Ringmaster: 5 Steps With Flux Pavilion
Joshua Steele, known better to you and me as Flux Pavilion, bass DJ and co-founder of Circus Records has had a busy couple of years, being featured in the Radio 1 A list, cracking the mainstream chart with ‘Bass Cannon’ and being sampled by hip hop royalty being just some of the incredibly popular producers achievements.
After quitting social media last year as he had decided that such online interaction was taking away too much time from the projects he feels more passionate about such as music production it appears the time was well spent with Flux Pavilion going on to release his ‘Freeway’ EP to run alongside a monster US Freeway Tour complete with performances from labelmates Cookie Monsta, Datsik, and Funtcase. Featuring a series of heavyweight collaborations featuring artists such as Steve Aoki, Dillon Francis, Rosie Oddie and Turin Brakes the EP continued the Circus boss’ indomitable rise through electronic music and with a big 2014 planned for both him and his label we invited Josh to revisit 5 pivotal moments in his fledgling career.
Playing my first Gig
I remember it very well. I was the frontman of a band with Doctor P when I was 14. We played our first show at a venue called the Roadmender in Northampton and I was the most nervousIi have ever been in my life, for about 2 weeks! I’ll never forget the relief and buzz I got from performing in front of other humans beings; I just cant quite explain it. I think that was the day I realised I was serious about music and started building my life around it.
Starting Circus Records
I was still at University and had been working pretty much solidly on dubstep tracks. I had signed a few tracks and things were starting to pick up, promoters were contacting me occasionally and people were talking about my music that I had never met (which was pretty exciting). I had a weird thing where I would finish a track and then for me to feel like it was finished it had to be signed, so I would spend all my evenings talking to label heads and promoters and other DJ’s on AIM trying to get my music out there. Doctor P was working with a drum and bass label and hadn’t made any dubstep yet so I persuaded him to let me do a remix of his track ‘Streets of Rage’. It came out pretty well but Swan-E who ran the label Doctor P was signed to was a bit dubious about putting a dubstep record out on a D&B label. It was the only track that I had made that I hadn’t managed to get signed so I was pretty determined in my resolve and was pretty persistent in trying to make that happen. Swan then invited me round to his studio and I thought he was finally going to sign it. It turns out him and Doctor P had been talking about starting a new label for dubstep and wanted me to be involved. I was initially happy that the tune was going to get a release but then it dawned on me, If I was part of a label then I wouldn’t need to worry so much about getting my tracks signed and out there, I had a platform to release anything I wanted. This opened up everything for me and became the foundation for my whole creative process. My music didn’t have to tick any boxes, it just had to exist and I could reach the world with a sound that truly meant something to me.
Getting Sampled by Jay Z and Kanye West
It kind of goes without saying that being associated with those guys is a positive thing for a career in music. But the implications for me were something far greater than good promotion. My career had pretty much been built on my desktop PC in the corner of my old small student bedroom. Jay Z and Kanye West are world famous superstars. The idea that they had even heard a piece of my music let alone enjoyed it blew my mind, it shattered the preconception that the work I was doing was anything different from all of the big names in the industry. Having my music as a part of one of their projects made me realise that to have a career in music nothing matters more than the music itself. Which unfortunately is an easy thing to forget sometimes in a world where people get so caught up in perception, I had advanced my career by doing nothing more than writing a piece of music from my brain and my heart. It put everything into perspective for me.
Putting on a Show
I come from a more songwriting (guitar, singing, drums) kind of background and have never really considered myself as a DJ. I have always belonged in the studio and electronic music has taken what I knew about songwriting to another level, but in terms of performance it took a long time to realise what being a DJ is all about. It’s a way of presenting music in a way that surpasses the private listening experience. Playing and manipulating songs in a way that can capture the moment the piece of music was intended to capture. Playing in clubs and festivals is amazing in its own way but it wasn’t until I started touring off my own name that I realised that being in control of a stage has far greater affect on my creative vision than I ever could of imagined. I think about music quite visually and to be in a position to start building that vision is an amazing thing. Its something that I think I’m always going to be working on but in terms of solidifying what Flux Pavilion is all about, putting on a show has changed everything.