“Would you quit your job for this?” Josh Young asked Curt Cameruci during a party a few years ago. His response was yes, and since then it seems Wholefoods’ loss is the dance world’s gain, because Flosstradamuss have been blowing up ever since. It all started for the duo when they put on their own parties in their native Chicago under the Get Outta The Hood banner. “I was looking to start a DJ group,” remembers Josh. “I’d tried with a few other people and it had failed miserably.
A mutual friend put me in touch with Curt saying he played the same stuff and the rest is history!” Curt chips in with a similarly mellow accent. “We were both DJing solo and really got together to play this party. We used to do crazy creative blends, two tracks, acapellas, and at the time it was all vinyl we played.” The idea with the parties was simple, then — to have fun and mix up styles without prejudice. “We play Southern hip-hop, juke, Baltimore club, stuff that was in the streets as well as mainstream stuff,” enthuses Curt before explaining that Chicago’s geography is in part to thank for that. “It’s in the middle of America so every city influences it… hip-hop from California, Chicago house, techno from Detroit, we always heard all that on the radio.”
Things rapidly took off, the party became famous around Chi Town and everyone from Diplo to A Trak passed through the doors. So successful was it that — as they themselves admit — the party was the springboard from which Flosstradamus have been leaping ever since. Now, just a few years later, they have taken their so-called “kitchen sink style” to festivals around the world including Coachella, Pitchfork Music Festival and Lollapalooza. “It’s just energy we are looking for,” says Josh. “We will play acapellas or whatever else to take the night where we want it to go.
It’s definitely an energy thing over a genre thing.” Of course the natural next step was to begin producing, and as such the pair locked themselves away and began teaching themselves the tricks of the trade — largely with the help of myriad YouTube tutorials — and now count Fools Gold and Mad Decent as homes from home. “We’ve been making party edits and remixes for a while, but in 2011 we focused entirely on production,” says Josh. “We were making 10 different types of tracks and genres and we had one that stuck, so it gave us a lane to pursue.”
At the moment that lane seems to be heavily trap-influenced, and one of the pair’s latest releases is a collaboration with DJ Sliink that explores exactly that sound. “We’re a part of something that has become a real movement here in the States,” Josh explains. “We arrived at it by making instrumentals inspired by Southern trap guys, from Atlanta, and merged it with dance music, and that’s how the new trap genre has taken off.”
It’s a fair bet that you will hear such sounds when the pair play at SW4’s 10th Anniversary across the August bank holiday later this year. Interestingly, for an act that accepts they are part of the dance community, the show might not be what you’d expect visually given the showy, DayGlo precedent set by the likes of Skrillex.
“We’re from a punk background so we just stripped everything back. We like it dark, smoky with an intense rave vibe, with just one strobe light,” says Josh, whilst Curt chips in with details of how they actually perform using Ableton, totally live, triggering loops, vocals, effects, acapellas and whatever else they can get their hands on. Given their kitchen sink mentality, our advice is: expect the unexpected.
Catch Flosstradamus at SW4 on London’s Clapham Common 24th and 25th August