Okay, maybe they can’t see the future, but this DJ duo is definitely living in it. Last year at SXSW, Flosstradamus — J2K (Josh Young) and Autobot (Curt Cameruci) — released their single “Hdygrlz Anthm” on a guerrilla WiFi network advertised only by geotagged social media posts. They’ve hosted an AMA (“ask me anything”) on Reddit, they’re active on Twitter, and they’ve even dipped their toes in the waters of SnapChat. They’ve even got a logo that can be depicted by a single Emoji.
Despite a footprint that spans social media, Flosstradamus cites Instagram as their preferred platform. “I have love-hate relationships with both Instagram and Twitter,“ J2K says. "Twitter is really good for that base; off-the-cuff catching people in their drunkest moments. Instagram is a better platform for actually promoting, I feel. Because it’s more of a permanent thing. Content on Twitter doesn’t go viral. It can get buried.” Autobot loves Instagram for its communicative capabilities. Of his digital relationship with Katy Perry, he says: “She’s dub-tapped a few photos of mine; we got something going on.”
Since forming in the mid-2000s, Flosstradamus has nurtured its own subculture — called HDYNATION, broken down by gender into HDYGRLZ and HDYBYZ — complete with its own garb, iconography, and dialect. The Flosstradamus Instagram account, @flosstradamus, features a HDYGRL of the Week. Flosstradamus falls under the genre of “trap” music, which can rudimentarily be described as the union of hip-hop and electronic music. From hip-hop, they borrow a love of marijuana and an anti-establishment attitude; from EDM they get visceral build-and-drop bass patterns that captivate and unite audiences of thousands. Their brand, above all, represents the collaborative capacities of the modern age.
What was your first exposure to Playboy?
J2K: I remember it. I remember it very specifically. It was like the Pamela Anderson spread. It was the most popular one and my Dad bought it. My Dad wasn’t like a regular Playboy buyer but that one, I think it was a special collector’s edition or something. So that was it. And yeah, it was definitely before I had seen real boobs. I saw them in Playboy first.
Autobot: My whole life I was raised in like, thrifting; almost like American Pickers and Storage Wars shit. So my Dad would always buy storage units. One time he bought a storage unit that had boxes and boxes of Playboys. I was a teenager. We were going through boxes and we found it. I remember later my friend and I went down in our barn and dug through boxes of ‘70s Playboys. My first encounter had a lot of bush, but it was cool.
J2K: Lots of bush.
What movie scared you the most as a kid?
Autobot: Mine was Howard the Duck. It was so fucking scary. I’m actually afraid to watch it now. I haven’t seen it since the '80s, but that shit was scary as fuck. The scene with the tongue?
J2K: I think those were actually the first boobs I ever saw. The duck boobs.
Autobot: They’re called duck breasts.
J2K: Mine was The Exorcist. I was like legitimately for a period of time terrified to go to sleep.
What’s your pop culture blind spot?
J2K: I’ll say Tinder. Tinder is my blind spot. I don’t know about that app or whatever. It’s been kind of the end of my social media. It’s like the one thing I haven’t got on that’s new. It’s like Snapchat came out and all these apps that were solely meant for hooking up? And I’m married. So that’s mine.
Autobot: Mine I guess is steampunk culture, I don’t know anything about steampunks. And I’m actually kind of interested, so… I know they exist but I don’t know anything about them. Like what does a steampunk listen to? What’s the genre of music?
J2K: Steam. Just, ssssss…
Autobot: It’s just that Nine Inch Nails song over over again. Looped.
If you could commit one crime and get away with it with no consequences, what would it be?
J2K: I’d rob a bank. Straight up. I would go into the fucking Fort Knox of all banks and just fucking take everything.
Autobot: I don’t even know what I’d do. Have you guys watched The Jinx? Have you seen The Jinx? Fucking crazy.
J2K: Are you trying to say you’re gonna murder somebody?
Autobot: Don’t test me! That’s all I’m gonna say. I’m not even gonna answer the question. I’m gonna answer another question about something else.
Do you have a go to karaoke song?
Autobot: Yes. Mine is "Tequila,” by Ricky Valens, because all you have to say is the word tequila twice, the whole time. So that’s easy.
J2K: Mine is “What I’ve Got,” by Sublime. Because I’m a bro at heart.
What did you spend your first big paychecks on?
J2K: I bought a flat-screen TV.
Autobot: I was gonna say, he bought a flat-screen TV.
J2K: And my room was smaller than the flat-screen. I was in a little apartment at the time. It took up a whole wall, it was awesome. It was like a personal theater.
Autobot: I probably put it in the bank. I don’t spend any money.
J2K: He hates spending money.
If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?
Autobot: My last meal is a cappuccino from Four Barrel Coffee in San Francisco. That’s the drinks, I have to start with the drink. I’m gonna have ribs, barbecue from Fat Sow in Brooklyn, and I’m gonna have ice cream from Momofuku. That’s my whole deal.
J2K: Corn dogs. Don’t care the brand, don’t care if they’re frozen. Corn dogs. Notice I didn’t say a number. I’m gonna eat until I’m full.