Westcott Theater hosts two-day Flux Pavilion residency

Q&A: Flux Pavilion, who completed his first ever two-day residency on Oct. 3, sat down with The NewsHouse to talk about how he got where is and where he's going from here.

It was a Circus Records love affair on Thursday evening as Flux Pavilion finished his two-day residency at the Westcott Theater. Accompanied by Cookie Monsta and Brown and Gammon, Flux energized the sold-out venue with his signature agro-bass sound, incorporating elements of drum and bass, trap and house in the process.

Photo: Tom Charles
Audience members at the Westcott Theater party to the sounds of Flux Pavilion.

Throughout the night, all three DJs heavily sampled their Circus Records labelmates, paying particular attention to FuntCase and Doctor P (“Out for Da Milli,” “Flying Spaghetti Monster,” “The Pit,” “Champagne Bop”). Flux wasted no time playing his hits, kicking off his set by singing “The Scientist” before segueing into his 2011 breakout hit “Bass Cannon.”

Other big pops came for a bass-centric remix of The Champs’ “Tequila,” Yellow Claw & Yung Felix’s remix of Flux’s Major Lazer collaboration “Jah No Partial” and his grand finale sing-along remix of DJ Fresh’s “Gold Dust.”

The NewsHouse caught up with all three performers before the show to discuss their musical evolution and the roll of outside influences on their songwriting.

The NewsHouse: You recently said you want to change directions musically away from dubstep. Avicii’s been popularizing folktronica and Skream abandoned dubstep to pursue funk and disco. Did seeing your peers make these sorts of shifts influence your decision?
Flux Pavilion: Nah, I’ve never really been concerned with what other people do or think. Most of the time I don’t really listen to anyone. I’ll just end up hanging out with someone and listening to all their music then rather than checking out everyone’s new releases and seeing what they’ve been doing.
Cookie Monsta: Rather than seeing it as competition. Because when you see it as competition, it’s not really writing music because you want to write music anymore.
FP: You kind of get a bit wrapped up in the idea of, “Oh, he’s done this, and that was really successful. So if I do a bit of that and a bit of this, it’ll be really good.” But that’s not how we got here in the first place.

NH: That reminds me of your comments on social media and how you said you want to step away from it all.
FP: It’s just generally taking it a step back into the studio and away from what I think the world thinks of me. When I had no fans on Facebook, I was writing some of the biggest tracks that I’ve written, and that was when social media didn’t really exist for me as an artist. Now that it does, it’s kind of like I should keep in the mentality that social media doesn’t actually mean anything in terms of the music that I should be writing, but more in the sense of being able to connect with people. That’s what’s awesome about it. I didn’t want to turn my back on it completely because having a connection with the people that actually listen to your music is probably the most special thing that you can have. But reading the comments you see people like, “Oh, make more stuff like this!” After reading that 20 times, you can’t help but have it there in your brain. So I wanted to cut all that out and just listen to my own brain rather than a million other people’s brains.

NH: It sounds like a matter of looking for a balance between giving your fans what they want and still being able to do what you want.
FP: I kind of imagine the idea that my fans are fans of my music because it’s music that I’ve written, and if I write more then they’ll like it.
CM: Rather than judging you as a whole as a producer for one track you’ve made two or three years ago.
FP: As long as I’ve written the music that I want to write. If I’ve written a song that I really enjoyed and there’s a group of people that don’t like it, I’m not then going to write something new trying to get them back on my side, because I’ve moved forward and moved on to a different direction. As long as I’m making the music that I want to write and that keeps me happy, then hopefully my fans will be with me. And if they’re not, I’d rather be happy writing music just kind of on my own, really. As long as my mom likes it then I guess I’m great.

NH: You sang on the title track of your new EP. Is that something you’re comfortable doing?
FP: When I started writing music, I was just playing guitar and singing at open mic nights and stuff like that. I just got into electronic music to help develop that. So if I wanted some organ on one of my songs, I could just record my guitar and my voice and then program an organ in, essentially. And then that turned into programming in drums, and then I stopped picking up the guitar and would just sing over electronic music, and then I wouldn’t sing at all, and then dubstep kind of happened and I started writing all of those tracks. It was actually 2010 when I sang on my first track. I put out a double A-side vinyl on Circus called "Voscillate" / "Night Goes On". That’s me singing on that, but it’s quite bad. I can’t remember the last time I listened to that.

NH: It’s cool that it evolved naturally like that. I didn't know you used to play guitar.
FP: My musical awakening was playing guitar. I played drums in a band for about four years with [Circus Records co-founder] Doctor P. That’s kind of how we both started. I’d go around his house for band practice and he’d be making drum and bass. I’d sit and watch him and ended up learning that way. How did you start, Will? I’m interested.
Brown & Gammon: I was dicking around with the computer and started making country jungle and shouting -– you know, singing and shouting. I did that for years. Tried to sell CDs to people at school.
FP: Was there some sort of fantastic outfit involved as well?
BG: No, but there should have been. It was DJ Brown and MC Gammon.

NH: Was he like a hype man?
BG: He was my mate who’s just an idiot, really. We’d have a lot of fun at home as kids.
CM: That’s what music is about, yea?
FP: Yea, exactly. I think it’s safe to say none of us started with serious intentions of changing the world.

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