We caught up with the rising Melbourne artist to chat about her journey as a musician.
She’s nearing her first decade as an artist but Liza Flume is still dedicated to honing her craft. Whilst studying a Bachelor of Audio (Studio Production) at SAE Creative Media Institute, she’s still releasing music and experimenting with sounds and exploring music with new ears.
“When I was starting, I believed I’d never study. I didn’t want to know theory, I didn’t want to know anything. I just wanted to feel music, I just wanted it to be organic,” Flume says.
Flume sits on her words and tests sentences before finishing them.
“It feels very empowering to know more of the theory and production in general. But what comes with that is crippling, self-criticism.
“I started releasing music in Ireland. There’s really a lot of wonderful acoustic places. It’s a tradition. It’s very Irish to focus on the songwriting and the meaning of the song. You get to the open mic nights and everyone in the room goes quiet and listens to you play.”
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Flume’s debut EP, Full Steam Ahead, was released in 2013 containing largely guitar and vocal loops over rhythmic melodies.
“I just didn’t know anything about music production to be honest. I had a loop pedal — when it was all the rage. You know it’s funny: I think all the people who get loop pedals, get into production. I think there’s a link. It’s kind of the analogue version of Ableton.”
In 2018, Flume moved back to Melbourne and began her studies at SAE soon after.
“I think I wanted to learn more about the technical side so that I could produce myself and mix myself.”
The practical nature of SAE’s Bachelor of Audio (Studio Production) course is what drew Flume towards the institution.
“There is theory, but a majority of it is just jumping in and working on projects. The more you want to do, the more opportunities there are, especially with cross-discipline collaborations.
“My main love will be writing and recording but during the course, I have been down many rabbit holes. I love composing for films, mixing for films, recording on set and I love learning about how sound affects us. The course has taken me on a big exploration of sound in general. There’s so much to sound: it’s not just music.”
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Studying at SAE has offered Flume numerous industry opportunities including her current placement at Crystal Mastering where she’s working on digitising analogue audio.
“Joe [Carra] and Lin [Belinda Coomes] taught me about analogue technicians and also learning about how stuff was recorded before digital. Obviously, once it’s digitised we have to analyse the digital file. So that’s really interesting as well to improve my critical listening.”
Eight years since her first release, Flume’s music captures an atmospheric, production heavy sound.
“I’m now, through the course, experimenting with more sound design. I’m thinking more about the space I’m creating, rather than the instruments themselves. I’m thinking more about the world you’re creating in these four minutes — or three and a half.”
Having self-produced and mixed her most recent singles, ‘The Right Time’ and ‘When We Were Kids’, Flume has also worked on tracks by other artists such as Tessa Devine and Lisa De Angelis.
“It’s my favourite thing to do. It’s really intimate actually, meeting someone and then recording with them, and collaborating for these really intense couple of days,” Flume says.
As she continues to grow in the world of production and sound, Flume has also proven herself as a lyricist.
“I have no filter. I think that’s because the music I love the most is incredibly vulnerable and honest. I’ve just always done that. I write a lot of songs and the ones that are worthy to share are the ones where I’ve been so vulnerable that they scare me,” she says.
“Sometimes I try to be a bit poetic and vague but it doesn’t really work. It’s just how I am as a songwriter. Those moments of extreme pain or extreme joy are the times I want to pick up an instrument and write a song.
“It means I’m always going to come from those places. I just try to be as open as possible, even if it takes me a while to complete a song, I try to go back to that one line that I’m now making a whole song around.”
With over 13k monthly Spotify listeners, airtime on triple j and triple j Unearthed, and support slots for the likes of GRAACE and Bonniesongs, Flume’s name continues to grow in the music industry. With two well-received 2021 singles behind her, it will be fascinating to see what’s next for the artist.