[Q&A] Flux Pavilion Prepares To Magnetize

Posted: May 28th, 2015

The wait is almost over as Flux Pavilion touches down in Los Angeles, ready to crush the dancefloor at tonight’s Bassrush Massive takeover of the Exchange.

In the midst of a massive world tour ahead of his highly anticipated and super-secret album project due out later this year, Flux gives Bassrush an exclusive first glimpse at the working title of the project and the kind of genre-bending madness that we can expect when it all unfolds.

The first single, “International Anthem” featuring London MC Doctor, is already dropping jaws across the board and has us amped for yet another legendary Bassrush experience about to unfold. So sit tight as Flux sounds off on everything from punk rock to drum & bass ahead of tonight’s show.


Take us back to when you were young—what kind of music were you listening to back then and how do you see that as influencing as who you’d eventually become?

When I was around 12 years old I remember getting a Fatboy Slim record for my birthday as this video game I used to play called Rollcage featured his music as the soundtrack. I remember hearing it and thinking how different it was from anything I’d heard up to that point until a friend who had the exact same Fatboy Slim album turned me on to The Prodigy’s Fat of the Land LP. It had the vibes of Fatboy Slim but it was a lot more electronic and a lot more aggressive and from there I discovered drum & bass and eventually dubstep and here I am.


You spoke earlier of feeling as if you didn’t quite fit in when you were younger. Did your discovery of electronic music help in that regard?

I guess so. Music is quite a big part of identity even now; what you’re into reflects how you carry yourself, your worldview, who you vote for, that kind of shit. Growing up I was never into pop music but everyone around me was so I would always sit there kind of pretending to like it but I didn’t feel like it was for me, I just pretended to like it.

Then when I heard The Prodigy, it was like, “Oh shit, this is something else, and this is what I want to listen to!” I felt like I’d found my feet and when you find that kind of thing you set yourself up on a path and discover loads of other shit that you like.


You recently posted a pic of you and Liam Howlett on your Instagram and wrote about the way that The Prodigy not only changed your life but taught you “to be an individual and be fucking proud of it.” How do you see that sentiment carrying over into your own evolution as an artist?

With The Prodigy it wasn’t just music, it was an attitude. I didn’t really understand punk when I was younger but now I get it and part of it was this feeling that it wasn’t just you being a naughty kid at school but you were part of a crowd of people who just didn’t give a fuck.

This sense of not caring or not liking what others like, it’s almost as if you can’t express that. If something’s on TV you don’t care about like the X Factor that everyone else is into, you’re almost made to feel weird that you’re not into it. But then when you’re around other people, a whole generation of people, that also think it’s shit then that’s what I feel like dubstep and bass music are all about, too. Especially when dubstep first started, music that was popular felt safe. But then dubstep was like, this is something just for us. This isn’t about making money, this isn’t about having lots of fans or being famous or being a celebrity—it was about this feeling of just doing what we wanted to. So for me, there was punk, there was Prodigy, and then there was dubstep. It’s all one and the same—all one attitude: we’re not like you; we’re doing our own thing.


You mentioned drum & bass as an early influence—was this related to its infamous anti-club vibe?

It wasn’t that conscious. It’s just the club thing never felt right to me. I used to go out and pretend, put on smart shoes and a smart shirt, go out and listen to all the club stuff and be there with all my friends while everyone my age was really getting into it, but the whole time I was thinking, “This isn’t as exciting as when I go to see The Prodigy; surely this can’t be it,” and that’s how I discovered drum & bass.

In the UK, drum & bass existed as sort of an alternative side of the club scene because you still went to the clubs but all of the stuff that seemed to matter in the dance music world didn’t really matter there; it became more about the music, more about what the DJ was doing rather than turning up and taking a selfie. You would go to see the music and that was the most important thing.


How did this progress into dubstep for you?

A friend of mine gave me an Andy C mixtape—I can’t remember what rave it was but it was from 2001 or something like that—and it had Pendulum, Fresh, and all that Breakbeat Kaos stuff on it. It was if I had discovered a kind of music that I had wanted to exist but never knew that it did. That’s when I bought my first decks, started buying vinyl, and discovered people like Noisia and the guys from America like Evol Intent and Ewun.

I started getting well into drum & bass and had always tried to write it, but for me it was too fast. I couldn’t quite capture the energy. The things I had been trying to produce always felt like slow drum & bass. Then when I heard Rusko play I was like, “Well, that’s what this is. This is what I’m going to do.”


