21-year-old Australian electro-pop producer Flume—real name Harley Streten—already has a number one album under his belt. His self-titled debut beat out OneDirection and The Rolling Stones for top place in Australian iTunes last November; that LP will be released in the States on February 19th, via Mom + Pop. Right now, Flume is in the middle of his first European tour, with plans to come to the US very soon. Before he caught a plane, he recorded this surprisingly rappy FADER mix and hopped on Skype for a quick chat about working at the Hard Rock Café, bong rips and a local newspaper called The Manly Daily.
Download: Flume’s FADER Mix
What were you doing at this time a year ago? What I used to be doing was, I came straight out of school and basically I smoked and played video games for like six months, then I was like, “Fuck this, I gotta do something.” I always wrote music my entire life—it was always a big hobby and passion of mine—but I decided to get serious about it, so I uninstalled all of my computer games and I quit smoking and I basically just focused on doing the music and getting stuff done. I worked part time jobs at a news agency for a year, pretty much straight out of school. I actually worked at Hard Rock Café for a few months as well as a waiter.
What was that like? It was all right. There’s a lot of rude people out there. I don’t really like dealing with people that much. I was stoked to be able to leave that and just be able to write music. I wasn’t making a huge income or anything. It was really based on the fact that I was living with my parents and that I could leave and make music full time.
Have you since moved out? No I haven’t actually. I’m still in my bedroom at my parents’. It’d be awesome to move out, but at the same time I’m going to be gone six months out of the year, so I might as well just chill out here for another year or so. I actually live a tiny bit outside Sydney in a place called Northern Beaches. It’s basically a strip of beaches. It’s kind of family oriented, but it’s a really nice place to grow up.
What do your parents think about your music? It’s quite funny, because when I’d show my parents these stats, it’d go a bit over their heads. I’d be like, “Oh, I’ve got a million hits on YouTube,” and they’d be like, “Oh, that’s nice, honey.” We get this little paper called The Manly Daily, and when I got a little article with my face or something they’d be like, “Oh my god, oh my god, that’s a picture of you! That’s amazing!”
You’re about to head out on your European tour and then to the US soon. What are you looking forward to? I’m actually off to Europe today. I leave for like three weeks. I haven’t been to all these places so it’ll be sweet to actually check them out. We’ve got a few days in Paris, which I’m looking forward to. To me it’s all pretty new the whole traveling thing. I haven’t really traveled much in the past. It’s just crazy for me to be able to do these things on the back of just writing beats in my bedroom.
Are you going to have to adjust your expectations for the crowds? I can only assume the shows will be a bit smaller than these huge festivals you play in Australia. I’ve been a bit spoiled here in Australia. Not so much spoiled, that’s not the right word, but things are the most hot here in Australia. I reckon that the shows will definitely be smaller obviously, but that’s totally cool. I’m not really to fussed about it at all, to be honest, I’m just stoked to be able to be over there and like playing music to new people.
What did you think about beating OneDirection in the charts in Australia? I thought it was great. The OneDirection thing is like a different kind of beast, and to see a record from an indie label go up there was really nice. It was quite funny actually, the little girls writing angry posts on my Twitter and Facebook like, “Who the fuck are you?” It was quite funny. It was a really good time, and everyone seemed to really get the whole idea of how it happened organically.