Flume: from cereal to serious

How a hit career was born with a CD on a box of Fruit Loops.

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From cereal to serious—it all started with a CD on a box of Fruit Loops, and now this young Aussie is a dance music chart-topper. Flume made his award-winning records from his humble bedroom in his mum’s Sydney home before getting picked up by the Future Classic label in 2011. Glamcult gets the lowdown from Harley Streten ahead of his world tour and the release of his new album, Skin, talking style, musical influences and what he dubs “Flume-step”.

It’s not unusual for a career to be born out of social media nowadays, and Flume is next up on the list of stars who’ve made it through sharing sounds via Soundcloud. Upon entering (and winning) a dance music competition hosted by the Future Classic label in 2011, it all took off. Now, topping the charts, it’s hard to imagine the Australian dance music industry without him. Flume tells Glamcult that he’s been making music since he was a young teen, and his introduction to dance music production came to him almost serendipitously. “It’s a funny story. I was in the supermarket with my dad, and I came across a music-making CD on a cereal box; it started right there. I found out how music worked, and how it was made in layers—it blew my mind. I just wanted to find out more. It’s been a part of me ever since.”

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Flume is sure making waves. He’s on the brink of releasing his second album, titled Skin, and is about to embark on a world tour at the age of 24. He’s hot on the festival scene, having played at almost every popular one you could imagine, has warmed up for the Chemical Brothers and worked infectious remixes for the likes of Lorde, Disclosure, Onra and Ta-Ku. Understandably, his daily routine is pretty different to the life he was living back in 2011: “I fall asleep on a bus, wake up in a new country. It’s amazing.” But there are still plenty of checks and balances: “I have another life with my friends at home in Sydney—we hang out as usual, they still give me the same shit.” Oh, and he’s managed to move out of his mum and dad’s place now, and has bagged his own recording studio on the Sydney coastline.

Flume names early ’90s trance, the French electro movement and artists like Moby, The Prodigy, J Dilla, Justice, M83 and Flying Lotus as his formative inspirations. Oh, and happy hardcore (though he’d rather not dwell too much on that phase). Though he does confess (and it’s hard to believe) “a lot of my samples from my debut album came from a happy-hardcore sample pack”. The Flume sound we know and love is ever evolving and experimental: “I take a lot of influence from hip hop, experimental and, of course, dance music. Even some EDM stuff—I love the energy. I try to pull this energy from dance and incorporate it with classic rhythmic elements of hip hop.” He likes to create his own genres too (just for laughs), dubbing them Flume-step, hyper-step—you name it (please— before he does…).

Four years spent touring and working in his sunny studio since his self-titled release in 2012 have shown an update on his familiar sound for his new album. You may have noticed earlier that his Never Be Like You track, which was released back in January as a teaser, relies on its vocal layer (which comes courtesy of vocalist Kai), unlike much of Flume’s previous work. He illuminates: “It’s a much wider spectrum of sound compared to the last one—some intense tracks, some ambient.” What’s more, some exciting collaborations: “There’s lots of people I wanted to collaborate with for a long time, and I’ve ended up doing so for this album.” Dive in!

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By Kelsey Lee Jones

Photography: Nick Helderman

www.flumemusic.com

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