The multi-talented drummer and DJ was this year’s Best Producer winner at this year’s first-ever GiantFest Awards, and he’s taking over the scene alongside many talented collaborators. This week, Flo-Pilot and crew pay tribute to one of pop music’s most iconic albums.
Thotyssey: Hello, Flo! Thanks for chatting with us today!
Flo-Pilot: Thotyssey, I’m honored to be here! Thank you for having me!
So, are you having a lazy, snowy weekend, or are you making things happen in the studio?
I just got out of the studio right now, actually. Definitely been trying to keep busy. I find times like these are good to focus and hone your skills.
Are there any new recordings from popular or indie artists that have been inspiring you at all recently?
Yeah, a few. “Up” by Cardi B is definitely one because of how powerful it is while being so simple, and combining both modern and old school elements. “Tribal Hit” off of Baauer’s latest record has been an inspiration to my new style. “Unisil” by the recently deceased SOPHIE. And from the local scene, my boy Second Nature has been dropping some dope beats recently.
Are you a native New Yorker… and was music always a part of your life?
Yeah. I grew up in the Bronx and I spent weekends listening to music, playing air guitar and air drums, singing with my sister, pretending to be rock stars. That was always the dream. I started playing drums when I was 13. I grew up with a local rock / punk / metal scene, so there were a lot of us in bands around as teenagers.
It looks like your still pretty active with the drums.
That’s true! I still play with a few people.
You’ve recorded quite a bit of your own music over the years, and now you produce other artists’ musical visions as well. When you approach those collaborations, does it always start with the beat for you, given your background in percussion?
Not always; I think that it’s different every time. Sometimes I can just make a beat and send it to someone. Sometimes they have the song written out on guitar or piano, or even just the vocals, and they need me to make the beat under their ideas. Sometimes it’s a collaboration together in the moment. It depends on the artist and the song. I would say it starts with inspo: usually I ask an artist to send me two to three inspiration tracks of what they want the song to sound like, and I work with those sounds and study those songs to see why they’re great.
In general, how do you know whether or not you and that artist are gonna work well together?
That’s a good question… never really thought about that. So far, it’s been pretty chill to work with everyone.
When did you start producing other people?
About three years ago; Vegas was the first one. We met through a mutual friend, Gina, who I used to throw shows with. I think what works is we have a similar versatile range of music we like. It’s not just pop, hip hop, and electronic music; we talk about metal and classical music also! And Vegas is very specific, which works for me. He’ll start with the song on guitar, and I’ll transform it into the pop version you hear on the record. On a deeper level, I think the love languages just line up too, ya know.
I enjoy your new single with Vegas and Lucy Hall, “Perfect Vision!” Cute video too… yay, hot tub!
Oh, thank you! That was a lot of fun.
Was this all a total three way collaboration, or was the record basically your baby?
Definitely a collaboration. I came up with the original idea, but I wanted it to be a joint effort. I usually work alone on my own stuff, so I definitely wanted them to have creative freedom. What they did affected the music too–certain parts had to change and get rearranged based on their ideas. We actually started this idea in 2019; obviously a lot of plans changed due to Covid. It was our collective experiences as artists in this time that really made the piece something greater than I thought it could be.
Covid must be making your producing life very difficult.
Yes and no. It’s nice to not have to leave the house as much. But I feel like there’s a work / life balance to art that helps you stay inspired… especially since I was usually inspired by seeing live shows.
Tell us a bit about the music you’re making with Marcel, who’s been a host of Thotyssey’s own pre-Covid, bi-monthly affair “Thot Mess” at REBAR Chelsea. “Production” and “Button” have been cute club bops!
Yeah. It’s definitely a fun experience working with Marcel. We’re really focusing on the dance element–Marcel is big on the live choreo, and I’m very much writing for the dancers as well. Working with Marcel is just us having fun with ideas and digging into the diva element.
On Monday, February 22 via Twitch, you are DJing a “Vinyl Fantasy” tribute to Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation with a cast of performers that includes Marcel and Vegas… as well as all-stars like Honey Davenport, Neon Calypso, Miz Jade, Hibiscus, Devo Monique, Kareem McJagger, J’royce Jata, FiFi DuBois, Crystal Comedowns and Sativa. Tell us more!
I think it’s important to use music to unite people… to feel like we’re all connected through the universal power of music. To me, [Rhythm Nation] represents that intention. Music is a vehicle for us to transcend the superficial barriers such as race, gender and sexual orientation, and just be connected on a deeper level–the full value of the human experience.
You can guarantee that this show is gonna be full of some wild and talented performers. I’ll be playing a set of some choice favorite tunes from the 80s, keeping the vibe alive during the intermission.
I wanted to ask your opinion on this as NYC queer nightlife is slowly being reborn: LGBT bar stages in the city have been largely dominated by drag queens these past several years… and that’s great, we all love our queens! But not too long before that, we also had club music singers doing their thing in the venues, and they were equally enjoyed by the audiences as the queens are today. Might we ever see those days again?
That’s hard to say. I usually don’t see things in life change back, and I’m more interested in exploring forward movement. I also see a lot of scenes where the views of the promoters don’t really align with that of the audience. I think not being allowed to go to shows like we used to has exposed that, and created a world where shows (live or virtual) end up having more diversity and serving the audience a fuller experience. I think that’s what most people want: the diversity and space for everyone to do their thing. I see that coming for this, and many other scenes.
Well said! But I do also hope we get rock bands again at least, somewhere!
Yeah, for sure.
Any other projects or collaborations coming up for you?
Working on my solo stuff. I really want to express more of myself, and I have a concept for a double EP that I want to release this year–definitely want to pull some people in for features. And, putting out an EP and some other fun art with Lucy Hall. Planning some show ideas for when Covid is over, too.
Looking forward to it all! So my last question: what is the one biggest Regular Thing that you can’t wait to do again once Covid is behind us?
I’d have to say concerts, hands down. Seeing friends dancing. Getting lost in the music. We’re used to going out and hugging, like, 50 people when we go out to shows. Now it’s hard to get that many hugs and share that much love. I think we all need that!
We definitely do! Thank you, Flo-Pilot!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Flo-Pilot’s upcoming appearances, and follow him on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Download or stream his music on Amazon, Apple, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify, et al.