It was around eight oâclock at in Baltimore, Maryland when the news came that the festival would be back on. As a storm demanded that attendees be , fans embraced the spontaneity the situation. Some chanted anthems like âSeven Nation Army,â and âKernkraft 400.â Some participated in a festival-wide performance the wave. Some even raced along the track the raceway, covered in mud.
As the festival started back up, brought the energy back to the Solar Dance Tent. And what a return that was. The legend treated the Mid-Atlantic audience to a spectrum all things Flux. A performance classics new and old, this experience with Flux Pavilion felt more like a journey than a DJ set.
We met with the man/myth/legend just 30 minutes after the end his set, where we talked about touring, , the state electronic music, and just about everything.
I think itâs fair to say youâve been a pretty busy guy over the past few years, how has the Tour been treating you so far?
Pretty good! I think today is show 63. We started in March, so weâve pretty much been touring for six months. Itâs going great, and there are no signs slowing down. Weâve got the rest the world to captivate, so weâre going full speed ahead. Iâd say itâs probably good to be around the world in 150 raves.
Might as well go for around the world in 800 Raves at this point, right?
You know, I was thinking about it, and I think Iâve done over a thousand shows now. Weâre either just closing in on it or around that number but yeah, itâs been quite a lot traveling around, playing the music, and expressing Flux Pavilion as a sound. ‘Around The World in 80 Raves’ is kind like a culmination that and making sure that we go everywhere and make this music heard.
There are quite a lot people and quite a lot communities that donât really get to hear the music. Everyone is touring America all the time, everyoneâs coming here, or everyoneâs going to Europe. Only a few people go through places like South Africa, or India, and weâve never been out there playing shows before. The energy is insane, the people love the music and connect with it on a level that I had never really expected.
India feels quite far removed from England, but the connection between the music and the people is something thatâs really beautiful. The tour is about that. Itâs about not shying away from it and giving me a perfect excuse to go everywhere. We get to experience everywhere and share the music in all the places that we possibly can and I think thatâs important.
Having seen so much, what do you think the next big thing in electronic music is?
I donât know, really. I kind donât care, as well, I guess. I do my own music, I do my own thing, and I like to watch and enjoy whatâs going on in the rest the scene. I never really let anybody weigh what I want to do.
Your style is your style, basically.
It feels really pointless, if I were to try to follow exactly whatâs going on. Thereâs no way I would be able to discover something new with my own music if Iâm constantly trying to find out what everyone else is doing. In terms what the next trend is going to be and whatâs going to be popping, I donât think that should be much interest for me.
As a fan the music, thatâs interesting for me, but as Flux Pavilion, I think itâs best to try to stay in my own world basically.
It seems like thereâs a lot people rushing to enter the industry. Do you think the electronic music stage is too crowded or is there space for young talent?
Thereâs always room for good music. I donât think it matters whether a scene is over-crowded or under-crowded, I think good music rules in my eyes. All it takes is someone to come out with some good songs and theyâre on top their game. Look at someone like DJ Snake: heâs been around for a while doing his thing, but he catapulted to the top. My personal belief is that this isnât because he played the game or knew the industry, but because he wrote some really great music. If you listen to the era what Snake has been writing, itâs started with some really amazing music, and now heâs there at the top. I really think thatâs how the game should be played, and thatâs how Iâve always tried to view it.
So the secret is the quality the music?
(Laughs) That shouldnât be a secret, writing good music should be the relative norm for what an artist should be doing, essentially. But yeah, the idea trying to get involved in a slice EDM is sort â¦ that scramble doesnât really get you anywhere, good music will. Keep it real, basically.
What would you say is the most pivotal point in your personal career?
Probably getting sampled by Jay-Z and Kanye West. That was pretty insane. Things were going really well anyway, âI Canât Stopâ was doing itâs thing. I think for me personally, it helped to solidify what I was doing. It made it feel like what I was doing was actually real. I was just a kid sitting in my bedroom in a university, writing some songs. Part the dubstep world is that thereâs always stuff going on, and youâre always looking at the stars, being like âoh, I need a record deal, a big studio, and all this marketing to be that big. But with none that at all, our music made it to their ears and they liked it and they used it. I didnât take any steps towards trying to make that happen. I wasnât marketing the f**k out myself, I wasnât on Instagram every single day, all I did was write some songs and put them out. So it kind gave me an affirmation that I didnât need to chase all the dreams that I was led to believe on how to become a star or an artist.
Itâs like, literally, you can have some thoughts and write them down and youâre an artist. You donât need anything else other than making stuff that you would like personally.
So youâve pretty much pioneered the sound that youâve built. Today if youâre starting f, there are a lot dubstep artists that you could listen to. With that being said, when you started f, who were you listening to and what inspired you?
