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Flux Pavilion has been successfully ruining silence since 1989, but over the past six years he has sparked a massive musical revolution in the world that we now know as electronic music. Joshua Steele hails from Northampton, England and demanded attention with bass-laced tracks such as \’Bass Cannon\’ and his remix of DJ Fresh\’s \’Gold Dust.\’ He then revealed himself to be the electronic icon he is now with anthems such as \’I Can\’t Stop,\’ which would later be picked up by Kanye West and Jay-Z. But when Steele began his musical journey, he didn\’t know that it would be focused on the electronic side of music.
As a fan, I didn’t know it was electronic. I got into Fatboy Slim, Prodigy, Chemical Brothers and drum & bass and it didn’t strike me as electronic music, it was just music that I like. Even when I was writing, I used to play guitar, play instruments, record and then sort of electronically create the backing tracks. So I’d have guitar but then I’d write in a bass line and put in a keyboard line and record harmonies. It was just like ‘I don’t have a bass guitar, I don’t have a keyboard and I don’t have a drum kit’, so this is the only way to write the music I want to write, by doing it electronically. Only now do people say ‘Ah so you’re an electronic musician’ and I’m like ‘Oh shit I guess I am.’ For me, Music is music and that’s just the way I’ve chosen to do it and I really like it that way.
His hit tracks created an established sound for Flux Pavilion and Steele became a dubstep mogul, but this wasn\’t necessarily a title he wanted to claim. Dubstep played a big role in the rise of Flux Pavilion, but Steele doesn\’t believe in the inclusion of genres. Concerning dubstep, Steele sees it more as an eternal punk ethos rather than a genre that is dead, according to Bassnectar.
As artists, we really don’t think about genres. Bassnectar was doing his thing before it was called dubstep and will carry on doing his thing after its called dubstep. Dubstep isn’t on the tip of people’s tongues anymore but to me, what it represented in a word or an idea, was this punk ethos, like ‘Ah, I really like writing this music and I kind of don’t give a fuck about anything else, I don’t really want to go the house clubs but I love the music and here’s a place I feel accepted.’ So even though the genre is over, what it represented during those few years will always keep living, it was called punk, we called it dubstep and in few years it’ll be another thing. That’s what it was to me, it wasn’t really a genre. So the idea that its dead doesn’t really make sense to me because it was never something really living, it was a concept of like ‘Here’s a place I can do what the fuck I want’ and that will always be there for whoever wants to find it.
Once Flux had an established sound, Steele didn\’t know what the future held for his project. He didn\’t want to be pressured into a specific sound, so he explored new areas in the Freeway EP, but Steele looked back on the project as a step in the wrong direction.
The Freeway EP was kind of a step towards something else for me. I was like ‘What else do I want to do? I don’t want to keep regurgitating the same old ideas or put pressure on myself to have to do a certain thing.’ I really felt like it took a step too far and I was like ‘This is music that I love, but it isn’t Flux Pavilion anymore.\’
As Steele began to search for his new sound, he realized that he needed to disregard the expectations of the audience and make music that truly feels like Flux Pavilion. He describes this feeling as a sort of electricity that is the main component of his new album, Tesla.
So how do I do music that I’m feeling and do Flux Pavilion. Like what makes a Flux Pavilion record? If it’s not the sound then what is it? Then I kind of worked out that it was just the buzz, it was like the spark, or the energy I get. Like when I listen to my old tracks I get this feeling and I when I listen to Tesla I get that same feeling. I wanted to capture that feeling which I get whenever I play a big record in a club or whenever I do anything that feels great as Flux Pavilion. It’s this kind of feeling, this electricity, and this Tesla-related thing. Because when you become an established artist with a sound like how the fuck do you elongate that sound into a record format without it sounding the same. You get so many albums that sound the same and are so intrinsically linked to ‘It must sound like me’ and I was like ‘You know what, I don’t give a fuck if it sounds like me or not because if it feels like me, that’s the most important thing.
In pursuit of the new Flux Pavilion sound, Steele came to the conclusion that the inclusion of genres is unnecessary and in fact it\’s quite impossible to define a piece of music with only one or two words.
The inclusion of genres is one thing I would change, I reckon. They are pretty handy like when I fell in love with drum & bass, it was nice to type that in and find music that I like. But it feels like when I started there was house, drum & bass, techno and now there are so many different genres. I even saw Tesla on some website where they tried to define each track and everything was very specific, one was tropical techno. Like fuck, what’s the point in all that shit? Why use one word or two words to define a piece of music that someone spent a year working on that’s got so much intricate value and beauty to it even if it’s a big gnarly dubstep track. There are so many intricate moments that different people can connect to. By just calling it dubstep, so many people will switch and say ‘Well I don’t like dubstep’. But you don’t like the word dubstep but there are all these people doing completely different stuff at the exact same tempo. It’s just like, using one word to define all that shit, makes no sense to me.
Even though Steele\’s album is nothing short of a masterpiece, he is already working on new music with some old friends.
Yeah, me and Doctor P have been working loads more together as well. As dubstep blew up, we all kind of splintered away and did our own thing. But a couple years later, now, it feels there’s way less pressure to have to live up to anything, now we can just do whatever the fuck we want again, so now we’re all getting back in the studio and making music. Since I’ve released the album I’ve already got another seven songs that I’ve worked on.
Flux Pavilion roared through the Aragon Ballroom last Friday in part of his Tesla tour, which would become his ninth stop in the windy city and one of his rowdiest. Steele dropped countless lazer-laced drops as he stood at his turntable altar, which resembled an axe head with the Flux Pavilion logo in the center. He treated his Chicago pogo people with live guitar solos and singing that caused a frenzy within the crowd. After the show Flux Pavilion couldn\’t help but revel in the buzz that he had after the Chicago show, the same buzz that inspired his new album and all the tracks we\’ve grown to love from Flux Pavilion.