In late 2010, a British producer/musician Flux Pavilion released a song “I Can’t Stop” on his EP, Lines In Wax. Just under a year later, the instrumentation and sampling became the basis for a praised album cut (“Who Gon Stop Me”) on Jay-Z & Kanye West’s platinum album, Watch The Throne.
For the self-proclaimed bedroom producer, being recognized not only out of genre, but by superstars was a powerful thing. “I can’t really put my fingers on the feeling,” Flux told HipHopDX late last month in a bustling hotel lobby in Austin, Texas. “It’s such a weird thing, but I was also thinking how [Jay-Z and Kanye West are] major label superstars, like, absolutely magical. And I made this beat up in my bedroom, and I was like ‘Do they know?…do they know where I made this [“I can’t stop”] hook?’ Because to me it’s like – I’m really happy with it, it’s one of my favorite tunes I’ve written, but I never saw it as that good, you know what I mean?”
Throughout the last three years, Flux has released an EP, a compilation album with Doctor P and numerous singles. “I Can’t Stop” was not a personal highlight within his catalog, although it’s subsequently become a staple in his touring.
“I never made a hit record before, that’s why I never think that about any of my tracks,” Flux shyly admitted. “They weren’t made to be successful.”
Flux was also asked his thoughts on the final product by Jay and ‘Ye. “I like it actually, it’s completely different from mine. But I think that’s pretty cool,” said the 23 year-old. “I mean if they rapped over my version, it wouldn’t have been their track. It would have been the same rapping on my track, so I’m really happy that they put in scratch on the one I did, with the notes I’d written.” The track was produced by Rihanna hit-maker Sak Passe, along with additional work by legendary Rap-A-Lot Records producer/engineer Mike Dean and West.
In addition to Watch The Throne, Flux’s original composition was used in an Kony human rights campaign, providing additional profile and meaning to the 2010 song. “Again, it’s a strange thing. I had no idea, especially since they asked to use the track, so I didn’t even know much about [the Kony campaign], it went straight through the label, [Circus Music]. So we talked about it and yeah, it seemed like a cool thing to do. I had no idea the actual scale that it would have. It just seemed like a really cool idea, like something fun to do. There was no real intention of using it for global marketing. I didn’t really intend… I didn’t think it was going to make me big.” Although Flux Pavilion has since toured several continents and joined contemporary Skrillex as a face for modern Electronic Dance Music, he admits that it is not by design. “The motive was never to make myself a bigger artist or to earn more money, it was generally…art.”
Additional Reporting by Homer Johnsen
Photograph by Fiona Garden