of their Australia and New Zealand tour, the Chicago EDM duo talk trap, authenticity, the internet and their hometown

Chicago duo Flosstradamus make progressive dance music. When Josh Young and Curt Cameruci couldn’t find a local club night to accommodate their set, they just created their own all-inclusive genre-busting dance party. Their sound plays on the sonic tension between dance music and rap: check out one of their sets and you’re likely to catch them spinning euphoric house passages that drop into club-rattling trap sub-bass and hi-hats. In the lead-up to their Aus/NZ tour (co-presented by ACCLAIM), Flosstradamus talk about Chi-Town, the dancefloor potency of trap and whether the idea of authenticity is played out.

What does Flosstradamus have in store for 2013?

Lots more music, and weird viral shit.

You’ve done tracks that involve a pretty broad range of musicians. You’ve got remixes ranging from Matt & Kim to Lil Jon to Bloc Party. You’ve also got tracks with features from people like Danny Brown or Caroline Polachek from Chairlift. Who’s at the top of your must-have collaboration list right now?

King Louie from Chicago. Or anyone else in GBE.

Chicagoans like Kanye and Chief Keef clearly get a lot of global media attention. But who can you tell us about from Chicago that the rest of the world is sleeping on?

Supreme Cuts and The Drum. Crazy producers. And also ShowYouSuck.

How do you see club music evolving in the next year or two? Is there something out there poised to steal the club music spotlight from the trap sound?

We don’t try and predict what’s next. We just make whatever we like, and fuck with sounds that sound good to us. Our sound has changed so much since we dropped Total Recall and so has the whole trap thing.

I’m sure something will eventually pop up out of nowhere, but I’d be willing to bet it will be an evolution from where we’re at now, as opposed to some really bizarre left-field shit.

Club music is about having fun, whereas trap music is typically darker (both sonically and lyrically). How do you go about reconciling the two into a dancefloor-ready track?

I dunno – I find the energy in trap music to be naturally fun. I’m definitely someone who listens to beats before lyrics, so when I hear some trap shit, all I hear is that turn up. Shit that makes you want to lose your shit on the dance floor. We structure our songs like dance songs, but the core energy comes from that original trap sound.

The theme for our next print edition of ACCLAIM is ‘Authenticity’. What does authenticity mean to you?

Keeping that shit 3hunna. Bang bang.

Tumblr micro-genres like witch house, seapunk, slimepunk, and so on, mix a wide range of aesthetics pretty liberally, without much regard for history or context. Is authenticity old fashioned now?

Yeah that shit is played. Nothing matters anymore. People do whatever they want, and that’s how it should be. Keeping it real is for old-minded people who read Pitchfork.

Who were your idols growing up?

All the older guys I used to skate with. They’re the ones who got me into DJing… and weed.

Josh, what was it like growing up with Kid Sister as your big sister?

It was cool. We were crazy competitive and shit until she left for college then we got super-tight. She’s the one who showed me the foundation for pretty much all the music I like now.

Does touring on the other side of the world change how you put together a set? Have you tweaked your set for Australia?

Our set is pretty intricate now that we’re using Ableton. We layer a lot of vocals and loops over tracks, and have specific drops happening at specific times. It’s always evolving as new tracks that we like come out, or we make new shit we wanna try out, but it’s not related to where we’re playing.

It looks like you’ve been continually adding gear to your live setup. Any new gadgets on this tour?

More strobes. We’ve been trying to blind the audience lately. But, yeah, we have a couple things up our sleeve for this tour. We’re always trying to include new tech in the set.

What’s on the Flosstradamus rider?

Fresh juices, water, sugar-free Red Bull and locally grown trees. No booze. Fuck a hangover.

It seems like you guys do a lot of free releases online. Does the bulk of your income come from touring? Have you cracked the code for having a career in music in the age of internet filesharing?

Yeah I feel like that’s how a lot of people are getting it these days. I think Nikki Minaj’s last release sold just a little over 50,000 copies the first week, but I bet it was downloaded millions of times, so when she goes out she’ll still be selling our arenas and shit making heaps of money on tour and merch.

You guys have said that you spent some time honing your production and engineering skills with self-directed learning on YouTube. Are there any tutorials out there that you recommend?

No one specifically – I just know that, while I was teaching myself how to use Logic, whenever I had a question I’d throw it into YouTube and have my answer immediately. From production to plumbing, the answers are all there.

Any words of advice for anyone out there hoping to make a career out of music?

Stop trying to make a career out of music, and just focus on having fun with it. People try too hard, and die of thirst. Relax, and enjoy it?

Could you describe Flosstradamus with one animated GIF?

This one.

Flosstradamus X Tour Australia / New Zealand February 2013
13/2 Wellington – Heisenberg
14/2 Auckland – Cassette Nine
15/2 Melbourne – Vault 8, Cant Say
16/2 Perth – Shape Bar
17/2 Byron Bay – Sunday Safari
21/2 Adelaide – Electric Circus
22/2 Brisbane – Oh Hello!
23/2 Sydney – Chinese Laundry