What was happening in dubstep at the time was that and were the leading guys, really. In my music, I was trying to write but I didnât know how. I was inspired by their sounds, but no one was giving them to me. These days, you can get sample packs and be like âoh I want this soundâ and you can pretty much download someoneâs sound. When I started there wasnât really any that. If you wanted to sound like someone, youâd have to learn how they do it. With people like Rusko, such an original artist, thereâs no way to go âoh, if I press that button, Iâve made a great song.â Maybe with new tech that would be possible, but in the creative process trying to discover how to make dubstep that I really enjoyed listening to, I ended up discovering my own sound. I didnât know how to do anything else, I had to invent my own way. No one really liked it for many years, and after a while people were like âoh wow this is great.â Iâve been making it for years when people were like âthisâ¦ isnât good. This isnât really dubstep, we donât really understand it.â Weâd play shows and Iâd do my thing and it took a few years for it to connect. At that point, I was solidified with the sound I really enjoyed writing, so I stopped trying to sound like everyone else.
There was no instant moment when I had a song out and everyone was like âoh! Heâs invented something new!â Over a number years I kept doing it to a standard that became my sound. Now, when you look back at it, thereâs a moment when I started doing something new. At the time, it didnât go like that. There was no getting up in the morning thinking âIâm an innovator!â I donât think you can innovate, I think you can be yourself. I think everyone is capable doing something interesting for the world, but you have to let yourself be yourself to find that thing. To other people, thatâs innovation.
When youâre yourself, everybody else is like âhow are you doing that?â And youâre like, âI donât know, Iâm just being myself basically.â Because that, it seems like innovation, but I think itâs just being true to what you want to create.
If you could say something to your 10-years-ago self, what would it be?
Probably to trust myself with everything, really. With the creative process, itâs important to have people around you that you trust and can listen to, but I feel that part growing up is to trust your own thoughts. You know that moment when you realize your parents donât have the answers? Youâre like, âWait a second, I think my parents are wrong and I think Iâm right!?â That switch keeps happening to you as you grow up and I think that as an artist itâs the same.
You listen to everyone else and you think, “Oh, everyone surely knows better than me.â As you get older, you realize that youâre yourself and that you need to make decisions for what you want to do.
I donât think Iâd tell myself anything, really. I wouldnât have gotten here, and Iâm happy to be here, so Iâm pretty stoked, really.
On a more fun note, whatâs the craziest thing youâve seen in a crowd?
Lots quite intense stuff happens all the time, but Iâm so caught up in the moment that it doesnât seem strange. I remember there was a show when a guy in a wheelchair did a crowd-surf, which was pretty unique. At another show about two or three months later, three guys in wheelchairs went crowd surfing at the same time. I remember thinking, âthatâs three times as unique.â These things just sort happen and you think, âoh Iâve never seen that before.â
So you are paying attention to the crowd while youâre performing and in the zone?
I try to create a world where anything is possible, really. With my music, my set, and the whole world Flux Pavilion, itâs about losing touch reality and soaking up whatever the music is giving you. I get in a state like that myself when Iâm being Flux Pavilion. Whenever something odd happens, itâs like, âCool,â this is happening now. Nothing really strikes me as crazy because itâs all crazy and none itâs crazy at the same time.
What should we be expecting from your live show in London on October 13th?
Itâs actually the third one that weâve done. Iâve always wanted to see how I could creatively and musically expand on the Flux Pavilion live experience. As a DJ, you canât really improvise. You can in that you can say âIâll play this song and then this one,â but you canât creatively improvise within the songs. Iâve wanted to create a platform where I could mess around with all the parts inside the song and see if I could create or discover something new by performing it live, essentially. Itâs a matter trying to capture exactly what a Flux Pavilion set feels like, but with the capability being able to expand on it and f**k around with it.
How would you say that the crowds compare between US and UK shows?
Thereâs no PLUR in the UK. I donât think so, I havenât come across it. Thereâs the whole kandi rave culture over here, and I feel like thatâs something that happened in the nineties in the UK. As an artist from the UK touring over here, it feels like experiencing what the nineties mightâve been like in the UK, essentially. I think rave music has been happening over here, but itâs just recently blown up. I never got to experience it then, so Iâm enjoying it now.
You played at Moonrise Festival last year too, what made you decide to come back?
Itâs just a good festival. Iâve been doing shows with the guys who run it, Steez Promo, since what I think was the second festival Iâd ever played in America, and that was at Starscape festival. It was me, Excision, Datsik, Doctor P, Skrillex, Noisia, Borgore, and just about everybody at the same stage. I was playing my set and all those guys were behind me. It wasnât even the lineup: yeah we were all playing, but everyone there was hanging out and having a great time.
That mustâve been a few years ago now.
I think it was about seven years ago. This electronic music festivals] hadnât happened at that point. Thinking back to that day, Iâll remember that show, Baltimore, and Steez as a really pivotal moment in this. We started thinking this is happening now. It was the biggest show Iâd ever done in my life at that point. Steez, the people that run this Moonrise], are a part the framework how everything has worked out.
Final question: What should we be expecting from Circus Records in the near future?
A selection beauty. Weâve got a bunch people that weâve signed and we just had a release from , with more stuff coming from him. Craymack just put out a track called â,â which is one my favorite tracks at the moment. Thereâs so much great stuff happening. The idea Circus feels like it did when we first started: this exciting platform that weâve created where artists can feel free to express their own sound. When everything blew up, we didnât know where we fit in what was happening, but weâve laid it out. Weâve pretty much spent the past couple years figuring what Circus is all about. I feel like over the past six months itâs all clicked. We know what weâre doing, what we want to achieve, and where weâre going.
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