His name is Harley Streten. The twenty-year old, electronic musician from Australia has become something of a phenomenon in his home country. His album titled under the same stage name, Flume has sky-rocketed to the top spot on the Australian dance charts as well as hit #1 on iTunes beating the likes of One Direction and Pink. His productions are mainly experimental electronic and infuse pop and heavy hip-hop influences. The album has a chill vibe throughout. I like to think of it as happy-hippy music—you can pick it up here.
His debut EP titled “Sleepless” was released in 2011 and was #1 on iTunes for several weeks. The single with the same title hit one million views on Youtube a few weeks ago. Within the year he has played with the likes of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and The XX at many festivals in Australia and most recently made his North American debut at the CMJ conference in New York. Check out my interview and keep him on the radar folks! This kid looks to be one of the breakout stars of 2013.
“I was out shopping with my Dad and I found this cereal box which had a prize in it… Asked him to get it and ever since then I’ve been addicted to making music.”
Could you tell us about your album? What your creative process is? What are your influences? What are you trying to communicate with it? Describe your sound?
Flume was always a side project for me. It had never really been my main project and then Future Classic came along and they said that they liked my music. This gave me the confidence and inspiration to write a heap of tracks which are on the album. Flume is electronic music with heavy hip-hop influence. Most of the tracks I wrote was when I got out of school and was mainly on the road. My friend and I went back packing across Europe. We worked for about a year and saved up. A lot of the album came out over there…I would sit at cafes in Berlin or at hostels around the continent and that’s where the songs sprung from.
I heard that you found a musical production program in a cereal box. What’s the story behind that?
So what happened was I was out shopping with my Dad and I found this cereal box which had a prize in it. The prize was a music programme. I liked it and told my Dad that I thought it was pretty cool. Asked him to get it and ever since then I’ve been addicted to making music. It’s kind of funny because when I installed it, it kind of blew my mind as to how music is created. Seeing music so dissected caught my attention. So after that I got some more music-making programs and then it became a hobby. But in the span of a year it’s become my life.
How did it feel when you found out that it-hit #1 on iTunes?
It was just so awesome to see that an independent label to be on the top of the charts especially because we had One Direction, Pink and Taylor Swift to compete with. It was just really refreshing to see that an indie label that makes different kinds of music is able to do that. Everyone seemed really into it. It seems like music is prevailing to integrate a fresh sound even with the competition from the bigger names out there.
“My musical upbringing has always been house music and to see that being raped the way it is now is kind of shitty.”
A lot of new artists that are emerging are divulging in experimental electronic sounds. What is your take on this? Do you think that the current dance music scene will see a shift in sounds soon?
I hope so. My musical upbringing has always been house music and to see that being raped the way it is now is kind of shitty. I also see that audiences taking on a different sound especially with artists like Disclosure. That track is awesome! Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs is another example. I just think people are going to get tired. The stuff that’s being made now is going to change and EDM is going to have a new sound in a couple of years.
You have toured with The XX, TEED and many more. How was this experience? Are you collaborating with any of them?
It was a really good experience especially with the XX. They came to Australia a few years ago and I saw them at a festival not knowing who they were. I thought they were amazing and then I saw them a couple of years later when they were a lot bigger. It was surreal. I really like Jamie XX’s solo stuff as well. We’ll see what happens in terms of collaboration since the album just got done
I read an article in the NY Times where they featured you to be an artist to watch out for. How was playing CMJ last month? Tell us about your experiences in the states? What do you think of the US dance music scene?
Yeah it was really cool. It was my first time out here. We did nine shows in a span of four days. We did 3 shows in one night and 3 shows another night. So it was like 6 shows in two days. But it was such a great experience and we were really excited you to get here.
Any plans on touring out here soon?
Yeah we’re going to SXSW and we’re doing like two weeks of shows over the US.
Could you identify three artists that the public should be aware of? Tell us a little about their sounds?
I heard this track. It’s a remix of a track called, “It’s Too Late” by Wild Belle and it’s done by a guy called Snake-Hips and the track is nuts! Another guy I would say is Ta-Ku. Check him out. It’s experimental hip-hop. A good comparison would be On-Re. There’s a guy called Oisima. It’s really chill ambient music.
I’m probably going to do some remixes. I feel like Flume is an album project. I feel like we’re focusing on getting a live show happening in America and we hope to make this a great experience for everyone there.
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