Flosstradamus reveal the innerworkings of the HDYNATION Tour [Exclusive Interview]
The first ever Mad Decent Boat Party came and went this past weekend, and as dozens of fans made it back to land, photos and status updates flooded in about all the craziness that ensued. But while most of the people who got off the boat got to kick back and post their photos online, Curt Cameruci and Josh Young are on the move. Never a dull moment, Flosstradamus is set to kick off their headlining nationwide HDYNATION Tour in Seattle and the pair of producers are gearing up for their biggest show yet. For their latest tour, Flosstradamus has teamed up with Virgil Alboh for an interactive set design to bring their show to life in a way that fans have never experienced before. Alboh’s name might ring a bell as a respected contemporary fashion designer, or you might know him from his decade of working alongside Kanye West and producing a little venture recently — The Yeezus Tour. Before this tour kicks off though, the Chicago-bred trap stars are swiftly trying to regroup. Despite their need to unwind from the cruise, the duo took some time before the first night of their tour to give us an exclusive peek at what HDYNATION is going to look like from ground zero. But before we could get into any of that, we had to chat about the past weekend’s festivities quickly.
First, spill a little. How was Mad Decent Boat Party?
Curt begins to recall, “It was amazing, we played like three different times and we did a show on Friday night that was one of the most incredible shows we’ve done in a long time. All of our family was out there playing….we did our DJ set but we had Skrillex and Diplo there hoppin up on the mic with us. It was just so ridiculous. All of the management and everyone that was on the ship ended up jumping in the mosh pit and getting kind of crazy.”
Josh finishes Curt’s trailing thought, “Yeah it was great.One of the most memorable sets that we’ve played in recent memory. The first night we went really hard and then the following day we just played records on the beach We went straight from raging to being on a beach at 1 pm playing like reggae records and throwback hip-hop. It was cool man just a well-rounded enjoyable experience.”
Oh, just a midnight Flosstradamus x Jack U party followed by a mellow beach day – no big deal.
So the HDYNATION Tour kicks off tomorrow, tell us how you’ve been preparing for your biggest show yet.
Josh, who seems to be on the move explains, “The preparation for us started ages ago…I’d say before the summer even. We had the vision to make this tour a memorable, once in a lifetime, experience for the fans. You know, sort of bring an element to live [performances of] electronic music that people feel is missing. We wanted to add a third dimension to it. It seems like every festival we go to every set that we see DJs are just playing behind LED screens and it ends up just taking away from the experience a little bit. It makes it flat so we had the idea to build a set that sort of makes a virtual world and create a real live place that people can actually exist in.”
How does that connect with the theme behind the tour. How does the stage setup factor in?
There is an evident camaraderie between the two in the way that they finish each others thoughts. Curt chimes in, “We wanted to have a brand behind HDY Nation. People talk about it, people represent it all the time, but we haven’t made it a full unifying thing so the whole concept kind of was like Josh and I are the leaders of HDY Nation and then we have like multiple tiers of fans and members of it.”
Josh elaborates, “We had the HDYBY HDYGRL thing but we didn’t have anything to call it as a whole. That’s HDYNATION. And it started to grow organically so we came up with the set design to give it a story and make it a little more tangible and again it’s the start to HDYNATION. If you think of it as a movie this is the prequel, so this tour we are going out on we built this crazy set design of a fallen out old city that we rebuilt and are starting HDYNATION. We even have other chapters to this tour that we’re gonna do in spring and fall but this is the prequel.”
Curt goes into more detail, “The way that the whole stage is built is super interactive we have multiple ways that we can run all over the stage there are multiple ways to maneuver about the set. It’s pretty much a playground…it’s an adult playground. It’s gonna be dope we are super excited. As for the music and everything now we’re doing so much more layering and adding the hit songs we’re known and sprinkling them in amongst all of these other songs… using some popular music as an added layer to bringing our EDM-trap stuff up another notch.”
Josh continues to paint the picture, “Ableton is the platform we use to DJ. In Chicago we were working on the set for 5 days and then we went into actual rehearsal and that was new for us to take hours and sit down with our video guy and sit down with each other reviewing the set and fine tuning it. Out of all the sets that we’ve done this is the most air-tight one for sure. Lots of edits. Lots of little tweaks.”
So how did you link up with Virgil Alboh on this project? Are there future collaborations with you guys in the works?
Josh explains their relationship with Alboh, “I mean definitely, dude. He’s the homie. We collabed on the last tour, also made some clothes together.” Curt jumps right in explaining, “He’s in Chicago too so we are always kicking it together, and we are all very creative so although nothing is brewing up right now, I’m sure something will.” Josh interjects, “This is really just a stepping stone to see where we go from here. But I am happy with what we’ve done so far. It’s looking like we will definitely be doing more together in the future.”