This latest single, “International Anthem” with MC Doctor, has a strong dub, reggae, and even jungle/drum & bass vibe to it. With so much concern about genres these days, how do you feel about genre classifications?

As soon as a genre becomes popular there becomes a specified idea of what that piece of music should be. I spiritually just don’t agree with that. How can you define something before it even exists? If you’re telling yourself you’re a deep house artist then you’re already giving yourself a strict creative boundary to work within. What if you want to write a blues track or you wake up in the morning and really want to write some country? You’re not letting yourself do that because you’ve already told yourself what you should and shouldn’t be.

My name’s Josh, right? Say you know another dude named Josh who’s a dick and you instantly think I’m a dick because I’m called Josh? That’s not fair, is it? But we do it with music all the time: “I heard a drum & bass track and didn’t like it so I don’t like any of it.” There’s such a wide range of music in each genre that using these words as damning evidence goes against what the art is all about.


A lot of the online comments about “International Anthem” were about you “finally returning to you roots” What do you make of that?

For me they are the best comments With the new album, I basically tried to define what Flux Pavilion is. I wrote some tunes, they got some traction, and I started to touring and it happened so fast thing that I didn’t even know what Flux Pavilion was or where it was going. I’ve finally reached a point where I’m able to reflect and define what I want Flux Pavilion to be about. That’s what the record stands for—taking a step back, what with all the genre wars and all this speculation about sounds. There’s no use trying to keep up with social media, trying to be the first guy to. That’s not me, that’s not who I am. I’m all about writing tunes and that’s what this record is.


Do you have a working title for the album?

At this point I’m calling it Tesla. Nikola Tesla is a badass so that’s part of it, but also because a tesla is a symbol that measures the force of a magnetic field or what’s called a “magnetic flux density.”


At this point in your career are you thinking about your legacy?

I think when I was 12 years old I was thinking about my legacy. I mean, that’s always been a thing for me. It goes back to just being alive doesn’t it? How do we live forever? How can we live a meaningful life and leave something behind worth remembering?


We’ve got the album due in September, but first up is “Who Wants to Rock?” with Riff Raff. Since there’s no audio up, describe it for us!

Yes, that’s coming up next. The track is… um, it’s hard to describe. It’s 100 bpm, a tempo I haven’t worked at yet; it grooves, it’s got some energy to it, but I can’t really describe it. It’s not really like any genre; I’m not sure what it is actually but I like it.


We’re excited to have you touching down in Los Angeles tonight. What should we expect?

I’m looking forward to playing new tunes from the album, so be prepared to hear loads of tracks you won’t recognize.


By Chris Muniz

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[Q&A] Modestep On Copycat Tatts & Breast Milk Cakes

Posted: May 27th, 2015

Josh and Tony Friend—the duo fronting dubstep-rock hybrid EDM act MODESTEP—may take on an imposing presence at their shows with ghoulish masks and angry lyrics, but the brothers are nothing but self-effacing British charm offstage. I met with them in Los Angeles to discuss their new album, their aspirations of being in GTA, people that get copycat tattoos, and fan-made breast milk cake.


You’ve created a cinematic trailer of sorts to give fans a taste of what’s to come on London Road. Where did that idea come from?

Josh: There’s a rapper called Danny Seth. He’s from London, and he did an artistic piece that didn’t really mean anything or go anywhere, but we watched it and were taken aback by its cinematic levels. It just took you on this journey, and we just felt like that would be a really good way to describe our record—to put together a cinematic piece to visually convey what we see and have seen growing up, to paint a little picture.

Tony: It’s always a bit cooler to do something than the obvious, “here’s your mixes of the record” and blah blah blah. It was a nice project to do something from our eyes, being from London, and just show you what the record’s about, through what we see every day and how that gave us inspiration. Luckily enough, one of our friends—Liam Underwood, who’s a genius videographer—flew out from Australia to work with us on it. We had him living with us for three weeks, and we tried to cram as much as we could into those weeks, and Liam’s magical editing skills brought it all together.


With London playing a huge role in your music, did the results of the recent UK election have any impact on you?

T: I’m so anti-government in general.

J: (Laughing) Fuck the system.

T: I hate to be that guy, but I just feel like it doesn’t matter whom you vote for anymore. It’s basically choosing the better of two evils. I think, give it five years, and the whole system’s gonna be scrapped and changed.


