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Interview: Flosstradamus

Mar 21 2012

You wouldn’t know it based on their interaction, but once upon a time Josh (J2K) and Curt (Autobot) weren’t a DJ duo. It wasn’t until their paths crossed in 2005 that they decided to join forces to become who we now know as Flosstradamus. Since then, they’ve been an unstoppable force in the electronic dance music scene and have amassed quite the discography, including collaborations with Kid Sister, A-Trak, Chairlift, and The Cool Kids to name a few. Known for their high energy music that can only be described a crunk electro, Josh and Curt are at the top of their game having just released their EP, Total Recall, on Mad Decent. I got to talk to Josh and Curt before their set at the Green Label Sound Showcase  in Austin, Texas where we gushed about Travis Porter among other things.

How has your SXSW experience been so far?
Curt: Awesome as always.
Josh: This is our seventh year in a row. When we first started coming down, people would come up to us in the street and be like, “what party are you going to?” at 5AM in the morning and we’re still trying to rage. Now we see everyone and we’re like “man my knees hurt dog haha.”

Yeah I went home at midnight last night and ate Jimmy John’s…so how would you say the festival has progressed and changed in the last seven years and what do you see for the future?
Josh: When we first came down, we were pretty much the only DJs playing this festival. This was before the electronic music scene had really blown up  and that year we drove down and were playing with Matt & Kim. The next year it just seemed like there were mad DJ parties. It seems like now electronic music is dominating the festival and it’s been that way for at least the last five years for sure.
Curt: On another change of things, it seems like there’s more people than there ever were. We were just walking down the street and it’s just crazy right now. It seems like there’s more people, more companies, just a lot bigger than it ever was.

Yeah I definitely feel like the vibe of the festival changes every year. This year it feels like there’s more multi-day parties and more unofficial showcases where bigger artists like you guys are playing so it’s more accessible. Do you think  that’s a good thing?
Josh: I feel like the best part for me has always been the stuff that you stumble upon and you get to see someone like The Dream playing to a hundred people; a situation that you would never in regular life get to experience. We just saw Mystikal playing ping pong and any of those kind of moments are amazing. Those are the things that you find off the beaten path in the dark corners of Austin, but that’s what makes this festival so awesome.

So who was playing on the other side of the table with Mystikal?
Josh: Haha I don’t know actually, but he was really serious and he was quite good.

How has the reception to your shows been?
Curt: Well this is the first time we’re doing a live set so we’re down here playing our own tracks and remixing them live and that’s been awesome. We’re test marketing here at SXSW and it’s been going off every time we’ve done it. We’re still figuring it out and messing up a little bit but it’s cool to do it night after night and get better.

You’ve recently released a new EP, “Total Recall,” can you tell me more about that?
Josh: It’s one of the first releases where I feel like people are acknowledging it as our sound and there’ve been some comparisons to Araabmuzik. With our style as DJs, we’ve been playing euro music and trance anthems with crunk, Southern, and trap music forever-since we started. That was kind of the foundation of our party was to mix those kind of bouncy hip hop tracks with house, so I feel like these tracks on the “Total Recall” EP are for the first time a representation of our taste as DJs being put out as producers.

How much do you feel like the Chicago music scene has influenced you?
Josh: When we first started our parties we would always play tracks like the Percolator or a Paul Johnson song and switch up to half time of that. I feel like with juke music too, there’s all these switches where it switches from 175 BPM to 75-it’ll just drop abruptly. And we do that in our production now. It’s all about building these tensions and then releasing it and chilling it out. And maybe even the buildup leads up to some crazy synth or some 808s or laidback bouncy music.

When I saw you guys DJ at the IHEARTCOMIX after hours mall party at SXSW last year, you played one of my favorite tracks in your set – Travis Porter’s “Make It Rain.” What other rap/hip-hop music are you guys into?
Curt: Juicy J. We’re into Top 40 Southern rap, we always have been. In our set we play a lot of Waka Flocka, 2 Chainz.
Josh: We’ll still drop “Make It Rain” in our set, it’s such a dope track. We actually met the dudes that produced that track, shootout to FKI, in the studio with Diplo working on a remix and those dudes came through. It’s crazy cause you would think that in those scenes what we’re doing and what they’re doing are totally opposite. But they had heard our remix of Major Lazer’s “Original Don” and they liked it. I’m just stoked that there’s people that made songs that I’m obsessed with that like our music cause I mean, I love Travis Porter man. I love that whole Atlanta bounce kind of sound. Just for them to come up and show us respect, it was dope.

So is there anyone that you would want to collaborate with?
Curt: I’ve always wanted to work with Andre 3000 just cause he’s always ahead of the curve and everything he touches is gold. I feel like with what we’re doing right now we’re sort of into his world.
Josh: I made up my mind that I would always answer this question the same until the actual collaboration came to fruition, so I’m sticking with Mystikal. Mystikal just got out of prison and I saw a video of him freestyling in Mannie Fresh’s lambo and he’s still got it.

Why didn’t you approach him when you saw him playing ping pong?
Josh: You never interrupt a man in the middle of a ping pong game! He misses and I’m like “yo what up dog, let me give you my demo.” Honestly though, real talk, everything that’s happened to us in our career has happened 100% organically so if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen.

What do you think has been the greatest contributing factor to your success?
Josh: Just longevity. Me and Curt are persistent and we get along really well and understand each other as individuals and as musicians. I know a lot of DJs that tour solo and are on the road constantly and they get mad lonely and bummed. It’s cool to have someone that’s got your back that you can actually hit the road with. I also think the fact that we’ve just stuck it out. I mean, we’ve been doing this for eight years and in DJ years that’s a long time.

What would you be doing if you weren’t Flosstradamus?
Curt: I would be designing, making computer programs cause I have a degree in Interactive Multimedia. No matter what, I always want to be doing something creative but I’m very fortunate to be doing this.
Josh: I’d probably just be doing dumb shit with my friends haha.

Doing hoodrat things with my friends…

Green Label Sound Official SXSW Showcase