It is interesting that you refer to this as the start of your movement, when most people would consider your guys’ fans some of the most die hard fans across dance music.
“That’s the thing,” says Curt. He continues, “It might not be the beginning of Flosstradamus or anything but the beginning of this HDYNATION movement. Really the brand that is Flosstradamus is just a small piece to the puzzle. There’s so many different angles to what we are so we want to spotlight that. That’s what we are trying to do with the whole tour.”
In a live setting, it seems like Josh does a lot of the crowd hyping and Curt handles the decks. Behind the scenes, or in the studio, tell us how that varies. What is it like adding Virgil’s mind into the equation?
“Well Virgil gets our vision and we get his. All three of us are very like-minded, so yeah it just worked naturally,” explains Josh. Curt then finishes Josh’s sentiments with,”Josh and I both have our creative ideas and we will bring them to each other and if we agree on them we move forward with it. The cool thing about Flosstradamus having two people is we can each pull our own weight in different directions.”
After wrapping up with the guys, we reached out to Virgil Alboh who weighed in on the creative dynamic.
“[Flosstradamus] themselves have nuclear ideas. We found common ground in that nonstop influx of ideas. In the end this tour has the making to be amongst the most theatric and gripping DJ tours the culture has seen to date.”
“Rebound” was such a departure in style for you guys but your fans reacted to it in such an accepting way. Do you guys have anything else under the hood that plays on different styles further?
Curt is quick to field the question clarifying, “Yeah I mean, we always have. And a lot of people think of us as purely “turn up.” But we’ve got “Lana’s Theme,” some other tracks that are super chill. We did a remix for Sub Focus. A lot of our stuff is super turnt up but a lot of people don’t realize we’ve been making this chill trap shit before all the Flumes and stuff like that.”
I couldn’t help myself. I sheepishly pipe in with, “Roll Up?”
As if Curt had forgotten momentarily, he pointed out one of Floss’ best as he continued. “We always like to make music that we can play and enjoy. It is not about like, ‘yeah we want to go in a different direction,’ its just like we are going to continue to make music, whatever direction that may be.” He slows down for a moment and expands on the first part of the question. Curt continues, “Rebound– I mean we were hesitant to put that out in a climate where we’ve been putting out tracks with Waka. To then follow that up with the chill thing, we didn’t know how people would react. But because of HDYNATION and our die hard fans it really worked out. Everyone accepted it with open arms.”
More along the lines of the style you guys are usually known for, are you following up the Waka Flocka collaboration with some other rappers?
“We’re pretty well connected in the rap scene in Atlanta so we’ve been going going down there and working with people down there. We’ve got a bunch of tracks with other rappers as well as Waka Flocka,” explains Curt. He quickly follows up with,”But yeah, hip-hop is always gonna be an element of Flosstradamus. We’ve got a couple of tracks coming out… and the point is not to make a “trap, EDM” track, but a straight up rap track. Like stuff that we love. Hood-ass rap tracks.”
I know its difficult, but try to think past Mad Decent Boat Party and tell us what were your two best festival outings this year before you guys set out on the HDYNATION tour.
While Josh ponders, Curt announces, “Coachella and Lollapalloza. I mean Lollapalooza was amazing. It was my hometown, on my birthday. So emotional– to come back and play that man. And Coachella, well I mean I don’t have to say much more than that.” Josh lets out a quick chuckle and picks up where his counterpart left off.
Josh recalls, “Yeah we played Coachella on 4/20. Which was pretty special. And you know, I feel like, uh…a large majority of our fan base likes to smoke hella weed. So before we even came on, the tent was filled with just clouds and clouds. Kush clouds everywhere. And we just knew it was gonna be special.”
In a year that was full of milestones for the trap twosome that changed an entire genre nearly highhandedly, the HDYNATION Tour is underway and according to Flosstradamus themselves, this is only the prequel for what we can expect to come. So before their post-apocalyptic pulpit rolls into your town, be warned, we have only just begun.
HDYNATION Tour Dates:
Nov 17 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SoDo
Nov 18 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theatre
Nov 20 – Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue
Nov 21 – Denver, CO – 1st Bank Center
Nov 22 – Aspen, CO -Belly Up Aspen
Nov 25 – Minneapolis, MN @ Skyway Theatre
Nov 26 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
Nov 28 – Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection
Nov 29 – Detroit, MI @ Masonic Temple
Nov 30 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogarts
Dec 2 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
Dec 3 – Columbus, OH @ The Bluestone
Dec 5 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
Dec 6 – Wallingford, CT @ The Dome
Dec 9 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
Dec 11 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
Dec 12 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
Dec 13 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
Dec 16 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Dec 19 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
Dec 20 – Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
Dec 26 – Chicago, IL – Aragon
Dec 27 Chicago, IL – The Mid
Dec 29 – Los Angeles, CA – Shrine Expo Hall