[Interview] Flosstradamus & HDYNATION Rage in Nashville
If there was ever a duo that could light Marathon Music Works on fire, Flosstradamus is it. On December 8 they brought their Hi-Def Youth Tour to Nashville, this time with The Bunker, an evolved version of the setup from their last tour. They played to a packed venue with fans decked out in HYDNATION gear mixed with girls dressed up in crazy light up ugly Christmas sweaters. If Floss did anything, they made us all dance the night away with their mixes of everything from straight up trap, to "The Macarena," and even mixing in some classic rock and reggae. They reached every single person in the crowd by appealing to all different genres. Somewhere in the night I found myself jumping into the semblance of a mosh pit, fueled by the heavy bass pounding through the room. Before the show I had the opportunity to ask J2K and Autobot a few questions.
You two have a serious social media presence and are constantly interacting with your fans. How important is it to foster that relationship? How do you think it has affected your career?
J: It’s super important. At this point in time I feel like with the way social media is set up it has broken down the wall between you and your fans. It has made it so they can message you. They can really get in direct contact with you. It’s sort of similar to writing fan mail back in the day, but you know now it’s way more personal, peer-to-peer, and I don’t know. We started out as a small group from Chicago and we’re just like humble dudes so we just kind of continue that thing. We never got that rock star mentality where we were too good to write someone back, and it made like a real bond with our fans. We’ve made friends with some fans even. Like some people that come to our shows over and over again that we see on the regular, we look forward to seeing them when we go to certain towns. Or we see them in the front row and we’re like ‘yeah’ we like see familiar faces and stuff. It’s a massive part of it cause I feel like once that fan feels that direct connection with you, they’re a fan for life. They’re gonna be there and ride with you through a lot.
This year's stage set up has evolved from the last tour. Tell us about what went into creating it?
A: Okay, so the last one we had like a, it’s like the world kinda just ended, or whatever. There is like a great war let’s say, and then that’s where we recovered. We picked up the world where it ended and we started HYDNATION. That’s kind of the birth of HYDNATION. And so now we have The Bunker built up. We’re kind of getting our stronghold and becoming the HYDNATION. I guess that’s what this is. That’s what this whole bunker stage is. And yeah, it’s just pretty much physically bigger version of the last one that we did. And we have like added on things. We're moving lights ourselves and we have t-shirt cannons and all sorts of crazy stuff.
J: We usually come up with the concept just sort of by breaking it down and working together and coming up with an idea as to what it's roughly gonna look like. Then we have a team of fabricators that build it for us in upstate New York. They'll build it in their warehouse and a lot of times we don't see it until it's done. Or he'll (Autobot) go up and check on it real quick and sort of see it in the beginning stages, but these guys work magic. Like, you know it. You go up there and look, and from the crowd it really reads as like a big concrete...thing, but behind the scenes it's nuts and bolts. It's guys on our team that assemble it every night. And we were saying about the size of it, it's scalable because of the different size venues on this tour. We've gone from playing rooms that have an 8,000 person capacity all the way down to 1,000. And we have somehow been able to have some version of it in every different room. It's a pretty cool way to set it up. You can make it big, small, whatever.
Has the election and current civil events influenced the story you are telling through your production?
J: I feel like we've always been on that apocalyptic shit, but now it's coming true. It was almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy or something. Cause we definitely were talking about it, like, before it ended up happening. But uh, yeah it's unfortunate. Kurt usually during the set will say something on it, but it's interesting because I've noticed that the reaction from our fans is mixed. It's not like even as liberal as you would think an electronic music or hip hop fan may be. There's some Trump supporters out there for sure. So it's...it's kind of interesting. We try not to go too heavy into politics cause we don't want...we more or less want to facilitate a fun time for people and make sure that everyone just has a good time and try and unite people and bring them together. And there's been times where, you know, I've been on stage saying 'Fuck Trump' dadadadada, but even now I'm like... yo, that's not my place. I'm not trying to tear people apart. I'm really just trying to unify people cause I think that we got a serious shit-storm of like four years ahead of us an the one thing we need, is like, to try and stay happy to try and stay united. Cause it's...it's gonna be crazy man.
If there was an apocalypse what would you find yourself doing?
A: I would definitely be trying to MacGyver my way through it. Take whatever's left over and build something from that. I don't know what that would be, but I would definitely try to find a way to, like, get clean water from... the... I don't even know.
J: Yeah my wife's from Australia so I would be tying to find my way to Australia. I think that would be the last stronghold. It's a massive continent with no one there. There's only people on the coast so there's a lot of land there that's just up for grabs. We would probably try and get there and get with our family. We would probably try and set up a commune or something.
Do you have anything exciting planned with family or friends for the upcoming holidays?
A: Yeah. For the first time, I’m going to my fiancé’s house for Christmas. Usually, I go to my house, so yeah I’m excited to get back home for the holidays, and have family time and chill. We’re out on the road so much that it’s just good to go back to reality and do that. So, yeah. Excited for that.
J: Yeah, and it looks like we’re gonna have New Year’s Eve off for the first time in, I don’t even remember. A long time. It will be nice. We never get to kick it with our girls and get like a New Year’s Eve kiss even, or anything. We have to kiss each other so it’s like, it’s gonna be nice to actually have a little time to do that. For sure.
Tell us about the music video for one of your recent releases, "Came Up."
A: Yeah, it’s like a, kind of like a short little narrative on how Josh and I have been doing this for eleven years. We’ve been doing Flosstradamus for eleven years. Started in Chicago in this small bar, and then took it to Nashville, where we are right now. It’s kind of like a little bit of that. It’s, I guess the video. We took it to Lollapalooza. We started at this little bar in Chicago, and we headlined the biggest festival, one of the biggest in the States. The biggest one in Chicago. It’s kind of an encapsulation of all that.
J: It’s been a long trip so it’s cool to see. It was cool for us just to go back. We got to go into the bar and shoot at the little bar. Legitimately, it’s the size of this room. It’s just bizarre for us almost at this point to like take a step all the way back, like a time machine. And the place hasn’t changed at all it looks exactly the same as when we were there before. The sound system even. I think they may have upgraded a speaker or two but other than that it’s the same. It was just fun for us to like run around Chicago and hit some of our old mainstays.
Photos Courtesy of Flosstradamus
To get tickets to for the Hi-Def Youth tour click here.