Flux Pavillion joins the likes of Wiz Khalifa, A$AP Rocky, Kill The Noise, Julio Bashmore and many others for Origin NYE on Tuesday, December 31, at Ozone Reserve. RK reports.
The first time I heard music by Joshua Steele aka Flux Pavilion – legendary producer from Towcester in the UK – it was a pleasant surprise.
It was dub, but with a twist. It was bouncy and tough but it seemed somehow intelligent, well crafted and unique. Then I learnt he was co-founder of Circus Records and had done great things there. That he was a drummer in an indie band called Rock Rabitzkin. Then I heard that collaboration he did with Childish Gambino – and was sold.
Having released Blow The Roof and Freeway EPs this year, Steele describes 2013 as somewhat of a watershed – a landmark moment for him.
“Both of them did pretty well,” he professes proudly. “I’m also really looking forward to taking the success of those and touring during the tail end of the 2013 and then into the 2014 season. I’ve spent some time in the UK and the US doing the Freeway tour – that was crazy; but I’ve also got some other projects under way although they’re not exciting enough to talk about just yet!”
Indeed, Steele is particularly proud of his open-minded approach to his studio sessions. Influenced during his early career by Basement Jaxx and The Prodigy, he takes the driving yet musical nature of their music and twists it – sometimes unsubtly – into his own trademark sounds.
“I guess I’m about keeping things open,” he says. “I want to sit and write music. There are times where I want to write dubstep; then it might not sit with me and there are times where I want to do something else.”
Steele’s more recent collaboration with Steve Aoki, titled Steve French, is a stunning digital composition that harks back to his early influences – it even has a hint of Daft Punk about it. Always the comedian too, he takes the compliment in his stride: “I actually plan on doing a Christmas #1 now too; that’s on my wish list!” Really though, he admits to not having a care in the world about such things. “Sometimes I like hip hop. Other times I might be sitting there writing beats and randomly think about approaching someone to see if they are interested in collaborating – that’s it, pretty much.”
In all, Steele is a true beat scientist, a man who is more about penning ideas, experimenting and creating fusions of the styles he appreciates. This means that his output can be arbitrary and haphazard – sometimes even he admits that he doesn’t know what to do with his material – but he is happy to keep pushing boundaries while building up an arsenal.
“I write music that is music,” he explains somewhat confusingly. “It’s not about what is current or whatever. I get excited about all of my projects regardless of whether I put it out. After all of it though, the music has to be timeless; it can’t follow a trend or a fad. None of that is important for me. When music becomes your life you have to think long term – I’m not into being a follower – I want to be a trendsetter and do cool things. When people follow you, that’s a good feeling.
“To be honest, I’m not even slightly interested in what’s popular, what’s commercial or what’s making money. I’m about the music and as long as it’s the music that’s concerned, the rest doesn’t matter.”
Which creates a natural segue then, into what he is up to in the studio right now. He describes how he is currently working on an EP with a five-piece band – a mob he claims that “do cool music with live elements.” Right up his alley, no doubt.
“They are doing some cool stuff, venturing into the realms of EDM. We’re looking at doing a four-track EP together. I’m also working with the Brown & Gammon guys on something; they were in the dubstep realm but what they’re really good at is writing this kind of ‘80s synthesised music. Now they don’t want to do dubstep and don’t bother – they’ve got this disco pop sound which doesn’t even need to have those elements or crossover into the dub realm; it’s awesome in its own right and that’s what appeals to me about sound – the capacity to do different things, forward thinking things.”
Finally, he adds a few words about his upcoming tour – and his first visit to our great land. “I’ve never actually been to Australia so I’m really excited about it. My gigs work around a DJ setup at the moment but I am working on a live project, hopefully for next year. Expect to hear loads of good music – it’s a constantly shifting thing for me. If someone sends me an awesome tune, I’ll play it that night. I’m about incorporating the latest thing I can into my sets and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate that than somewhere new.
“Australia at the happiest time of year – there’s a reason why I’m getting down there!”
Hear hear. Or should that be ho-ho?
Flux Pavillion plays Origin NYE on Tuesday, December 31, at Ozone Reserve.
Get your tickets here.