After the tour, Flosstradamus plan to take a month off in their hometown Chicago to wind down and produce a debut album.
We caught up with a jet-lagged and exhausted Flosstradamus before their soundcheck in Portland, Oregon yesterday. Curtis was gracious enough to stay awake and give The Music Pirate a call while Josh was sleeping to talk about their work-in-progress debut album, Yo Gabba Gabba, dental hygiene and more.
Read the full interview after the jump! Also coming soon: video interview with Flosstradamus (and POSSIBLY Kid Sister) for their Saturday Echoplex show. Be sure to check back on TheMusicPirateTV on YouTube!
Lucas: Whats up? Where are you guys?
Curtis: We are in Portland right now supporting this leg of Kid Sister's tour that she’s doing. Josh and I were in the studio and she wanted help on this first part of her tour so we just said ‘Let’s go. Let’s do it.” So we’re out here doing that. We’re playing a few shows as Flosstradamus and playing a few as just Kid Sister shows as well.
Lucas: What do you mean?
Curtis: We’re doing a few Flosstradamus AND Kid Sister shows as well as just a few Kid Sister shows without our set in there as well, as the supporting act.
Lucas: Oh awesome. So I have to ask about her name.
Curtis: Yeah she’s Josh’s sister. She’s actually Josh’s older sister.
Lucas: That’s funny, her name is almost a bit misleading.
Curtis: [laughs] In a sense. I don’t know if BIg Sister sounds really good. It doesn’t flow off the tongue as well as Kid Sister
Lucas: Yeah, haha. So you guys have proven you have amazing production skills with quite a few remixes and you’ve even released an original song with Caroline from Chairlift. Are you guys considering making more music? What’s next for Flosstradamus?
Curtis: That’s what we’re doing right now man. DJ shows and club events are getting kind of over saturated in the scene, or they have been since 2008 to now. Josh and I have been touring around forever. We’ve been touring since 2005. We’ve done a lot of it and we’re just like ‘We need to take a break now. We need to release some stuff’ and it feels good. It feels natural now just to like be in the studio. Before we would have a couple weeks or a few days to work on a remix or an original song, and now we’ve got like a month. We’re taking our first month off since 2005 in December. We’re starting to put out stuff. We’ve just been in the studio right now trying to find our sound because we don’t want to copy anything that’s hot right now. We just want to find our own sound because we haven’t really done that yet. With remixes we can put a sound out on the track but for original songs we want to have something different. We want something unique and fun that reflects Chicago and reflects us. We’re grinding in the studio now and I’m pretty stoked on that.
Lucas: Awesome. I have noticed a few of your remixes having different sounds and vibes. The Matt and Kim - Yeah Yeah remix has a different vibe than the Act A Fool song or Overnight Star.
Curtis: The Act A Fool one was more of a mashup thing we did. We were playing a lot of old school trance at the time and we were also playing a lot of Lil Jon so we put them together. But yeah, with the Matt & Kim remix, I was playing some keys in the key of their song and it just came out like that. Then we remixed Mates of State as well and that remix has a different sound to it too. With a remix, it’s pretty cool because we can apply a sound that’s hot at the time on it and give our own take on what’s going on in the current music game, but for the album we want something that’s a bit more listenable and more timeless than just like a remix that can played in the club for a few months.
Lucas: So with you guys in the studio, what are you guys influenced by? Even outside of a specific style of music, are you guys looking outside of electronic music? What are are you guys really into right now?
Curtis: Even looking outside of music. Josh and I are going into this with lot of free time now at home so we’re reading a lot of pop culture books and movies and things that we’ve missed out on over the years. Cult classics and stuff. We’re just brushing up on everything that’s influencing us in many ways just even artistically like getting different aesthetics from things out there. Things that have happened in the past that have inspired culture, that’s kind of what we’re doing. We’re listening to a lot of new stuff, theres a lot of new music that’s coming out that’s really cool.
Lucas: Yeah, this year has been really great in music. What are your favorite musical acts this year?
Curtis: This year? Hm. The xx are super good. Diplo. The Major Lazer thing is killing. I guess this wasn’t this year, but Friendly Fires are in constant rotation and the M83 album. Those are both from last year but they made it into this year and they’re still killing it. Pretty timeless. Theres a lot of singles I’ve been feeling this year too. The new Chromeo single is good.
