“If you don’t take a risk, you’re not in the running for the success. If you take no risks, then you’ll just plateau,” Joshua Steele (Flux Pavilion) interjects in our conversation about his reinvigorated outlook on music. Risk-taking in the course of FP’s career has become something innate, however, with the coming of his debut project he gives no evidence of what to anticipate. Yet, he drops a series of hints by way references to his early background. Yesterday, I was expecting to hear a DJ-studio-time type of rant. Instead, it was a welcomed surprise to hear that FP just came home from rehearsal with his band. Yes, a live band or how he puts it, “[I’m] actually with other human beings.” Most recognize FP solely as a producer and DJ, and not as a multi-instrumentalist that dons the hat of a guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist. In our last interview, Flux stated that wearing the “DJ” label is “not necessarily a term that embodies what I do.” This statement couldn’t be more accurate than in this moment that I hear about his band (they’re already booked for a gig!) and fresh music direction.
We chat about the Life + Times premiere of he and Dillon Francis’ music video for “I’m The One” before engaging in a discussion about his forthcoming album. FP adds, “It’s not like anything anyone has ever heard from me. But if I listen back to the stuff I used to write when I was 13 [or] 14, it’s the same. It’s just produced by someone that knows how to produce now.” Regardless of expectations, one thing that is undeniable – this will be an album built on who Flux Pavilion is as an artist and not as an elusive EDM figure behind the decks.
Life+Times: You have a lot going on! For starters, there’s the debut of your new music video with Dillon Francis. Last spring when I spoke to Dillon, he talked about his stay with you in the UK. I’m guessing that’s when “I’m The One” was created.
Flux Pavilion: Yeah, it was when he was living with me while we were doing a tour together. It was when we first started working on it.
L+T: The video is crazy, especially towards the end. I couldn’t stop laughing. I don’t know what it is with him and cats. Did you guys come up with the idea or was it pitched to you?
FP: It was our idea. Me and Dillon were like, ‘What do we want in a video?’ We put our faces on cats. That seemed like the main idea that we kept going back to.
L+T: It definitely captures what you guys are about – the quirky humor and the fun you both had in the collaboration.
FP: Yeah, definitely. It was nice to have a visual sort of song that kind of captures the mood between the both of us. When I’m watching the video, that’s what it would feel like to make the track as well. There’s something about the energy of the video and the two of us to work together conceptually is really good and really rare. It’s hard to make a music video to connect well with a track, but I feel like this song worked out really good.
L+T: It’s very entertaining to say the least. I’m really excited about the full album that you’re about to come out with. So, do you have a date? Are you still working on it? What’s the latest update?
FP: I am in the bare writing stage in the minute, I guess. I’m taking a completely different direction of the music that I’m doing now. The tracks that I wrote, well, the ones I’ve been writing – I didn’t write them for anyone. I didn’t write them for any reason. I just wrote the tracks. I had no expectancy of me. I just kind of wrote music because I thought it was good. I’m taking it way back to how I used to write when I was a kid and writing whatever’s in my head; and forgetting about what people think. This whole kind of EDM thing and the whole dubstep thing…I’ve never felt like that’s where my soul is. I love the idea of electronic dance music, but I’m all about electronic music as a whole and I feel like if I just keep myself stuck to the idea of dubstep and all those kind of things, I’m just going nowhere. I’m pretty much attempting to remove myself completely from the whole thing that is going on and just write music from my head and come up with a complete concept that is Flux Pavilion. I want the album to be completely me – 100%.
L+T: It’s interesting you bring that out because that ties in with a thought that I had. But first, for your listeners you’ve been preparing us for this transition. Your past EPs served as precursors to this debut album. You’ve been steering further away from dubstep – which I think is awesome – especially with this new track you just dropped, “Exostomp (Jump Up High).” It has no dubstep elements in it whatsoever. Is that something we can expect on the album as well?
FP: I literally have no idea. I don’t even know what to expect. I think that’s the beautiful thing about it. As soon as someone expects something, then there’s the idea of what they think I’m gonna write. They’re always gonna be disappointed because I’m not gonna write what anyone else thinks. I just write what I think. I’m just setting up the idea to expect anything and I’ll just make sure that it’s good. I want to do something else, something different. So, when people come see me, no one else is doing what I’m doing because I’m the only person that’s doing it.
L+T: That’s important. You don’t want to be in a place where you’re stagnant as an artist.
FP: Yeah, there’s gonna always be someone else that can do it better. So, if I wrote a trap record and I’m trying to write proper trap – there’s always gonna be Dillon with his kind of weird, left-field trap sound. Then, Diplo’s doing his thing, Flosstradamus, and Baauer. Those guys are great producers and that’s their sound. I don’t want to be in competition with them…I’m just doing my own part and doing something that no one’s better than me at and I think that is being Flux Pavilion. So, I’m trying to define what Flux Pavilion is all about for my next record.
L+T: You made a statement in an interview last year that really stood out to me. You brought out that an album should be a true representation of your musicality, ideas, and what you’re all about. Then, you went on to say that in music, emphasis is placed more on if something will translate live versus creative concept. From what I gather in your last few comments and the fact that you’re working with a band –is this something you plan on implementing in the album?
FP: Yeah, the [records] that I’ve been working on for the past couple of years have been geared toward the band idea. That’s why I brought the band together now so that I can step up and do it. Moving forward, I want Flux Pavilion not to be me. I want it to be the music, so it’s not just me there DJing and I’m the face of it. I want it to be about the music that I’m creating and then when I go up to perform it, I’m with the guys and that disconnects from me being a personality behind the music and turns it into an act. I’m an artist creating my art. Then, with the band we have our live performance. I think that’s a thing that hasn’t happened yet in dance music, but within electronic music I think that’s all there is to come. All of the new geniuses – the Thom Yorkes and Matt Bellamys and David Bowies – aren’t gonna be picking up the guitar. There gonna be picking up a copy of Reason or Logic and they’re gonna be writing all their music electronically. You can see that with Disclosure. It’s the new breed of people – not so much within dance music. Electronic music as a whole there are loads more to come with how it is perceived and how it is performed and how it’s created. I want to be part of that. I don’t want to be DJing on one stage and I see some awesome David Bowie electronic acts playing on the other stage.
L+T: You stole the thoughts from out of my notes! You’re you – Joshua – but Flux Pavilion is the alias that you go by. A lot of artists are so caught up in the performance factor and what will please other people that whatever they write becomes invalid and doesn’t come from them as a real individual. It’s just coming from their DJ name.
FP: Yeah, totally. As it goes into more and more towards big business essentially – that’s the easiest way to put it – as dance music has now gone into big business, everyone’s obsessed with everything and with that comes all the bullshit that you get with pop music. It’s kind of like that separation needs to be there for the person that’s stepping up there and has written the music. Then, you have artist’s that are like, “Everyone’s into house. I’m gonna make some house.” Then, you’re letting the bullshit in. Then, you become part of the bullshit and you’re not one of the artists that’s there doing their own thing. I have made house and I have made trap. I’ve had loads of fun doing it, but that’s not where I’m from. That’s not who I am. I’m concentrating on that and hoping that everyone else feels the same because it will be a much more beautiful picture at the end of it. Me and Doctor P used to say to each other all the time that, ‘Good music will always find a way. Good music will always get what it deserves – even if it’s not for 20 years.’
Flux Pavilion’s FREEWAY EP is out now via Circus/Big Beat Records. Click here to get it.