You’ve been with the new members of the band—guitarist Kyle Deek and drummer Pat Lundy—for a decent amount of time now. Have any nicknames or inside jokes taken root yet?

T: So many.

J: It’s funny, because it feels like these guys were actually the original members. In a way, the old members were sort of session guys that would come in, play live and go home, and we wouldn’t see them until we next played live; whereas these new guys are like brothers, really.

T: We live with them. All our social time is spent together, and they’re definitely part of the family. Poor Pat, our new drummer, he gets the brunt of the terrorizing from us. He came from an emo band called Funeral for a Friend, so we always take the piss out of him. If we’re walking past a shop that sells creepers and leather jackets with Metallica on the back and shit, we’ll be like, “Oh, they’ve got all your stuff in there!”

J: He never really did wear those things, but it’s fun to just take the piss.

T: Also, he’s a British guy from London, but he moved to Wales since his last band was from Wales, so I call him Welsh all the time because I know it really, really infuriates him. Our guitarist Ky, though, he’s the most chilled-out guy in the world.

J: I’ve tried to get some kind of response from him, but…


Well, when it finally happens, it will be that much more satisfying.

T: It’s just part of the British mentality, I think. If you’re really good mates with someone and you give a shit about them, then you try and make them cry.

J: I don’t know why that’s such an important thing, but everyone on our team, from tour managers to sound engineers, to the back line—our job is to try and break them, but in a really matey kinda way.

T: When we toured America and had an American bus driver, we treated him the same kind of way, and he nearly cried. He was like, “I’m leaving. I can’t handle this,” and we were like “Dude? We were only joking. We only did it because we love you.”


We hurt the ones we love the most. Speaking of things that hurt, you’re both clearly very tattooed individuals. How do you feel about the recent Apple Watch news that they don’t work on tattooed wrists? Will this affect your decision to buy one?

T: To be honest, I’ve heard people saying they run out of juice in the middle of the day anyway, and you need to charge them so fucking often, that the ink thing doesn’t even matter.

J: Anything you need to take off to charge every single fucking day? Nah. Just wait for the next version.


What have been some of your best and worst green room experiences?

J: I’m trying to think of one that doesn’t make us sound like assholes. Best one, though: When we last played L.A. at Club Nokia, we did the show and were a bit disheartened because the turnout wasn’t so good—and it wasn’t the best show ever. But then, after the show, Public Enemy walked in. There was an award ceremony next door.

T: They’d just been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and were like, “Oh, we were just passing by and saw your show, and it’s one of the best fucking things we’ve ever seen.” Then they came to the back room, and we were drinking and smoking.

J: And he and I are just looking at each other the whole time like, “What the fuck is happening?!”

T: Also, this is probably one of the highlights of my career so far: We played Rock Am Ring, and it was a fucking WICKED show, and I turn and see this guy at the side of the stage, really long hair, just head-banging away. And then I realize, holy fuck, that’s Jonathan Davis from Korn. So now I’m just freaking out, thinking: Don’t fuck up, don’t fuck up. At the end of the show, he came up and hung with us, and then we got to stand at the side of the stage while they did their set.


How about any strange fan experiences?

J: Well, I don’t want to insult the fans. I know they have strong feelings.

T: I think Josh got a breast milk cake once, though.

J: One of our fans was like, “I made you this cake. I made it myself just for you,” and I’m thinking this tastes really sour. Tangy. Is this… human cake?

T: Yeah, if not breast milk, there was likely her hair in there somewhere.


What do you do between cities? What keeps you occupied?

J: Lots of computer games.

T: We’re MASSIVELY into games. Gaming is probably the biggest thing we’re into, apart from music. We actually just shot a video with a guy called Tom Syndicate. He’s a big YouTuber. We play a lot of online games with some of these people in the gaming community. Actually hanging out with some of them tonight.


What are some of your top games?

T: Minecraft is a massive thing for us. Apart from that, we play a lot of Call of Duty: Zombies. FIFA, however, is the biggest one while we’re on tour.

J: NBA for me. I’m the only one that plays it, which sucks, since I end up so much better than everyone else.

T: And you’re English, too, which makes it strange.

J: Yeah, I’ve always been into basketball and not football, for some reason.


Games seem to have played a part in your come-up, too. Wasn’t one of your songs used in Mirror’s Edge?