Lucas: So back to the original song you released, ‘Big Bills,’ with Caroline from Chairlift, how did that come about?
Curtis: Man, that was a crazy process and it happened super fast. Josh and I can do remixes and stuff, but we haven’t really done an original track and Green Label Sound did a song with Matt and Kim and they did one with The Cool Kids, which are both our friends. They hit us up next and it just kind of worked out. They were like “Hey we have a few artists we’d like you guys to work with. We want you to produce an original song for them” and gave us a list of names. Caroline and us gave the thumbs up and a couple days later we’re in LA in a studio, for three days only and we came up with that song. Just whipped it together in those three days and then two days later we’re filming a video and having a photo shoot. So that whole entire project happened within less than 7 days
Curtis: It’s pretty rushed for a single, so that whole process was different and it was fun too. I like being pushed. I’m a huge procrastinator so if they gave us 3 months it probably wouldn’t have happened in 3 days… but it was good. She brought her sound to the table. She brought more of an indie vibe, more of a melodic vibe and we brought a bit of the dance vibe and put it all together in the studio and made this weird little indie-dance cross over thing you can just listen to instead of just another club banger which was a trend for DJs at the time.
Lucas: Yeah when I heard that song, I thought “I don’t think I’ll hear this at a club but I’ll definitely be playing this on my iPod.”
Curtis: Yeah that was kind of the whole point that Josh and I took with it too, because at the time when we made it, the whole the idea everyone was about was ‘Banger banger banger banger!’ It was just like ‘Yo man thats kind of played out. Kinda over it.’ We just took another stance on it and just tried to make something different, that’s one thing a lot of artists are afraid to do. Do something weird and different and we did it.
Lucas: Yeah, its definitely different and great. With your new album in the works and based off of that experience are you planning on collaborating with outside people or is it more gonna be like a Curt and Josh thing?
Curtis: We are collaborating. We’ve got a lot of friends we’ve made. We’ve been touring for like 3 year straight so we’ve been meeting a lot of people on the road and a lot of people are down to work with us. What Josh and I are doing right now is getting a huge catalog of songs together. We’ve been making different things. We’ll get an idea and we’ll bang it out. Some of them are really rough and some of the tracks are pretty polished up, so we’re going to take the album in progress and send them out to all the people in our family, like Chromeo and Fool’s Gold and Mad Decent and be like “Yo which ones do you like?” We’re gonna send those out and then polish those up then we’ll start sending them out to the artists we’d like to have featured on them. Then yeah, it goes from there.
Lucas: Nice, yeah that’ll be really exciting.
Curtis: I’m stoked. It’s a good feeling to be doing something different again. I’m super stoked to be working in the studio,
Lucas: For sure. Did DJing somehow get old for you, from touring for so long nonstop?
Curtis: [laughs] Uhhh…. Im going to say yes in a way. All the new music that came out as we were touring kept us inspired. We were like “Oh cool we can fit this crazy song in our sets ina certain way” and still play a lot of the old songs we always play. That was inspiring and that was fun. But having to travel and do it all the time it got taxing man. Josh and I got tired. You can just tell by looking at press photos we’ve taken just how much this has aged us. It’s good to take a breather and it’s good to just be back home, just relaxing. This is an amazing job. I’m not mad that we have this job and this is what I do to make a living. I get to enjoy what I do and I get to do something creative for a living. This is all of the things I would want so I’m not mad at it. I just think it’s time to switch gears for just a little bit and let everyone else do their thing so we can work on our album and work on a whole new way to tour. That’s another thing Josh and I are doing right now. Instead of just having a DJ set we’re trying to flip up everything do more live performances as well as DJing in our new sets when we come back out.
Lucas: Awesome. I’m sure you guys know the Twelves. They do that too, they perform live more than they DJ.
