Standing on the second level balcony of the Hollywood Palladium, I had a birds-eye view of the jam-packed floor, with hundreds of fans spilling over into the concourse area, all headbanging and dancing to the beat of the music. Ahead of me, mesmerizing visuals were being displayed on a giant LED screen as lasers poured out into the crowd below. Standing in front of it was the man responsible for all of this. Donning aquamarine-blue hair and silver glitter that covered half of his face, Flux Pavilion showed no signs of stopping as he spinned throughout the night.
Just an hour prior, I was backstage candidly speaking with Joshua Steele, Flux Pavilion's real name. I make that distinction because, as you're about to read, Steele speaks about Flux as a third-person, a sort of alter-ego. Most artists that I interview tend to look at themselves as one and the same, but Steele makes a point to mark that differentiation.
Q: You recently played at EDC Las Vegas, how did that go?
A: It was my first time playing at BassPod, interestingly enough. It seems like I should have done the BassPod many times already. It is such a legendary thing, I was really excited about it and it couldn't have gone better.
Over the past few years I feel like I have reconnected with the more aggressive side of Flux Pavilion and I feel like it really fit well at the BassPod this year.
Q: Do you experiment with your sets when it comes to playing at festivals like EDC?
A: Not really. I feel like I experiment with all of my sets, essentially. I always do me and I don't really play a set to make people happy, unless Flux Pavilion makes them happy.
Q: You're about to take the stage here at the Hollywood Palladium, is there a difference for you between a venue and a festival?
A: Well, the size, that's a difference. There's a different energy and sometimes in a smaller venue, I'll veer off into a little of drum and bass for like 10-15 minutes. Other than that, I don't have a festival set, I don't have a crowd-pleaser set, I've just got my Flux Pavilion set. It is what it is.
Q: And what is your sound right now?
A: Interesting question, really. I feel like my own perception of what I do is British in its approach and musical. I feel like sometimes when there's the idea of chords in electronic music, it's these happy love songs and then when it's gonna be something hard, they'll just write a one-note banger. For me, I feel like my big break in the scene was doing something different, doing a mixture of the two like, “I Can't Stop” and “Gold Dust”. I feel like that was fresh at the time.
Q: Those two songs, in particular, put you on the map. Is there pressure to up the game whenever you do something new?
A: No. I put pressure on myself to side-step and not keep repeating myself. I feel like that is where you have the potential to up the game. If you try to better yourself, you kind of include the idea that you knew what you were doing in the first place, and really there's only a handful of people who can write a hit and know it will be a hit. But, for the rest of us, were just writing music that we dig and sometimes that connects with way more people. So I never try to up myself because that gives the impression that I knew what I was doing in the first place.
Q: What's next for Flux Pavilion?
A: I kind of asked myself a couple of years ago where I wanted to take Flux Pavilion. Do I want to keep on putting out singles, do I want to do records, what do I want to do? And the result of all that thinking was that I'm not done with what Flux Pavilion is.
From the start, Flux Pavilion was this organic thing that happened and I've spent the last five years thinking, “What am I doing? What is this? What have I created?”. I have finally started to hone in on that and understand my own music and my own writing and what I really want to achieve with electronic music. Now I feel like I want to tour, connect with my fans and create another record.
Flux Pavilion is currently in the middle of his “Around the World in 80 Raves” tour. For dates and tickets, go here.