In a new interview on the My Friend Podcast with Paige Elkington, Flume gets very real about a variety of topics, including his infamous Burning Man ass-eating video, as well as how he used to “self-medicate” with alcohol to be comfortable performing on stage and how he feels similar to Avicii in that respect.
As we learned after the Burning Man incident, Paige is actually Flume’s girlfriend, so him being on her podcast isn’t so random. The episode was recorded just as “social distancing” entered the public’s vernacular, so keep that in mind as you listen or read along.
It begins with Flume saying he needs to talk shit on someone famous because “that’s how you get headlines” (he’s not wrong) and they jokingly trash Brad Pitt before leading into Burning Man.
“Someone put up a sign saying ‘Does Flume even eat ass?’ and I did a little finger click, nod, and a point. And they put up another sign that said ‘prove it.’ You saw the sign and jumped up on the megadeck, put your butt up in the air [fully wearing underwear]…” and Paige continues, “and you put your face in there for like maybe two seconds.”
“The crowd went wild,” she said. “And it spread like fire [when it went up on my Instagram story].”
“I’m kind of like the Michael Cera of electronic music,” Flume said, “and if Michael Cera ate ass at Burning Man, everyone would be like…” as he trailed off. “I was championed in Australia as a legend. I was given peaches every day.”
“There were some business things I had in the works that fell through because they didn’t want to be associated with it, because I was in the press for eating ass.”
“I actually called Wes [Diplo] because I know he’s had many viral stories, and he said, ‘You can’t pay for this kind of publicity.'”
Moving on, the two begin to talk about how Flume is no stranger to social distancing, even before COVID-19, how he doesn’t like attention and how that presents a conflict with his profession.
“I mean I used a lot of alcohol. Like, when performing, I would drink to calm nerves,” he says. “I would drink to make it bearable, which sounds crazy but really it’s the truth. I’m just not a performer and I’ve definitely used alcohol to feel comfortable on stage in front of people.”
He doesn’t drink before shows anymore because, he says, he realized it was becoming a pattern and didn’t want to head down that path. It’s something he’s had to manage and overcome.
“The second I enter the festival I’m riddled with anxiety. Even to this day, after I’ve done thousands of shows, I still get anxious. The more I do this, though, the more fun I have on stage.”
Flume eventually went to a therapist to address his social anxiety on stage, because he hated his job, and was even considering quitting at one point.
Later he said, “I think people like Avicii and things, are literally the same as me. And he died because he was medicating himself just like I was, with alcohol, drugs, whatever. He wasn’t happy.”
“Of course, he pushed himself. Thankfully I have a manager that’s not like that at all.”
Finally, the two talk about his music, and how he’s in the process of making a new record. “I’ve been slowly telling people. Usually I take three years now I want to take three months. It’s an experiment, just trying to write a record in a really short amount of time. […] It’s like I’m writing music back when I started.”
The whole podcast is well worth a listen. You can check it out below — the interview with Flume begins at 5:00.
Photo via Bianca Holderness for Splendour in the Grass