Curtis: They do it really really well. We’re gonna take our influence from that a little bit cause they’re not really like DJing as much as they are playing tracks and playing live to it but doing their own version of it. Like what Chromeo does, they bring live percussion in. They don’t have a drummer or anything. It’s just two dudes. They’ve got P Thug on keys and Dave 1 on guitar and singing and then they have a backing track that they’ll add to. They’ll add a little bit of drums and some cowbells and stuff. We wanna take that as well as a little bit of a musician performance and hopefully, once we established with our album, we can bring a couple of them out on the road with us. If you’ve ever seen Basement Jaxx they do it really well. They’ve got singers and dancers and people on stage with them. They heighten up their tracks. Hopefully we could do that when the albums released. Eventually that’s what we want to do for sure
Lucas: Sweet. This next question is from one of my writers Eszter.
Curtis: Hey Eszter.
Eszter: Hey whats up? How important is the visual aspect of a live show?
Curtis: It’s huge. We have these people we’re going to bring out too. They’re called Thunder Horse and they help us curate all of our shows in Chicago. They do visuals, videos and effects as well as help us design and build stages. We do theme shows in Chicago and that’s what we want to bring out on the road. For a 4:20 party we built a giant UFO a stage built out of these giant smoking joints that would smoke. I dunno, it was crazy. And I think that’s a huge thing, especially in the DJ game because at the end of the day we’re just playing other people’s music. If you have visual stuff there to entertain the crowd its better than sitting there watching some dudes behind their laptops. Girl Talk kills it with the things he does. He’s killing it musically but he has all these kids around him dancing. He has a balloon drop and beach balls, you name it. Fireworks now. He’s doing all sorts of crazy shit and that just adds to all that element and adds to the night. If you were to go to a show and be like “He was there doing his thing,” it’s not as epic as fireworks and a show.
Lucas: For sure, it definitely keeps you ahead of the game.
Curtis: Yeah totally
Eszter: Have you ever had a fan come up to you with a weird interpretation of what Flosstradamus means? The actual word?
Curtis: No actually. That’s the thing, though. Everyone asks us about that; everyone thinks it some super deep thing. But, no I haven’t had that. I actually want a fan to do that. Maybe we could have like a T-shirt contest or something and have fans illustrate what they think it means. What do you think it means?
Eszter: I kind of thought it was like the future of flossing. Cause you know Nostradamus was making predictions about the future, so I was thinking maybe it’s the future of dental hygiene.
Curtis: [laughs] See there you go! That’s awesome. Uh, I mean, my interpretation isn’t that but it is kind of a play on both those words. Yeah, Nostradamus predicted the future and also if you’re flossin’ you’ve got the best stuff on you. We’re foreseeing that’s hot I guess [laughs] in a weird way. But I like the dental floss idea. the future of dental hygiene.
Lucas: [laughs] You’ll always be fresh. In both senses of the word .
Curtis: [laughs] Exactly, yeah.
Eszter: They should put you on Yo Gabba Gabba and then you can do a whole thing about brushing teeth. It would be perfect.
Curtis: Dude. That is actually a really good idea. They had Chromeo on there and our friend Louisa from that DJ group Staccato in LA. Her mom works for Nickelodeon so that would be awesome.
Lucas: Actually Curtis, I have a friend that interns there. Maybe I can say something.
Curtis; Dude, put in a word. That would be so awesome.
Lucas; Definitely, I’ll hit him up right after this interview [laughs] I saw that Chromeo clip of the Wash Your Hands song and it was so great.
Curtis [laughs] Yeah, amazing
Lucas: It’s incredible. It’s weird and awesome.
Curtis: Yeah dude, it’s just cool that they involve people in our culture and age group. Like the stuff that we’re fans of are in this little kids show. It’s so cool. They’ve got Biz Markie. Ah, awesome.
Lucas: I’m definitely jealous that I didn’t have that when I was a kid.
Curtis: Exactly. Exactly.
Lucas: If they’re growing up with all this cool stuff on the show like Chromeo and MGMT, how cool are they gonna be when they’re our age?
Curtis: Exactly. I’m actually really stoked on what kids are gonna be like. I think things are switching gears, and being a creative kid is actually a good thing now. Before it seemed like it was a weird thing, like we were outcasted or something but now I feel like being creative and different is more acceptable in our society now. I’m stoked to see what these kids are gonna do.
Flosstradamus is a not a show you want to miss. Four turntables, two mixers two incredibly creative DJ's are the perfect equation to a buck wild dance floor.
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