British music producer and DJ Joshua Steele, or Flux Pavilion as he is better known as, has had a smooth run in the bass-filled world of dubstep in a short time. With hits like I Can’t Stop and Bass Cannon, Steele has woven in power-packed melodies in electronic music. Brought to India by Oji, Steele will perform in Delhi on January 11 and in Mumbai on January 12. In an e-mail interview, he tells Amrita Madhukalya how twisting his arm in a wrestling match made for a fun experience, and that volcanoes and spaceships are muses for his music. Edited excerpts.
You don’t take too kindly to moshing at a dubstep concert. Isn’t that ambitious?
As soon as dubstep became popular in the US, all of a sudden a lot of guys started taking their tops off, going crazy and getting really drunk at shows. And that became like a cool fad. These guys irritated many fans because they ruined the show for others with their moshing and all that. I’m not a big fan of people who do that.
What is your most fun (or, quirkiest) experience at a concert?
Well, on the Freeway US tour recently I broke my arm! I was arm wrestling with someone and I broke my arm.That happened two weeks into the tour. So I had to play for six weeks with one arm. It has its funny moments.
Even within electronic dance music (EDM) circles, you have a distinct sound that is easy on bass, yet big on energy. How do you explain your music?
I guess the sound is quite epic. I think of a moving image working with music, and the music being emotional and energetic. So think of volcanoes and spaceships, the kind of stuff I imagine when I write music. Quite cinematic.
What are your influences?
Growing up, I had many influences from listening to my parents’ record collection. Bands like The Clash. But, I was inspired and influenced greatly by Frank Zappa. Especially his approach to music. He just didn’t care what anyone or the world thought of him or his music. He wrote what he wanted to. I want to be like that. I like to listen to a lot of ambient music. Bands like Sigur Rós. I like them a lot.
You used to have a band and now you play EDM. Tell us a bit about both.
I’ve always played or sung in bands. I taught myself to play different instruments like the keyboard, the drums and the saxophone.When I was in college studying music technology, I got into dubstep and starting fiddling around with software on the computer. I then started writing music using drums, bass and synths on the computer and mixing it with my guitar. That was closer to dance music. My friend, Doctor P (Shaun Brockhurst) and I started our own label where we could do our own thing — our take on the sound. My tracks started playing on the radio and one of them became a hit.
Do you know anything about India’s EDM circuit? If yes, your take?
I’ve never been to India but, I’m aware of the differences in music culture — Bollywood is much bigger in India than in the rest of the world. It will be interesting seeing how my music, which comes from a Western perspective, will be received by people in India. I’m not very clued into the Indian music scene. So performing in India is probably the best way to find out!
What is in store for the future?
I am in the process of writing tracks now. I feel what I’ve gone through in the past 2-3 years has really helped me learn how much I love to write and what I’m all about. I’ve always wanted to write an album but I never had an idea, concept or platform to build on. I feel that I’m there now. In the next few months, I will hopefully finish the album with no collaborations. You know, just 100% Flux Pavilion.
DJ Joshua Steele
Bass Cannon: This 2011 single made Flux Pavilion a known name in the EDM circuit. It peaked at #56 on the UK Singles Chart, and featured on the Radio 1 A-List
I Can’t Stop: This hit number from the 2010 EP Lines in Wax featured in the KONY 2012 campaign, the video game SSX and in the OST of The Great Gatsby. It was also used by Kanye West and Jay Z for their song Who Gon Stop Me from the hip-hop album Watch The Throne