Flume's Harley Streten on Dance Music: "It's Like a Golden Age Right Now"
If ever there was a poster child for the humble bedroom producer, it's Harley Streten.
Better known as Flume, he is the Austrialian wunderkind whose hypnotic blend of soulful pop and electronic dance music recently spread to all corners of the world, almost faster than you could've snidely said, "EDM." And he only just turned 22.
Uploading his musical visions onto the vast world wide web with the flick of his wrist and the tap of a button, Streten became an embodiment of what it means to make music in the Internet age.
But now, with practically a whole year of touring under his belt, he returns to Miami as a veteran of Winter Music Conference for the purpose of headlining his own night at Grand Central.
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He's also recently become a multiple award winner. In December, up against much of Australia's finest, Streten won four of his five ARIA nominations. But does all that really matter to him?
"I guess getting awards is really cool, because, basically, it means that this kind of music is working on a major level," he tells New Times. "At the same time, I don't need it. I try not to place too much value on them. It's a nice thing, but I don't get too carried away with it."
Of course, Streten isn't the only one making dance music in the land down under. In fact, he says, the Aussie scene seems to be experiencing a sweeping musical shift.
"In Australia, there's a bit of a movement happening at the moment. And the national radio station back home, called Triple J, essentially like BBC Radio -- it's being super-supportive of that movement, and it's really starting to spread to the international audience."
But why is this dance music surge taking place there at this particular time? "When you've got a big broadcasting company like that," Streten suggests, "I guess it has a lot of impact on a lot of producers and musicians in general. It's almost like a tastemaker kind of thing, where they tailor the nation's sound.
"It's just all happening," he adds. "It's like a golden age right now."
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From the beginning of his career, Streten has gained support from those broadcasts, but he in no way specifically sought them out. As he explains, music was merely something that he did for himself.
"It is actually quite different now, you know," the young producer says, reflecting on the effect that outside forces and increased demand have had on his writing and producing process.
"I used to write when I felt like writing. It was my hobby. Now that it's a job, I wrote so little last year that I kinda forgot how to get in the zone. And I've had time off since January to write, but it's definitely taken me a little while to get back into the swing of writing music. I just kind of forgot how it all worked. I guess I've been trying to figure out how to get myself into that right head space."
But once he recaptures his studio mojo, Streten has high hopes for the future, even planning to explore different "musical avenues" like scoring films and soundtracking video games.
For now, though, he'll simply finish touring the world with his visual setup called the "Infinity Prism." Then he'll win some more awards, collect a few more platinum records, and maybe start thinking about turning 23.
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Flume. Presented by Poplife. 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, at Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $20 to $25 plus fees via ticketfly.com. Ages 18 and up. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.
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