An Interview with Flux Pavilion

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Flux Pavilion is kind of a big deal right now in the world of electronic music. The Bass Cannon wielding Britsh producer is behind a wave of up-front, in-your-face Dubstep music that has proven undeniably popular, yet which is derided by many as a branch of the genre that shouldn’t be taken seriously. He’s had almost 3,000,000 views on his YouTube channel and has even been sampled by Jay-Z and Kanye West. We caught up with Flux prior to his upcoming UK tour to discuss Dubstep, Funkstep, Brostep and whatever else you might want to call his brand of bass heavy production.

First of all, could you run us through a typical day in your life at the moment?

Well, it’s getting up, eating breakfast, making tunes and then playing shows really. It differs every day. There’s not really a ‘typical’ day, but it’s predominantly based around music and eating.

Always a good combo! Tell us about Circus Records, the label run by yourself and fellow producer Doctor P.

We started Circus about two and a half years ago now. Me and Doctor P had been writing some tunes on other labels and it seemed like a good idea to set up our own platform so that no one could tell us that our tunes were bad. We were never really sure, we just wanted to write interesting music. We didn’t want there to be anyone to say “No, we don’t like that track, we’re not gonna release it”. We just wanted the power to do what we wanted I suppose. Then that idea spilled across into other artists, and we started signing other people who wanted the same thing – a bit of freedom.

That autonomy has given you the opportunity to really develop the very aggressive Dubstep sound that you’ve become known for. What do you think about the opinions of the ‘purists’ within genre who question the authenticity and credibility of this side of Dubstep?

I don’t really know. A purist mentality is just someone’s opinion, right? We’re not trying to evade people’s opinions, because that’s that point of someone having an opinion. Everything’s been blown apart so much recently. Dubstep is based around a 140BPM tempo, but now everyone is writing music at all different tempos. I feel that Dubstep as a word doesn’t even fit anymore. It’s more just electronic music or dance music or bass music or something like that. We never tried to be part of a genre, we just tried to write music. I only ever used the label Dubstep because I was writing music that was 140 beats per minute – now when we do other stuff it’s not Dubstep it’s just got that flavour.

So you’ve made music that isn’t 140 beats per minute?

Well, everything that I’ve released has been 140BPM… But the new EP, I’ve got all sorts of stuff on there. But even at 140 beats per minute, it could be breaks or it could be garage or it could be the Beatles.

Or it could be Superbad’ which brought in some funk elements? How did that song come about?

Well yeah, me and Doctor P wanted to write a funk tune because we’d missed a flight and had to wait about 5 hours for the next one so we thought let’s just work on a track. Slowly it became funk, and then it became Dubstep. But is that funk? Or is it Dubstep? Or is it Funkstep?

Oh god, don’t start on ‘Funkstep’, please. So you got most of the song down it that initial 5 hours?

Yeah pretty much! I got my saxophone out, and my guitar and then I got a friend of mine down to re-sing the vocals because we’d actually initially sampled Michael Jackson.

So you record quite a lot of live instruments in your tracks?

Yeah! I mean it depends on the vibe really. A whole bunch of my tracks have guitar and clarinet and saxophone and all sorts of stuff. I also always have my voice on every one of my tracks at some point. Most of the time I disguise it with ludicrous effects so you can’t tell it’s me, but it just makes things more fun that way – using real sounds!

I suppose the fact that you’ve used real instruments during the recordings helps when it comes to performing them live?

I came from a band background; I used to be a singer-songwriter. I’d write songs at home and perform them at acoustic nights and stuff. When I wanted to record those songs at home, I picked up a copy of Reason because I could add bass lines and drumbeats and stuff to them and make them sound like full band recordings. That was kind of how I got into electronic music. Then I started making hip-hop and realised I could sample stuff, and that moved on into synthesis and that’s where I’m at now. The idea of actually using real instruments was kind of the first though when I started doing it and that’s never really changed for me. But the idea of turning that into a live band or some live element would be taking a step back rather than a step forward.

Your recent live session at Maida Vale with Example did incorporate a live band set-up with you on the guitar. Do you not use a similar set-up when performing live as Flux Pavilion?

No, I’m still DJing – kinda with some production. For the tour we’re about to start, we’ve been working with some visual artists, working on stuff to encapsulate the mood with the visuals. I just want to get the stage scene right. Next year I want to start bringing a couple of people out with me and using samplers and keyboards and stuff like that. I’m going to incorporate some guitar and some singing but I don’t want to take it to a full live band because the music has been produced electronically and sounds really good like that. So if I start taking those elements out and putting live elements in it will take away from the core sound of the music and how it’s meant to be enjoyed.

And when can we see the show?

I’m just about to start my UK tour. I’ve got Dillon Francis flying over from the states for support. We’re doing 13 dates over the next two and a half weeks. He’s going to be live at my house and we’re going to play a bunch of shows!

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