When you’re busy creating music no one’s ever heard before, life can get a little hectic. Such is the life of Flux Pavilion (aka Joshua Steele) a dubstep DJ/producer who has played and worked with the best and brightest of the modern EDM (electronic dance music) scene. He’s crafted three massive EPs and is getting ready to debut his first full length album, “Tesla.” After scoring a hit in 2010 with “I Can’t Stop,” Steele continued to rise as the scene did, and now has found his way beyond the hottest clubs across the world to Buffalo, where he’ll be performing a set Sept. 28 in the Town Ballroom to preview his new album. We talked with Steele to ask about his influences of the past, the challenges of staying unique in a genre whose trends change seemingly every week, and the place of electronica in modern music.
Question: There are so many diverse guests on your new record. How did you go about choosing who you wanted?
Flux Pavilion: You always write as much music as you can. It comes to a point where I need to put what I have into an album. It’s the music that works, and these are the tracks that really fit into what I was trying to create. The weird jumble does express the diversity of writing.
Q. There’s a lot of classic funk and disco-influenced music from decades past. Was looking back a conscious part of creating the sound of the album?
A: In a way, I was listening to a lot of soul and classic music, but not because I wanted to be inspired by it. It’s because when I first started writing, I thought about the point of Flux Pavilion. Why am I doing this? It’s this gut feeling that I get when I’m working on a record and a track, and I’m like “This is good.” I wanted it to feel like a Flux record, but not necessarily sound like one, which led me to listen to music that made me feel like that. You can hear classic grooves in dubstep. It just felt great.
Q. With the EDM climate seemingly changing every month, how do you keep yourself both fresh and grounded to what you want to make at the same time?
A: On this record, I gave up trying to be fresh. It is a thing. You can get sucked into it and dedicate all of your existence to keeping up on what’s new. I feel like what’s new is something that people haven’t heard before. If I’m out there listening to what’s new, it’s not new anymore. I needed to separate from it and write music that made me feel good. That’s the only way I’m going to make something that feels new. I’ll enjoy the trends from afar.
Q. What inspires you music-wise currently? What are some surprising artists that most people probably wouldn’t know inspire you both past and present?
A: Stuff that feels sincere inspires me. The core of what makes a track good is when you can hear how much fun the person had writing it. That’s what resonates with me. Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, Frank Zappa, Slayer, Nirvana – all these groups have real feeling behind their songs. They wrote songs because they genuinely wanted to write them.
Q. When creating any electronic or dance track, do you always look for a melody first or a beat first, or do they interchange?
A: It’s all about catching a vibe. What I love about electronic music is the wealth of accessibility. You can go in so many different directions. The first half an hour to an hour of writing a track is the most important. You’ve got a buzz and a feeling, and you draw from so many places. It’s free experimentation, then you start working on melody. You’re creating a character.
Q. To those who don’t really get or understand electronic music and doubt its status among other types of music, what do you say as an artist?
A: That’s a thing I’m a massive advocate for; electronic music being viewed as real music. I’ve been asked many times when I’m going to start writing “real music.” I grew up playing in bands for years, then started writing hip-hop beats because I enjoyed it, and that turned into dubstep. I have experience in the realm of “real music.” What’s wonderful about electronic music is that you can create sounds that no one’s ever heard before. That’s quite a beautiful thing for a creative person. I think when you get used to enjoying music that sounds a certain way, you become cultured to think that that’s how music sounds. It was the same with jazz and rock ’n’ roll. The passion and the pride remain constant, and it’s what drives electronic musicians just like it did with Miles Davis. It sounds different, but if you try and understand it from a visceral sense, it all comes from the same place.
Who: Flux Pavilion with Wilkinson and Diskord
When: 8 p.m. Monday
Where: Town Ballroom, 681 Main St.
Tickets: $27 advance, $30 day of show