The Australian Government isn’t the only entity that puts people through a rigorous cross-examination to prove their loyalty to a bunch of stars and a Union Jack. Each week at M+N, we make an Australian act kiss the flag by asking them questions about their favourite local acts: who they’ve been listening to recently, their underground heroes, or whether they prefer Kylie or Dannii Minogue.
In the Citizenship hot-seat this week is Harley Streten, aka Flume. The 21 year-old beatmaker is coming to the end of an annus mirabilis, having played-well-received sets at Splendour In The Grass and Parklife, and with his debut album, Flume, charting at #2. The coming summer will see Streten making appearances at Harbourlife, Falls, Laneway and Golden Plains.
a. The presser says you found a music production program in a cereal box when you were 13. What’s been your musical journey from then to this first album?
I’ve basically just listened and absorbed as much music as possible. I used to listen to lots of trance and house, then I moved into a hard electro phase with all the French stuff. Around that time I also got into guys like Moby, M83, and Gorillaz, and I slowly began listening to lots of beats and hip hop: J Dilla, Flying Lotus, Tokimonsta, Onra, et cetera. I’ve always had a wide range of influences, but most of it’s rooted in dance music.
b. Flume has achieved an incredible amount of global word-of-mouth. Was there a tipping point where you realized suddenly you were well-known?
I played a super-early set at Splendor In The Grass and had the whole 5000-person tent full. That’s the moment I realized shit just got real.
c. There are five guest spots on the album. How exactly did those fall into place? I was into Chet Faker’s music from the get go. I messaged him on Soundcloud because I was coming down for my first-ever gig in Melbourne and I wanted to meet up. We said our hellos and took it from there. Expect more Flume + Chet collabs in the future!
Nathan from Future Classic introduced me to George Maple who is actually Jess, the singer of Flight Facilities Foreign Language. He also introduced me to Moon Holiday, an artist who had previously released music with the label. She writes her own brand of down-tempo electronica.
Finally T.Shirt came about after Nathan went on a trip to the US. He met a whole bunch of different managers and was able to find up-and-comer T.Shirt.
Part 1. Geography
a. Tell us about your hometown.
I live in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. It’s a nice place to grow up: great beaches and a friendly vibe.
b. Name your favourite bands from your neck of the woods.
There’s not much of a music scene here. I always venture toward the city. Kilter is a local beat maker who is doing good things.
c. Where’s your local and what’s it like?
It’s the RSL down the road from my house. You can catch the local cover band every Thursday night playing all the classics. Never a shortage of old people dancing.
Part 2. History
a. Which Australian bands did you grow up listening to?
I only really got into Australian music around the time of The Presets, Cut Copy and The Avalanches.
b. What’s the first Australian record you bought?
The Presets – Beams.
c. Who’s your favourite Australian band/artist of all time?
The Avalanches had something pretty special going on with that first record.
d. What’s the most “Australian” record ever produced?
Anything by AC/DC or Cold Chisel.
Part 3. Current Affairs
a. Who are some of your favourite new Australian bands?
Fishing, Oisima and Kilter.
b. If you could collaborate with one current Australian artist, who would it be, and what would it sound like?
A collaboration with Kimbra would be cool. It would be a massive, uplifting track that shows off her vocals.
c. Last great local gig you saw.
Fishing at Bigsound.
d. Do you think an Australian artist needs to go overseas to succeed?
Not to succeed, but they need to tour the world to expand their fan base.
Part 4. Multiple choice (feel free to elaborate)
a. The Voice or Australia’s Got Talent?
b. Hungry Jacks or Red Rooster?
Hungry Jacks by a long shot.
c. Northcote or Brunswick?
d. Potato cake or dim sim?
e. Dan Sultan or Dan Kelly?
f. Kylie or Dannii Minogue?
g. Cate Blanchett or Nicole Kidman?
h. Neighbours or Home & Away?
Home and Away.
i. Cheezels or Twisties?
j. Kimbra or Gotye?
‘Flume’ is out now through Future Classic.