Q&A: Flight Facilities discuss international audiences, their rise to fame

Penn Harrison

After their breakout 2010 hit “Crave You,” Sydney-based duo Flight Facilities quickly rose to prominence as one of Australia’s most popular electronic dance acts. The Daily Texan spoke with Jimmy Lyell and Hugo Gruzman before their performance this weekend at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

The Daily Texan: Do you like American audiences better than audiences in Australia and elsewhere in the world?

Jimmy Lyell: [With] European crowds, you have to work to get them involved, and if you work too hard, they’ll lose interest. Playing in America, the crowd is more likely to be excited and interact — which is really fun. The only time someone’s not fun to play for is when they don’t know what they’re watching. If you’re not the biggest band at a festival, and people are kind of just walking past … it’s hard to get people into it, because they’re not here to see you specifically. I feel like ACL might be a bit of that, but it’s always great to have new people to play music for.

DT: How did your breakout hit “Crave You” become so popular? 

JL: That was our first track that we ever put out. It was a surprise for sure. We were just doing remixes, then we thought, why don’t we write our own song? We did all the work and put it out, and our friend at the time, who were in a really popular band called Aeroplane, really championed it for us [and] put it in a mixtape. It just kind of snowballed from there … It was really interesting to watch, but we had no idea what was going on at the time, because we weren’t ready for it. We didn’t have any more songs backed up at the time … it was really funny. It took us like a year to bring out the next single, so we were really lucky we didn’t fall off the wagon completely after that. We had no plan whatsoever, so it taught us a lesson really quickly. 

DT: When you and Hugo go up onstage before a show, what experience are you trying to give the audience? Do you go up with a specific mindset or vision of how you want the show to go?  

JL: We come from a DJ background, so we’re so used to molding our show around what the crowd wants, because that’s the skill that you learn when you start to DJ — you learn to read the crowd.  But doing our live show is different because you can read a crowd when it’s 300 people, but it’s different when it’s 15,000, because you kind of have to dictate where the night goes instead of the other way around. So we’re learning to kind of be able to do that and to create a show.

We always have a hope of where the show might go, but sometimes it leads you in a different direction — sometimes the crowd wants something else. Some nights the crowd might just want to go home after; some nights the crowd might bang on the front of the gate until you come back out. We’ve got some songs in our arsenal that we play if the crowd’s really rowdy, or just fun things to do. Our setlist is usually set in stone, but there’s always room to move and adapt to what a crowd really wants. We love the crowd to dictate where the night goes, because we’re playing for them at the end of the day.  


Flight Facilities will perform Friday, Sept. 30 at 3 p.m. at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.