Rushing Back: Flume On New Material, Travel, And His Dodgy Analytics
At the sweet sweet age of 17, I must have listened to Flume’s second album ‘Skin’ over 100 times. On the bus, at home, with friends. Like a coven of Flume, my circle of friends worshipped tracks like 'Say It' and 'Helix' with an intensity only music-obsessed teens could possess.
Now, almost five years down the line and a journalism degree later, I was tasked with interviewing a man who helped define my taste in electronic music.
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In 2016, Flume’s music sounded something alien compared to his recent releases. Glitchy pop beats dissolving into the angelic voices of Aluna George and Tove Lo - now compete with his new experimental computer-contorted sounds.
“The first stuff I did was probably more hip-hop than dance. Lots of beats and more instrumental, kind of Flying Lotus inspired,” he says, sitting back in his Shoreditch hotel room after an 11-date European tour. "I just get bored easily. The pendulum swings around and I know it's time to change it up," he admits.
"I feel like it's a blessing in disguise... especially when lots of artists will stick to doing one thing throughout their whole career. But sometimes it's tough when I change style, you get those people who are like 'we want the old Flume back!'"
But after seven years since his self-titled debut album first dropped, his fan-base only seem to have grown in parallel to his ever-changing sound. Inspiration for his music comes directly from the thing that has catered to each of our music tastes: Spotify.
He pulls up his phone to show me what he's been listening to recently - quickly stopping on one name. "A friend recently introduced me to this guy, John Maus. It's kinda like... goth-pop."
When the conversation turned to Burning Man, the topic went a little less music talk, and much more juicy goss. Having been filmed during a 'sexual act' with his girlfriend at the festival, the Australian producer could only laugh it off.
"That was the most press I've ever gotten; over any work I've ever released. There's a Google analytics chart where my first album shows a little spike searching for my name. Second album another spike and so on, and then 'eating ass at Burning Man' it's like..." he says, making exaggerated hand gestures showing just how many people must have Googled that.
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If you were to Google his name now, you might see some more strange reasons Flume has been in the press in recent weeks. After his track release 'Rushing Back' featuring Vera Blue, he was seen popping up on stage with a marching band playing the track note-for-note on the saxophone. "It's the only instrument I can actually play!" he laughs.
The music video for 'Rushing Back' received praise for its artistic ingenuity upon release just two weeks ago. He talks about the man behind the talent, Jonathan Ziwada, and how it came together. "Jonathan did that video and the mixtape visualiser too, I completely trust him to be the main visual force behind every project. We usually just get on the phone, figure it out and chat together, just brainstorming ideas."
"I just went to the Olafur Eliasson exhibition at The Tate. I love going to see modern art, I always find amazing concepts and ideas which I can then apply to my shows or videos. I've actually wanted to make an installation with Jonathan for a while, we've got the full idea but have to find the time to implement it."
For Flume, reinvention of sound marks new beginnings for every record produced. "I'm just going to dedicate this next year to writing. I've always taken my time with these things. I thought it would be fun to try the opposite and put a little pressure on. I'll just solo travel with my laptop, seeing what happens," he says.
"I just miss my dog when I'm travelling, though. I wish I could take him everywhere with me. Sometimes I sneak him on the plane!" he adds, recounting tales told to air stewards of 'canine anxiety'.
It's another leg in an ongoing journey for Flume.
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Words: Gemma Ross
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