Sometimes, even when you’re part of something that is both creatively and financially rewarding, you still gotta break out, do your own thing and let your freak flag fly.
“Back in May, I decided to make a new beat every day and post them on my Instagram,” Young, 32, wrote in an email interview. “At the end of the month I had over 40 songs, and I decided I wanted to release them under a solo project. My wife came up with the name in five seconds and I ran with it from there.”
Under his YehMe2 moniker, he released “Steal This Mixtape” earlier this year. Even though it’s a dance mix all the way, the mixtape has Young weaving together many different artists: Stevie Nicks, Nine Inch Nails, Mike Jones. He even throws in some Chicago as a shout-out to his Windy City hometown.
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“My family influenced me at a young age to give everything a listen,” he says. “Doesn’t matter if it’s Sinatra or The Prodigy, I’m inspired by dope music and was surrounded by it starting at a young age. I love flipping a sample that people would never expect, but it hits them in a surprisingly nostalgic way.”
Even though he’s out there doing different things as YehMe2 (he just dropped a remix of Travis Scott’s “Goosebumps”), he’s still making major moves with Flosstradamus, along with partner Curt “Autobot” Cameruci, 35. This past summer, they were the headliners at Lollapalooza, a major feat since they once played the festival on a smaller stage so many years ago.
“Back in 2006 or ’07, we were some of the first DJs to play Perry’s Stage,” remembers Young. “We’ve got to watch that stage grow to one that rivals and sometimes dominates the main stage. So, for us to headline that stage, 10 years after we first played it to a handful of people, felt like an exclamation on our career as artists.”
Flosstradamus has amassed a devoted following. They refer to their fans as “HDYNATION,” filled with “HDYBYZ” and “HDYGRLZ.”
“In 2012 we started wearing hoodies on stage and calling ourselves the HDYBYZ,” says Young. “The male fans adopted that title for themselves, and the girls went with HDYGRLZ naturally. We wanted a title for them that wasn’t gender specific. So, in early 2014, we came up with HDYNATION and the flag.”
Flosstradamus has been savvy enough to reach out to people in many clever ways. When they dropped their “Banned 3D” mixtape in 2013, they released it on a USB-enabled vape pen. In 2014, while performing at SXSW, they set up a WiFi network called PLURNTNET so they could distribute a new track.
“Since day one, we’ve always tried to go against the grain and push the boundaries with whatever we did as artists,” says Young. “Finding creative ways to release music, and interact with fans has definitely set us apart. But more than that, I think fans giving us the title ‘godfathers of trap’ have given us a permanent cult status, and moved us ahead of the herd.”
The pair is currently on their Hi Def Youth Tour (they’ll be making a stop in Raleigh on Monday), where they’re looking forward to entertaining the Tar Heel members of HDYNATION, whom Young hopes will give their all in return.
“(We want) Everything except their blood, sweat, and tears – leave those in the mosh pit,” he says.
Who: Flosstradamus, with Towkio, Gent & Jawns
When: 8:30 p.m. Monday
Where: The Ritz, 2820 Industrial Dr., Raleigh
Info: 919-424-1400 or ritzraleigh.com