It’s hardly a surprise that 2012’s most talked about producer is heading out on a national tour. But we’re super excited about it all the same
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In less than 18 months Flume has achieved superstar status in Australia. His self-titled debut album reached #1 on Australia’s iTunes chart, he bagged four – count ’em! – spots in Triple J’s Hottest 100, and a festival line-up looks bare without his name. “I feel like I’ve played everywhere,” says the 21-year-old producer.
When Time Out spoke to Harley Streten, his first-ever headline tour had just been announced and media appearances were consuming most of his waking moments. The producer had barely finished one interview before he began the next, but he was generous with his time, if a little weary.
“Writing the album took a year – that’s all I did really. All my spare time was writing music and seeing friends. The busier things get, the less time you have to actually write music. It’s just different now.” Busy and different, 2012 was a hectic year for Flume. But Streten is still humble as he recalls his first festival gig.
“My highlight [so far] would be Splendour. It was my first proper festival and I wasn’t expecting much, because I was playing so early. By the end of the set, the tent was full – and it’s a big, big tent. It was kind of overwhelming, a bit surreal. I could see everyone doing the clap thing when [the remix of Hermitude’s] ‘Hyperparadise’ came on. There were thousands and thousands of people doing it. So that was probably when I realised shit’s getting serious.”
It’s well reported that a young Streten struck lucky with a Nutri-Grain cereal box when he was aged about nine or ten. Inside that cereal box was a music-making program that ignited an appetite for fusing different sounds together. “Ha! I wouldn’t mind getting a little payment from Nutri-Grain to keep repping them,” he laughs. “[If they] secretly slip some cash in my account I’ll make sure everyone knows about it.”
More than a decade later, Flume’s self-titled debut album, which was released in Australia in November 2012, is being released in Europe. “France seems to have a great response to it,” Streten tells us. “The UK seems to be great and [sales in] Holland were surprisingly really, really good.”
Signed to Future Classic here in Australia, Flume recently signed to London indie label Transgressive. “A lot of that decision-making I left up to Nathan [Future Classic]. It was a bit over my head… We wanted to keep it in the indie-band realm because we want to eventually expand the show to something like what SBTRKT does, or Neon Indian – making it a performance thing, so you go to see the show rather than going to a club night with me playing.”
And by all accounts, Flume’s Infinity Prism tour – which features a hexagonal infinity mirror – sounds like it’s a show worth seeing (even if you’ve already followed Flume’s festival circuit). “It’s basically a big expensive optical illusion – and we’re gonna freak out the kids in the front row on dingers!” jokes Streten. “We’ve got LED screens and Chet Faker. He’s a mate but we work really well together. It works because we’ve got a band and a big light show. It’s a good contrast.”
How does Streten, who lives with his parents in Sydney's Manly, cope with being so well known in his home city? “I get attention,” he says. “I get recognised at the pub… And it’s cool. At first it was fun, but I’m not really into the attention thing anymore. At first it was a novelty. Now I prefer not to be recognised, so I think I’m going to stop putting my face on stuff. That’s one thing: I’ll never have my face on an album cover.”
Streten tells us it’s still too early to talk about a second album, but that it’s definitely “in the pipeline”. So with a strict schedule and mounting expectation on this still fresh artist, how does he keep up? “I know how my brain works, and how I get inspired. For example, I get the team at Future Classic… or the guys at Transgressive… or Mom and Pop… to send me their favourite tracks of the past few months – it’s called an ‘Inspiration Package’. New tunes spark ideas.”
Loving this simple solution, we asked Streten to give us a little ‘Inspiration Package’ of our own…
Flume’s ‘Inspiration Package’
Harley picks out five tracks on his playlist exclusively for Time Out