The Flumes

The Flumes @ Kuranda Roots Festival

Andy Parkinson investigates the Flumes and catches up with singer Kayt Wallace ahead of their show at Kuranda roots.

Living in an era where it appears that every genre has now been covered & most boundaries broken, it seems the artists that push the envelope the most these days, aren’t so much forging a new genre, but more pushing the sounds that have inspired them. While this takes absolutely nothing away from the originality & creativity of these artists,  you’re generally able to  create a shortlist of bands that have obviously been a source of inspiration to them.

Having only recently been introduced to The Flumes, via their latest single, ‘Flyin Colours’, my mind went into overdrive trying to place where in the hell this sound I was listening too had delved from. With a familiar overtone of sounds & genres coming from the speakers, it seemed I could potentially hear a thousand different inspirations,  yet was unable to list a single bloody one of them! With singer, Kayt Wallace’s smokey soulful lyrics transcending over an offbeat groove laid down by the rhythm section, the sound was then punctuated with an electric harp, heavily laced with Wah & Delay effects, as ya do.

Originally crafting their sound between living in Townsville & Cairns, singer, Kayt Wallace & Guitar/Bass player, Stephan Beattie, decided that the best way to progress their career as musicians, was to move south closer to the big smoke.  Understanding that more opportunities would arise being down in Brisbane, but loving the relaxed lifestyle of a smaller town, the pair decided a good destination was to hang on the outskirts of the city & set up camp on the Sunshine Coast.

With a drummer already lined up, the trio were ready to start gigging & make their mark on the scene immediately, but couldn’t have got off to a worse start, when Stephan badly fractured his wrist. Unable to gig or write new tunes as a group, Kayt continued to write new material solo. As Stephan’s hand slowly healed, he was eventually able to jump on a keyboard to lay down some basic bass lines, giving them enough momentum to begin moving forward again. Although a devastating setback at the time, Kayt explains the she can now in hindsight see that it may of been a blessing in disguise, giving the band a chance to further define their sound & expand their repertoire.

Discussing my inability to pigeon hole the band into a specific genre or pick up on any direct influences, Kayt laughs as she explains it’s a common topic discussed in interviews. She goes on to explain that all three members have a massive eclectic taste in music, spanning all genres from the early rock n roll days of Led Zeppelin, to the electronic sounds of Portishead. She notes that they are all massive funk fans with instrumental funk & reggae tunes getting regular spins on their playlists.

Sheepishly letting her know that if there was one particular band that did spring to mind for me as an inspiration to them, it was Tool, Kayt won extra brownie points by fessing that they are all fans of the band. Now for any Tool fans reading this, please don’t expect them to be busting out Stinkfist anytime soon. It was an observation based purely on her Harp tone as being reminiscent of the great Justin Chancellor & a somewhat heavy mood to the music’s overall sound, without actually being heavy.

Discussing if being so hard to pigeonhole as a genre can be of benefit or a detriment to the band in lining up gigs, Kayt explains that it can go either way, but generally works in their favour. This is evidenced by the various artists the band has won support slots for, ranging from artists such as Kingfisha, to The Beards & Violent Femmes. She admits to some delight in messing with the uninitiated’s expectations as they think they are about to get an angelic classical symphony arrangement, only for her to plug into some seriously psychedelic sound effects with her Harp.

Having already blown away audiences at festivals such as Woodford, Earth Frequency, Island Vibe & Palm Creek, the trio are returning back home  to play Kuranda Roots in support of their latest single, ‘Flyin Colours’. With the tour originally slated to be promoting their debut album, Cairns audiences will be getting the best of both worlds, as the band will be selling limited copies, of their as yet unreleased album at the festival. For those that miss out in June, the band plans to embark on a national tour later in the year, promoting the album once it’s officially released, with Cairns set to get a repeat visit.

Slated to be playing early Saturday at the festival, which is subject to change, make sure you add the band to your must see list for a healthy dose of  psychedelic folk laced with funk, blues, jazz, trip hop and a splash of reggae.

Kuranda Roots is on from June 22nd – 24th. Tickets on sale now.

Dribble by Andy Parkinson