July 25, 2016


Panorama Interview: Flosstradamus Discuss Rise of Trap Music, Festivals & Drake vs. Joe Budden

Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Flosstradamus have been the masters of the trap music game ever since the release of their 2011 Jubilation EP, which has led to their domination of festivals around the world. Their electrifying performances, complete with intricate physical stage setups and rowdy remixes of all your favorite songs, made the DJ duo one of the more exciting acts for this year's inaugural Panorama festival in NYC.

We caught up with J2K (Josh Young) and Autobot (Curt Cameruci) ahead of their Panorama performance on Saturday, where they told us about festival essentials, life on the road and more.

Fuse: You guys have been performing at festivals for years now and are pretty much experts. So how will Panorama be different?
Autobot: Well the thing that's cool for us is that we haven't played in New York in a long time, maybe like two years. I came out here [to Randall's Island] for Governors Ball, and thought it would be cool to play here.

So what are some of your festival essentials?
J2K: Laptops, for sure. With these kinds of festivals, since it's in the summer, you gotta stay hydrated. So coconut water, or just water in general.

And you're playing another fest next week, HARD Summer. What are you looking forward to?
Autobot: We're really excited. We played there a couple of years ago and it was one of our best shows, and a lot of our fans wanted us to come back. We looked on the website and we're the number one act to see there, so there will be a lot of HDY Nation out there. I'm ready for the energy, it's gonna be crazy.

You also have your own festival, HDYFEST, which was back in April. How was it being on the other side?
J2K: We're still learning. But for us, with playing so many festivals, we've learned how to curate a lineup. Just from doing our own tours, we know which acts are good to play early or late. We also like to have a theatrical element on our stages, and I always see that kind of production at festivals. They put so much money in that and we do the same, except we don't do the EDM LED screen. We build more physical sets on stage, and we really try to put a lot into the experience.

I know you have another collaboration, "Came Up," with Post Malone dropping soon. How did you all first meet?
Autobot: First off, shoutout to FKi. He produced "White Iverson" and a bunch of stuff for Post. He's always put us onto the next artists, and a while ago he was like "Yo check out this dude Post Malone." We were blessed to get in the studio with him before he even blew up. His success is getting even bigger and we're happy to put it out.

Are there any more collabs in the works?
J2K: We have a track with Dillon Francis, and it's crazy because we've been working with him on the tour and have just been homies. But we've never made music together, but we finally have a song. So "Dillstradamus" is becoming a real thing.

That must have been fun, he seems like such a character.
Autobot: He's super focused in the studio. But we when we get together, studio or not, it's a bunch of jokes. We're all like teenagers. 

So when you're out on the road, what are the go-to turn up tracks to get you hyped up before a show?
Autobot: Ooh, I listen to meditation podcasts. So it's actually turning down. Honestly, when we get on the tour bus it's the complete opposite of what you see on stage. But on the last tour, it was all about Lil Uzi Vert for some turn up music. 

I actually discovered you during my freshman year of college, and that's how I learned about trap music. How do you think the genre has evolved since?
J2K: It's kind of like a spider. It started with us, Baauer and RL Grime. It was really just beats, like instrumental hip-hop. Now there's more R&B-based stuff, which is more on the chill side. And there's the harder stuff like [producer] Kayzo, which is on the dubstep side. Even the stuff you hear with Major Lazer and Skrillex...it's really gone in different direction. Every artist has their own interpretation of it. A lot of genres like techno and house, they came on the scene and it wasn't like every artist who was in electronic music at the time adopted those styles. But because so many electronic artists are influenced by hip-hop, when trap arrived it was like everyone wanted to try it. It's cool, and I feel like it's a bit more grounded than other sounds. 

Are there any younger artists you think will be the next big thing?
J2K: Definitely Whethan, he's like a 17-year-old kid from Chicago. And he's making more heaven trap on the mellow side, and it's really dope. I think he's on the next level. 

Here's my last question: #TeamDrake or #TeamJoeBudden? 
J2K: Drake, for sure. Because I'm not trying to "Pump It Up."
Autobot: Yea, even though we're in New York, I gotta say Drake.
J2K: We're older in the music sense and a lot of these artists now are like 18 to 19. So for us, we see a lot of contemporaries in our age group who drop the anchor and stop progressing. And we've always been fans of progression, we like things to move forward nonstop. I think Drake is like that. As soon as his style arrived, he started modifying it and it ends up changing the world around him too. Not to say that Joe Budden isn't progressing as a person, but his sound is old-head hip-hop and based in one point in time.

Below, watch our interview with Flosstradamus at this year's Bonnaroo: