For more than ten years, Chicago electronic-music project Flosstradamus was a duo comprising Curt Cameruci and Josh Young. Together the pair rose up to be one of the United States' most popular and celebrated bass-music acts.
But then, as 2016 became 2017, Young quit. He stopped flossing, as it were. Cameruci, meanwhile, is striding gallantly forward, keeping the Flosstradamus name alive through a potent combination of refined talent and undeniable stubbornness.
But then, why should he stop? Cameruci’s heart is in Flosstradamus, and it has been since he and Young were creating mash-ups. Now the name is associated with trap, hip-hop, and anything else from the wider world of EDM.
“I think at the end of the day, the sound of Floss has always been heavily hip-hop and dance influenced,” Cameruci says. “Whether that was us making mash-ups back in 2005 to now having a single with Waka Flocka Flame.”
With Young walking at the start of the year, the reinvention of Flosstradamus essentially as a solo project is still fresh for Cameruci. He says that the first thing he had to do was regroup, collect his thoughts and then carry on.
“I had to try to figure out what to do next, how to change it up,” he says, “We have a giant fan base. We just wanted to figure how to do the things that we were doing right, and then take the things that we were doing wrong and make them better. The past two months have been just about organizing and getting things lined up, and we’re excited to show what we have at Red Rocks. When I say 'we,’ I mean myself and the management team. They’ve been a big help with this.”
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When asked whether it was initially weird performing as Flosstradamus without Young for a run of “Floss Vegas” shows in Nevada, Cameruci plays it cool at first, pointing to the fact that he went the solo route when Young had previously taken time off to take care of his new baby. But then he opens up.
“The first show was, I guess, kind of weird because we had been doing it for so long together, but I handled it well,” he says. “It was a huge show at the Shrine in Los Angeles, and it seemed like the fans didn’t miss a beat, and I didn’t miss a beat, so it was great.”
As a duo or a solo deal, Flosstradamus remains one of the top-drawing names in bass music and trap in the States right now. Naturally, in the decade that Cameruci has been in the game, the music has evolved almost beyond recognition, as everything heavily reliant on technology does.
“If you had asked me this question last year, it would have been a different answer, because it's always evolving,” he says. “With the amount of people in it, there’s a lot more talent. Before, there might have been three or four heavy hitters in it. Now, there’re dozens of people that I really admire — they have their own sound, and they’re pushing trap or bass music in their own direction. For a minute there, I thought it was gonna go one way, the future bass way, but then there are all these people making the hard stuff that’s pushing the envelope that way. I think people are used to a genre dying and then that’s it, but I think because it’s hip-hop influenced and hip-hop has been around forever, EDM, trap music and bass music can evolve just the same way. It isn’t dying. It’s like a tree growing branches.”
The stature of Flosstradamus’s name has led to Cameruci working with the likes of Dizzee Rascal and Waka Flocka Flame. The latter has been a fan and friend of the Floss for many years, leading to collaborations tagged Wakadamus.
“We’ve made singles with him before and, when Josh was on paternity leave, Waka stepped in and went on tour with me,” Cameruci says. “He was doing the hype-man thing and just doing a lot of shows with me. We started hashtagging photos #Wakadamus. That evolved into a kind of group name, and we always talked about making an EP together. We recorded a bunch of songs. This is the first single that we did together. I’m very excited.”
The single he's talking about is the frankly banging “Back Again,” a lively monster of a tune that effectively lets the world know that Flosstradamus is very much open for business. And there’s more recorded output on the way.
“Tons of stuff,” Cameruci says. “Part of the new Flosstradamus is making a lot more music. That was one thing that we weren’t doing in Floss — we slacked on making music. We only put a few songs out last year. I’m trying to step it up and put out a lot more music this year. That’s one of the big goals.”
While the idea of releasing new music is making Cameruci hot under the collar, he’s also psyched to be coming back to Red Rocks, a venue that he describes as the ‘best in the entire world.’ He’s not the first person to say that and he won’t be the last, but the sentiment never gets old.
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“The first time I played there, I got super-emotional and almost cried on stage,” he says. “Every time I step out there, it feels that way. Something about the energy and the way the nature is, and the actual physical build of it, but the way the energy is contained within the rocks and on the angle. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s super-overwhelming. It’s always a spot where Floss has debuted new stage setups and new things.”
As for the set, Cameruci says that we can expect a bunch of new music, spanning the different genres that Floss has dabbled with. It might, though, be a little more chill than the Flosstradamus we’re used to.
“Maybe we’ll not be going as hard, adding a little more vibe to it than normal,” he says. “Floss has always been known for super-hard sets. Don’t worry, I’ll bring that. But I’m going to start trying to vibe it out a little more, add a little bit more emotion to it. We also have some special guests coming.”
Flosstradamus plays with Gucci Mane, What So Not, Gryffin and Branchez at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, at Red Rocks, 18300 West Alameda Parkway, Morrison, 720-865-2494.