Essential extra for hot summer
Essential extra for hot summer

Sydney producer and current Triple J feature album recipient Flume has one person to thank for the insane hype surrounding his career recently - Andrew "G" Gunsberg.

"Yep, yep, I know, right? Maybe I should do a Facebook post this afternoon," Harley Streten, aka Flume, laughs.

Sure, Gunsberg may not have been as personally involved as the 20-year-old's record label, Future Classic, or his parents, but the contribution of the former Channel [V]/Network Ten personality shouldn't be underestimated.

When the media try to explain Flume's rapid rise to uber-hotness, an oft-used myth involves a 13-year-old boy finding a music- production program in a cereal box - surely, that can't be legit?

"Nutri-Grain. And the CD that came with it was Andrew G's Music Maker," Streten confirms.

"Basically, the program allowed me to see how (production) worked on a really basic level. I could see the drums were one track, the bass was on another, the synth was on another and that blew my little mind.

"I went back to the store and got the rock one, then I got the pop one and the dance one - so we had a lot of Nutri-Grain hanging around the house."

Were the nutrients in Nutri-Grain instrumental in helping Streten evolve from those early Euro-trance mixes - "I still have heaps of shitty beats on my hard drive" - to hits like Sleepless and Holdin' On?

While we add Nutri-Grain to Flume's growing thank-you list, Streten also has a shout-out for his folks, who he still happens to live with.

He credits them for supporting him through the early years of doing "electro kinda stuff" to show school mates to the beginning of the Flume era a couple of years ago. But he admits it wasn't until he caught Future Classic's ear with the Sleepless EP last year, and was promptly signed, that his mum stopped politely suggesting he "should go do this uni course".

You suspect Mrs Streten must be feeling pretty confident about her son's career choice right now; in addition to all the local buzz, he just got back from well-received performances at CMJ in NewYork and LA's influential Low End Theory club night.

Ironically, Streten needed a little convincing he was on the right track, too, and it wasn't until he ventured beyond the world of SoundCloud/YouTube/Facebook (where he has been racking up big numbers) that he got his proof.

"I played Splendour in the Grass, right, and to actually see thousands and thousands of people - a full tent at 1pm - was the moment I realised, OK, shit's getting serious now," he says.

The Future Classic signing a year ago sparked an explosion of creativity that generated much of the material on his self-titled debut.

While there were times Streten worried if he could produce another big song such as Sleepless, as the album came together he grew more confident.

And rightly so. It's a remarkably mature set from a self-confessed perfectionist that features guest vocals from the likes of Chet Faker and Moon Holiday and spans "electronica with a strong hip-hop influence but then there's also tracks that are, like, f…ing dubstep".

Flume says his big, euphoric chord progressions stem from 90s trance, the drum parts take their cue from French electro, dance music informed basic song structure and pioneers such as Flying Lotus and J Dilla inspired the more experimental sounds on the record.

The only skill Streten doesn't demonstrate on the LP is his saxophone ability, which, after nine years of lessons, must have come as a disappointment to his mum.

"She has literally said that," he laughs.

On the plus side, her son has already ticked off his biggest career goal: to make a decent living doing what he loves.

But testament to the quality of people Flume surrounds himself with, money hasn't been a key performance indicator at this early stage of his career.

Since his Parklife appearances, there can be no doubt Flume was the must-have addition to any summer festival this season but, of all the offers on the table, his management went with St Jerome's Laneway Festival.

"There were a few offers that came in but we really want to try to get the best fit rather than look at the money," Streten explains.

"We want to build this long term rather than getting short-term gains."

Flume is out now. Flume plays St Jerome's Laneway Festival on February 9 at the Perth Cultural Centre.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

More from The West