J: What’s funny about that is it wasn’t official!

T: What happened was, someone uploaded one of our songs [on YouTube] with a Mirror’s Edge picture, and that was the only one that stuck and got all the views.

J: That song has an Enya sample in it, and her people threatened legal action, so we had to take it down; but this one somehow remained up and has been making people think we were in the game.


Well, Mirror’s Edge 2 is in development. Maybe they’ll call you up to have you in that soundtrack.

T: They should do that! Luckily enough, we were asked to go down to Rockstar a few weeks ago in London and play GTA Online on their servers, and I tried to subtly drop hints that we’d be very interested in providing some radio station tunes for the next one. So, we’ll cross fingers for that one.

J: How could I forget about GTA. Obviously my number-one game. I played it when it first came out, completed it. Played it again when it went next-gen, completed it. Now I’m completing it AGAIN on PC. And I’m not bored of it. I don’t know how.

Besides games, do you have any frivolous things on which you spend your riches?

T: For me, my “bad” things are sneakers. I’m just fucking obsessed. I’m gonna be honest with you. Yeah, I spend ALL my money on trainers, pretty much. We have this big event in London called Crepe City where, once a year, all of the big, independent sneaker-heads come together in one place, and it’s just a huge fucking market of exclusive trainers. And I’ve heard Flight Club in L.A. is pretty good, so we’re gonna head there right after this interview. The good thing about L.A. is you can actually wear nice trainers because the weather’s good. Every time I put on a pair in London, I go, “Fuck! This might be the last time I ever wear them.” But I have about 50 or 60 boxes of unopened ones in my room that just never get opened since I’m never there.

J: Tech for me. I’m a gadget guy. Still holding off on that Apple watch, though. I’ve been debating. It’s not YET worth me spending the money on it, and if I’m gonna buy one, I’m gonna buy one of the good ones. I mean, why doesn’t it have a camera yet!? I want that Dick Tracy watch.


You’ve spoken before about trying to convince your manager to get the “MODESTEP face” tattoo. Did you ever convince him?

J: Our first manager, yeah.

T: Yeah, but not the new one yet. We need to get these fuckers to get them while we’re out here. Actually, when our last manager got his done, some really weird guy, who wasn’t even on our management team, decided to get one too.

J: He thought he was our manager for some reason.

T: Yeah, he went around telling everyone he was. We’d only met him that day, though.

J: He was set up by our UK manager, sort of meant to be our temporary American manager for that trip, and it’s the first time we’d ever met him, and we’re going with our UK manager to get him his tattoo, and then the next day this other guy rolls up like, “Hey! I got it, too!”

T: It’s like, way to fucking poop on his parade, guy. Three years this guy’s been managing us, and you’re just going to come in like, “I got one as well!”

J: I wonder if he regrets that tattoo now. I think it was his first tattoo, as well. Alarm bells going off for sure.

T: The shop was here in L.A., though. I actually used to live here for about six months and work at a tattoo shop during that time.


What were your favorite foods while here?

T: I’m a vegetarian and EXTREMELY fussy eater. I only eat about three things. I’m a baby about food. I won’t try anything that looks slightly adventurous. I won’t eat any meat or anything that even looks like it’s ever been alive. I pretty much just eat chips [French fries], baked beans and… fruit. I’m not too keen on veg.

J: This is the opposite of how he used to be. He used to constantly eat chicken. It’s all he’d eat.

T: I got squeamish, man. Got put off. I can’t sit with someone while they eat a rare steak because I feel like I’ll actually be sick. I’m just a pussy, to be honest.

J: I used to eat anything and now…

Are you a vegetarian, as well?

J: Nah. I probably will end up being a vegan. I can see it happening someday, but I’ll probably need to put on a bit of weight before I do so I don’t die.

Have you been adventurous and tried any new, strange foods while touring?

J: We did this six-week tour of the States, and we pretty much only had a choice on the bus of stopping at Wendy’s or McDonald’s.

T: It was horrendous. We went days without eating because it’s like, “I can’t eat another burger. I just can’t do it. I just want some fucking fruit and a salad!”

J: It’s really difficult to eat in America. In the UK, every corner has fresh produce and food. I feel like even the bread here’s different. There’s sugar in your bread! If we ever do another tour, I think we’re going to have to make and pack food to bring with us.

