Flume is a producer and beat-maker whose album just sold more copies than One Direction or Justin Bieber in Australia—no small accomplishment, especially not for a 21-year-old. At 13, Harley Streten, aka Flume, started producing his own tracks, but it wasn't until 2011 at the tender age of 20 that he was discovered by Future Classic, who signed him and put out his first EP entitled Sleepless.
After being met with critical acclaim and achieving commercial success in 2012, Flume released of his self-titled debut full-length through Transgressive on February 18 of this year. Pigeons & Planes got a chance to talk to the young producer (by phone since he's Down Under) about what his plans are for this year, how it felt to beat out major pop stars in sales, and some of the music he's been listening to.
What have you been up to lately?
Right now we’re spending a lot of time getting this live show together, just putting all of our money into this big light show and we’re going to be touring around for the first time. We'll be touring around Australia with Chet Faker, he’s also coming along with us. Apart from that, getting stuff together for the album as well.
What are the pros and cons of being in Australia and trying to get your music to America and Europe? Obviously the Internet plays a role.
It’s been quite a positive experience, with the Internet and all, I feel like I’m one of the people who it has worked out for pretty well. We haven’t spent a lot of money on marketing, we really don’t have a huge amount of cash to push the music to the world. I’m not on a major record label, nothing like that. The Internet has been a really vital tool and its really helped us push the music to the world and it wasn’t even "push the music to the world," it’s more like put it up on Soundcloud and organically it will get shared around by blogs, this and that and other people sending it out, putting it on Facebook. It’s been a really natural thing so far.
How did you feel about the reaction to the first album? Did it surprise you?
Oh yeah, absolutely. To be honest, I didn’t really expect to make any money off the first album. I was really happy with it personally. The fact it’s kind of crossed over and especially in Australia, had quite a bit of mainstream success, I really wasn’t expecting that. It’s kind of knocked other albums off the charts— it’s beat One Direction and Justin Bieber in sales and in Australia.
What are some of your favorite go-to tracks? Like absolute favorites.
My favorites of all time? Ok. Jai Paul “BTSTU,” Pachanga Boys “Time,” The Chemical Brothers “Surface To Air,” and Feist's “My Moon My Man (Boys Noize Remix).” I love Toro Y Moi's “Talamak." Shlohmo did a remix of Burial’s track, “Shell Of Light,” that was really big. Also, Flying Lotus' "Zodiac Shit." I’ll give you one more, Flying Lotus “GNG BNG."
Who do you think some of your biggest influences are as a producer?
Flying Lotus popped up a lot there and he’s probably one of the main, or biggest inspirations. So he was the first one that made me realize music didn’t have to be perfectly on time. You can just do weird, and it could work. He made me step out my comfort zone a little, but ever since I found out his stuff I’ve been listening to guys like Shlomo, listening to his new EP right now.
If there was one dream artist that you could collaborate with, who would you most want to work with?
Vocally, I’d really like to work with Oliver from The xx, I also think it would be really cool to work with Yukimi from Little Dragon.