Talking Tesla with Flux Pavilion 

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Electronic music artist Flux Pavilion brings his recently released debut album Tesla to the Old National Centre on Thursday, Oct. 1. We caught up with the English artist via phone before his stop in Indy.

NUVO: Tesla pushes the boundaries of your so-called sound to a whole new level. Is this Flux outside his comfort zone testing the proverbial electronic waters? 

Flux Pavilion: That’s interesting. I feel like Freeway EP was me stepping out of the Flux zone and I feel like this is me stepping back. It’s interesting that people see it as a departure but for me this is the process of connecting where Flux Pavilion is as much as I can. I’ve tried to think about what Flux Pavilion is and what it’s all about and what I’m about it, That’s why I do it. Then find that record translates that. Yes, it’s a departure in sound, but for me, it’s not a departure in feeling. It feels more like a Flux record than I’ve done in ages.

NUVO: I love the fact that you describe this album as Flux Pavilion, not a single sound, not a single genre, but just YOU.

Flux: That’s exactly where my head was at when I was writing. I really didn’t want to write a dubstep album even though I love writing dubstep. There’s so much there that I enjoy to do, but that wouldn’t be an album to me, that would just be a huge dubstep EP. So I wanted to write something and concentrate on the sound of Flux Pavilion. Like this is what I think it should sound like, how does Flux make me feel and try to emulate that 13 times in the studio.

NUVO: Is that a big portion of your writing process, not writing for a sound, just writing how you feel?

Flux: Yeah to some extent. Sometimes the idea is born from a sound but a lot of the time it’s important to get the vibe. I use the word feeling but it’s a vibe, a bounce, an energy, it’s when you hear that track — it’s that feeling that it gives you. That exists in the studio as well, that’s not created, if anything it’s captured. I feel that feeling in the studio and then I try and capture it as well as I can so that other people can feel that feeling. I think that’s the same for all good music. When you hear a great album it sounds great but what’s making you feel good is the fact that your actually listening to how good it felt to write the music and be in the studio. That’s what makes Motown great, all the music is great but it feels like you’re there and apart of it, which I think is really important to music.

NUVO: Tesla has been in heavy rotation since it came out, been playing it a lot in the office and a coworker barked at me for tapping my feet constantly. It doesn’t necessarily get me in the mood to dance, but in the mood to move, like something, just get up and move.

Flux: That’s it. That is what I was going for so it’s really nice to hear. Being creative is creating something from nothing. What I love about electronic music, and especially more dance electronic music is you’re creating physical movement from nothing. That’s why it’s something that really fascinates me and I get really into it. When you see someone drop a track and thousands of people start squirming, and jumping, and moving, it’s like physically creating energy in a space that wasn’t there before. Like music doesn’t actually exist, but it manifests itself physically in us and we’ll move to it and feel it. And that’s the fundamental basis of Flux Pavilion. That’s what I’ve always loved about DJ sets and performing is making people move and making people feel something that they weren’t feeling before.

NUVO: Seven years. For seven years you’ve been stimulating ears with quality tunes and then you drop this masterpiece. How does it make it you feel to see the positive feedback? 

Flux: Yeah it’s not what I do it for — to get the feedback on something that you’ve worked on for so long — like I worked on the record for 18 months. It makes it feel worthwhile, all the sleepless nights, it makes all that feel good and it makes me want to keep doing that and doing it more and more. That’s the main thing that it gives me, a sword, the power to keep going. If I start writing records so that I get a good reaction, that’s not what it’s all about for me. But to see that, thumbs up, everything is going good and keep cracking

NUVO: You stated in a previous interview that music isn’t meant to be secret, it’s meant to be heard. Is this belief a big reason why you’ve put the entire album stream on SoundCloud?

Flux: Yeah basically. I’m definitely not known for hiding my music. If someone wants to listen to it and they don’t have the money, they can torrent it. You’ve got my permission, maybe not the label, maybe the label will get angry, but for me, people having access to music is the beautiful thing that has given birth to this scene. That carrying on is quite important to me. Music isn’t there to be tied down in a box, so only specific people can listen to it. What’s the point in that? You want as many people to listen to it as possible and to enjoy it. So I make it as available as I possibly can within the constraints of the music industry.

NUVO: So after some VISA issues, Diskord joined the tour last night for their first U.S show. How would you describe them to the Indy crowd that might not have heard of them before?

Flux: It’s like good British trap. Trap was huge a few years ago but the history or trap is in American deep south. I never really liked it when anyone else outside of America made it, it didn’t feel right, it didn’t feel like it was coming from the right place. Then I heard Diskord, and it was like “wow” They have taken the sound and given it that British edge. It comes from a really British pace and that UK approach, which I had never heard done really well. When I heard those guys it was like what I was waiting for. So we signed them to my label and then brought them on tour.

NUVO: Back in June you mentioned that your favorite record from the album was “We Are Creators.” Have you changed your mind since then?

Flux: They’re kind of all my favorite. “We Are Creators” was the most fun to write just because I haven’t really written anything like that — that’s all. That really simple….groove. It’s not about synthesis, it’s not about a drum beat, it’s about all the sounds working together and creating a groove. Which is what I love about hip-hop, even though it’s not a hip-hop record, it has all the elements that I love about hip-hop where it’s just a groove that you can keep listening to over and over again like Jurassic 5. But also, I think my new favorite is “Emotional” with Matthew Koma because that one was a really beautiful song to write and Matthew Koma is fucking great. An absolute favorite to work with. That’s the one that’s really starting to work . It’s quickly becoming my new favorite but it’s like picking one of your favorite kids — isn’t it?

NUVO: Quickly going back to “We Are Creators.” I think that 3-word titled song really personifies not only this album, but your entire career. The emphasis on you creating music, not just playing it.

Flux: It’s something that I think about quite a lot. All of my friends as well. A lot of my friends are creative people and we were just talking about how it’s not about creating something that’s huge, not creating something that’s profitable, it’s not even about creating something that’s good — it’s about creating something. It doesn’t matter what, that’s where the fun comes and that’s what being creative is all about, just making something from nothing. It’s when you don’t tell yourself it has to be good, or has to be this, or has to that, that’s when I feel like it’s the most free and the most fun. And that’s what we were talking about in the studio and where the idea came from. We’re just creators creating stuff.

NUVO: This album is on-point, from the sound, to how it makes me feel, to the cover art. That’s a real tesla coil isn’t it?

Flux: Yeah we built that. The front cover is a photo and that’s what we wanted to do. Lets try and actually make some art and take a photo of it. It’s more fun then and you aren’t stressing about it. It’s taking a picture of something, you choose the best picture in that set. In Photoshop you stress, like I’ll move electricity there, change this, make this smaller, make this bigger. I just wanted to get it done, take a cool shot and put it out, so that’s what we did.

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Brian Weiss

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