Last Saturday in San Francisco, one of Australia's major game changers began his tour at legendary Mezzanine Nightclub situated by the city's Tenderloin neighborhood. On this tour Harley, aka Flume, packed up his things and hopped on his tour bus, to hit clubs and festivals in North America. Coming off of his recent remix of Disclosure's You and Me, which mind you has 2,843,655 plays at the moment I wrote this was now ready to hit America with his unique approach to music. For those unaware, the music industry has spent a lot of time analyzing Flume and his style. He's hard to box up, and that's what makes him who he is. Excited for new electronic music and bending the rules, he's constantly searching for what's new, to not only be an artist that will try to provide that for you but to be aware, to be inspired.
His show at Mezzanine was all that was talked about. The show sold out, and the venue reached capacity with lines pouring outside trying to get in. As an LA resident I had no idea what to expect from the nightclub, but fellow event-goers agreed this was a unique show, and Flume was special. I spoke to him at the empty nightclub prior, whilst he was setting up for sound-check. At the time there was an overwhelming sense of calmness coming from him, with a youthful excitement for music as a fan. It was tough to coincide his attitude and presence with the sold out shows that were ahead of him. The show was a great one, Mezzanine was a great venue to catch him at, there wasn't a corner that wasn't filled with a fan, and after meeting him, I myself felt what he felt, his philosophy about music, and vision towards the future. This is brief interview I had with him and even later after the interview we continued to talk about new music, as per his excitement.
What was the bridges that lead to you to becoming Flume?
Well, it was always the side project, I made a lot of dance music, once I knocked my other project, which is now my side project, Flume became the main project. Flume was always my fun creative one where I had no rules and I could write whatever, where anything goes really. And then when I put out for Future Classic that probably was where it all began. Sleepless was out in the blogs and gained a bit of momentum but nothing crazy. Then future classic put it out and did their thing, put their feelers out and sent it to the right people, and it really started to gain momentum. It was essentially that EP and a whole bunch of remixes I did around that time that fuel the fire. By doing remixes it gave a reason for blogs to post about me, and then they would present the EP as well.
What was the initial response? Do you see your music penetrating the scene in Australia?
Once it started getting played on Triple-J, which is like equivalent to BBC Radio 1 that was big. That backed me super hard, after the Internet thing started the radio thing started, and that was international.
Do you feel a stronger interest outside of Australia? Do you feel like there's a community that surrounds your music back home?
In Australia it’s stronger then anywhere. It's doing well overseas and everything, In Australia I did a headline tour, in Sydney we did two nights in a row sold out, 5000+ each. There wasn't a venue big enough in Brisbane so we made a mini festival stage, which had a 9000 cap. So it's gotten stupid-big in Australia, now I’m in the process of touring the world, and bringing it.
What was the pivotal moment for flume?
The moment was when I played a festival called Splendour on the Grass, because it was the first festival I played, being first in the day to play. It was pretty full, but by the end it was thousands of thousands people. And they were all singing all the songs that I made in my bedroom. It's one thing to see the stats and Soundcloud plays, but when you see the physical person, that’s when I realized it's now serious.
You recently were asked to remix Disclosure's "you & me?" how did that come to be?
Well they reached out to me to do a remix, I knew who was on board, Toro Y Moi and Baauer, and I was like cool. I really dig Disclosure's stuff, I'm a big fan, I took that track on and I didn't want to try to compete with it, or try to push it. I just wanted to make something different. I feel like they already did a good job already, so I didn't think I could do anything better. So I just did something completely different, it's cool to see the response especially out in Europe.
Did you have any specific inspirations? Anything that you felt caused you to start working on music?
It was dudes like Flying Lotus, that showed me that you don't need to do everything "on-time," that imperfection was perfection. That’s when I realized that I liked music that wasn't perfect and timed, I was writing a lot of dance music, and I was always trying to aim to make it as a big and tight, and clean as possible. Then I heard Flying Lotus and I was like "fuck, this stuff totally out of time," and some of these samples are just shit quality, that low-fi vibe he had. And then Dilla's stuff wasn't also on time, I just realized that it didn't have to be the way I thought it had to be, I always say that Flying Lotus changed my life.
I've heard a lot of your music and it doesn't fit to a specific genre what do you want to call it?
With the Disclosure remix compared to holding on, they are all different genres. I don't want to be pinpointed; I just want to make shit that's unclassifiable. That’s my plan, I really respect other when people do that, and the biggest thing I respect in other musicians, aside from a lot of good song writing, is dudes who are pushing boundaries like Hudson Mohawke, or when Rustie came out with Glass Swords, I was like "I've never heard music like this," "I don't know how to classify this," that was massive for me. With Flylo, I was like how do I classify this? When I heard the TNGHT EP I was like "what the hell is this?" That's what I get off on most when it comes to music so that’s what I try and do.
What do you have in store for tonight's music and production?
There are a few new bits and pieces, but what really tonight is going to be about is that I've never brought this set-up to the US. We've got this infinity prism here, we've also got the big screen here with all the visuals, which I control along with the music. So lets say I do a phaser, the visuals will phase, or if I do a low-pass, the visuals will get darker, or beat repeat, the visuals will go all crazy. That’s just the effects. If I take out the drums you'll see it, it's all linked up. If I hit a drum pad, the whole screen and lights will flash like a strobe, along with the prism so it's all interactive, it's kind of one beast as opposed to having them do separate things. It's cool man, because when I hit the drum pad it flashes so it feels like I have actual power. And when you do that everyone is like "woah!"
Are there any new artists that you are excited about?
Right now? You know I'm actually searching hard for someone that is doing new creative stuff, there is a lot of music out there that I'm enjoying. In terms of forward thinking stuff, can you tell me any stuff?
I'll show you some music after the interview; I have some friends you should check out. One to definitely check out is Vindata.
What do you have in store for the future?
I have a new EP with a few tracks which that should be coming out in few months, not sure where it's going to be out on internationally, so we'll see.
Anything else you want to mention?
And I just want to say come down to a show in the US; I have a tour bus so it should be fun.
Thanks to Flume, Mezzanine in San Francisco, and Flume’s management! Check out Flume on his North American tour happening now!