Flosstradamus, the electronic-music duo made of up artists J2K (Josh Young) and Autobot (Curt Cameruci) has been influencing the electronic scene since its inception more than ten years ago. The troublemaking duo is no stranger to the demon's mouth that is popular music, having been chewed up, spit out and then regurgitated into something new — groundbreaking, even. The musicians find themselves again riding a high wave in EDM popular culture. And when we say high, we do mean high AF.
As Flosstradamus prepares for its second annual HDYFEST, which will take place this year on 4/20 at Morrison's Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Westword connected with Josh Young (Joshtradamus).
Notorious for its particular style of sampling other artists' songs (and then applying a distinctive trap remix style), Flosstradamus has not only been on the receiving end of the ubiquitous Internet-bitch of criticism (perceived by some as music thieves), but at one point actually received a cease-and-desist order, the result of copyright violation claims made by Netherlands-based musician Olaf Veldkamp. Dancing around the claims, Young and Cameruci avoided significant civil litigation action by demonstrating that they were not profiting from the use of any artists' songs at the time.
With over half a million followers on Facebook alone, we asked Young about his feelings on newer producers sampling Flosstradamus's original productions. "We've been sampled tons!" he says. "My general rule is the rule we had for Floss: If we're not selling it, kind of no harm no foul. Then if it gets licensed or picked up, or a label wants to release it, or they want to put it on Soundcloud or Spotify or Apple Music, then of course they'd have to license the song. But as far as making edits, I want people to be creative and push music forward."
On the reactions Flosstradamus has encountered from within the community of music producers, Young says, "Half of them were like, 'Fuck you guys for taking our music!' and the other half were like, 'Nice work — I like the way this sounds, let's try and make more good stuff.'"
Young and Cameruci are notable innovators of trap music. On what he feels the two have personally contributed to the genre, Young says, "For me, I think that the music is speaking. I'm not a superproducer. I've always just sampled, whether it be something like rain or a field, or recording a piece of music."
Despite a sea of controversy, Flosstradmus has garnered international accolades and a cult following. At one point, the guys' own fashion statement (wearing hoodies regardless of the weather) attracted so much attention from fans, that they began noticing a social-media trend in their honor, affectionately hash tagged #HDYNTN. If not slightly ironic, the duo copyrighted the hashtag, and the #HDYNTN brand was born. Known for releasing music in innovative ways (at one point releasing a single on a vape pen), Flosstradamus is synonymous with the cannabis community, hence the decision to hold the second annual HDYFEST in Colorado. Regarding the organizing of the event, Young says, "When we did it last year, we did it in Austin. In Colorado, [marijuana] is recreationally legal, so it's pretty relaxed. Everything has been positive and so far been really great."
On their stage show, Young adds, "We're going into a lot more actual props on stage, building our set design in a more theatrical version than the standard EDM setup, which can be two LED screens. It just got to the point where everything was the same. For the #HDYNTN tour last year, we brought a car on stage!" Assuring Westword and fans that this year would be just as #plurnt, Young shares a few details about what to expect from them at the upcoming 4/20 show: "For HDYFEST, I can't tell you exactly what we're building, but we're actually premiering our new stage show at the festival. So aside from it being a really dope party on 4/20, we're going to be showing off our brand-new stage pieces, which have been in the works for months now, so, yeah, definitely really excited about that!"
Flosstradamus headlines HDYFEST on Wednesday, April 20, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Snails, Valentino Khan and Chill Harris will also perform.