T: I guess it’s just a different palate, isn’t it. In the UK we want a more natural taste, and over here it’s just like “SUGAR! SUGAR! SUGAR!”


What was the basis of the new creative direction this album is taking?

J: We were at a point in our career where we weren’t really happy with the music we were making, so we made a conscious decision to only make music we truly love—to put 110 percent into our craft, and for the music to not be an afterthought. I know in EDM it’s usually the other way around: marketing and social media above everything else. For us, we just want a good product. A real album you can listen to from start to finish. We just wanted a sound that’s ours, and as long as we had that, we were happy. We had no plans as to where it might go, and to be honest, it’s probably hit our careers for the worse. We could’ve easily done the simple EDM thing, but we’d toured long and hard enough to know it’s just not satisfying.

T: At the end of the day, it’s us that has to go and play that fucking shit every night, and if we’re not happy with it, then… I’d rather play to a room of 200 people that fucking GOT it and loved it than 10,000 people that are there because they saw you on YouTube. I don’t want to end up like 99 percent of EDM people.

J: We’d ideally like to do something that stands the test of time and isn’t just a flash in the pan, and not make songs that six months later, nobody will even think about listening to. We worked SO hard on this music. Genuinely, I was in one room of my house where we recorded the record for a year and a half, and I didn’t want to leave. It got to the point where he was getting food for me. I was there every day, 15–16 hours a day.

T: It needed to be done. That’s the way it should be.

J: EDM should be making people interested in the music instead of the product and person.


Are there any people you’d love to collaborate with?

T: There are loads, but they’re dreams. Muse would be number one.

J: People like Prodigy.

T: Lionel Richie.

J: Tony’s like the number-one Lionel Richie fan.

T: I don’t even care anymore. Print it. It’s out there. I’m a huge Lionel fan. I went to go see him in London recently. I must’ve been the youngest person there by about 30 years, but I had the time of my fucking life. Fuck the haters.


By Justin Caffier


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Detail Releases On Nemesis

Posted: May 27th, 2015

DJ Silver—one-third of North Base—celebrates the 10-year anniversary of Nemesis Recordings, his personal imprint focused on releasing cutting-edge drum & bass. With a back catalog of quality productions by way of DJ Origin, Prestige and Rawtee, the label has earned notoriety for techy, futuristic rollers. Silver’s most recent discovery, Daniil Marin (aka Detail), comes from the Ukraine.    

The single showcases two creative offerings. “Voco” emerges from the darkness with its drones, eerie howls, and a bright, rolling drum break. “The Way” has a tribal feel, staccato stabs of bass, and trademark sharp drum work. Without a doubt, paying attention to the fine points is this producer’s domain. Pre-order the single now in advance of its May 29 release, ans enjoy the stream of “Voco” below.


By Amanda Ross

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Mefjus & Rido On Blackout

Posted: May 26th, 2015

When Mefjus and Rido collab in the studio, the results are not for the faint of heart. Forthcoming on Black Sun Empire’s Blackout imprint, the Optimum Trajectory EP resurrects the archetypal neurofunk vibes of yesteryear and evokes stimulating, hypnotic drum & bass.

Four-tracks contain futuristic and choppy drum breaks, relentless bass, and surgical edits. “Magnetism” is a total mindbender, with post-apocalyptic vibes and tremendous bass weight. “Causation” is another techy number, possessing the power to insight riots with its surreal atmospheres and knockout bass structures. “Correlation” gets rowdy with sci-fi elements like funky drum fills and gnarly, bass-face-worthy stabs. Rounding out the epic EP, title track scorches the dancefloor with bass depth and the perfect drum kit. Optimize your playlist and download the entire EP, due June 7 direct from Beatport. We’ve also got a teaser of the EP below.


By Amanda Ross

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BMotion Returns To Viper

Posted: May 25th, 2015

The current golden child for drum & bass imprint Viper Recordings, 22-year-old Welsh phenomenon BMotion, goes big for his second single on the label. Since its premiere on DJ Friction’s Radio 1 show, “Bear Hug” relinquishes any possibility for survival after this dancefloor track is delivered to the masses. Contrasting quite nicely, “Vice City” conjures up ‘80s Miami vibes with an inspired melodic intro and a colorful, heavily-tuned bassline. DJs are also treated to an edited version of his breakout single “Something Something.” Get ready for the release coming straight from Viper May 31 on iTunes, and listen to the radio premiere below.


By Amanda Ross

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