Australian DJ and producer Flume burst onto the scene a decade ago with his self-titled debut album. Now, ten years after his first LP, Flume is back with his third studio album, Palaces — his first full-length project since the Grammy-winning 2016 album Skin and the follow-up to his 2019 mixtape Hi This is Flume.
The lengthy hiatus was largely a result of Flume reevaluating his life and his career at the outset of the pandemic. He had been living in Los Angeles for four years and decided to move back home to Australia to be closer to family, escaping the noise and temptation of the big city for a small town in New South Wales.
While many musicians were bummed by the lack of touring, Flume confessed to The Guardian that the total shutdown of the music industry was a blessing in disguise for him. “It was, honestly, one of the best years of my life,” he said. “I was depressed because I was alone constantly in hotel rooms. I didn’t want to tour any more. I went to a psychologist and was like, ‘I hate my job.’”
On Palaces, Flume is back in his element as he creates lush, glitch-ridden soundscapes that electronic artists have often attempted to duplicate in their own work. The project brings Flume together with artists like Caroline Polachek, Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn, and fellow Aussies Kučka and Emma Louise for their own one-of-a-kind collabs. And throughout the various tracks, he includes calming field recordings of birds from his native country — a symbolic and literal repudiation of his previous city-slicker life embodied by the album’s cover art.
When thinking about how the album was born, he knew that he had to change the environment around him if he had any hope of creating good music again. So that’s what he did.
“I felt like there was something missing in life,” the “You & Me” producer said. “But after being here for a year, I started to have friends and a community, and I realized, ‘Oh, that’s what that void was.’ I didn’t really get to live my 20s, and I never thought about it like that before. I just didn’t know what I’d missed out on until I did have this time.”