PAPER
on the front lines of cultural chaos since 1984.
floss_edm_1_new.jpg
Flosstradamus (L-R): Josh wears a shirt and blazer by Sand Copenhagen, pants by Z Zegna, shoes by Christian Louboutin, ring by 424 Jewelry, pin by Cast of Vices, tie clip by Jason of Beverly Hills and tie by Z Zegna. Kurt wears a tuxedo by Viktor and Rolf, a shirt by Vivienne Westwood, shoes by Android Homme and necklace by 424 Jewelry.

"We have two phases of Flosstradamus: 1.0 and 2.0." Curt "Autobot" Cameruci is charting the trajectory of the Chicago-based dance/hip-hop duo he and bandmate Josh "J2K" Young started nine years ago. "I'm gonna say we're currently 2.5 beta. We got some things in store."    

In brief, Flosstradamus 1.0 launched at a Boystown dive bar, where Cameruci and Young first mixed southern hip-hop and Chicago juke and footwork with house, trance and Baltimore club styles. They toured successfully as DJs, but a few years in they sensed a dead-end approaching. "As far as having our presence on people's iPods and on the Internet, it just wasn't there," Young says. Once they taught themselves how to produce and started releasing original music -- and a wildly popular trap/dance remix, in 2012, of Major Lazer's "Original Don" -- their popularity surged. As Young says, "There was a new sound and we were the ones who were doing it." And Floss 2.0 was born.    

Now that they've spent a couple of years performing their own stuff at EDM festivals and blowing up Soundcloud, where several of their songs have over a million hits, the question arises: are Cameruci and Young due for another upgrade?  

"Our mindset is definitely 3.0," Cameruci says.    

flosstradamus_edm_2.jpgJosh wears a jacket by Louis Vuitton, shirt by Burberry, pants by Z Zegna, boots by Louis Vuitton, ring and necklace by 424 Jewelry, and sunglasses by Mykita. Curt wears a shirt by Dior, pants by Vivienne Westwood, shoes by Android Homme and sunglasses by Mykita.

Some hints of Floss 3.0 could lie in their recent single "Mosh Pit." The song has plenty of what has made Flosstradamus huge: a stuttering trap beat surrounded by the nerve-snapping builds and bone-crushing drops of EDM. But mosh pit? Like what they do at punk and metal shows? Young explains that the song developed from the mosh pits that had started bubbling up at Floss's festival sets. "The energy is there in our music and in the crowd, so it just was happening; kids were pushing around and getting turned up."    

They hadn't set out to write a tribute to mosh pits; that came from a moment of studio spontaneity, when they showed some live Floss videos to the track's vocalist, Casino (you might remember his ferocious verse in "Move That Dope" by his brother Future). "We ended up writing the song based on what he'd seen about our shows, so it just came full-circle," Young says. "But the initial mosh pit just happened natural 'cause the music brought that to the crowd." 

So then. The crowd, once sufficiently "turnt" by the music, has the power to influence the guys making it. It's a level of engagement that bands lust for, when a fanbase starts looking more like a movement. Floss has had a major online presence since 1.0, but things were sped along a couple of years ago, when Young and Cameruci had a branding brainwave. Young: "Chicago drill music and rap music, like Chief Keef and Fredo Santana, all those dudes have gangs where they say 'boyz' at the end. So we're like, 'Cool, we'll be the hoodieboyz.' We just put that on the Internet and it took off. So all our fans are like, 'I'm a hoodieboy too!'" Soon enough, there was a HDYBYZ Manifesto, a tour, an apparel collection, even a hand sign. These days, the Floss Instagram account is peppered with HDYGRLZ flaunting their black haltertops and booty shorts.    

"They became our Juggalos," Young says.    

flosstradamus_edm_3.jpgFlosstradamus (L-R): Josh wears a shirt and blazer by Sand Copenhagen, pants by Z Zegna, shoes by Christian Louboutin, ring by 424 Jewelry, pin by Cast of Vices, tie clip by Jason of Beverly Hills and tie by Z Zegna. Kurt wears a tuxedo by Viktor and Rolf, a shirt by Vivienne Westwood, shoes by Android Homme and necklace by 424 Jewelry.

Floss 3.0 may well be defined by the duo's ability to take a constantly mutating strain of dance culture and turn it into one huge, hypersocial family. They got their foot in the door by fusing halftime rap beats to club bangers; they brought weed into a world known for Ecstasy and MDMA. And now they're connecting with their fans on a level mostly reserved for the Misfits and jam bands (and Insane Clown Posse). 

 "Even transcending trap music or genre, fans of Tiesto, the xx, anyone can be HDYBYZ or HDYGRLZ," Young says. "HDYNATION came from them being like, this is what the movement is, this is what this is called for us."    

Not bad for a couple of soft-spoken guys who freely admit that some of their creative ideas are actually "highdeas." (Young explains: "All highdeas are subject to review when you're not high.")    

Expect a single with Waka Flocka Flame entitled "TTU (Too Turnt Up)" later this year, on Ultra and Fool's Gold. Expect some next-level theatrics at their Hard Festival and Lollapalooza sets this August. And expect those mosh pits to spread far beyond the trap stages. "People have been sending us videos of other people's sets, like Showtek and all these house dudes, and now there's little mosh pits happening," Cameruci says. "It's like infecting other stages it wasn't at before."

Young picks up the thought: "At a Headhunterz set at Coachella, people were sending us videos and they were like, 'Yo, look at this crazy-ass mosh pit!' He was playing 'Mosh Pit,' but it was happening at a mainstream DJ top 40 set. And people were going crazy

Styled by Art Conn

Grooming by Traci Barrett for The Rex Agency using Davines
 
Photo assistant: Paris Potter /Shot at Quixote Studios in L.A.


MORE OF THE MOST POWERFUL DJs IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS
Comments...