The entire venue is immersed in energy. The crowd is mesmerized by the enigma that is Harley Streten. As he smashes away on drum pads, bright flashes of color light up the faces of the hypnotized listeners. He looks pleased with the crowd’s reaction as his fingertips create spellbinding magic. They close their eyes and let themselves be consumed by the music. It’s hard to believe that this soul-stirring musical master was sitting in a green room, just minutes before, chuckling over being stuffed in a tour bus full of dudes, and how he plans to collaborate with pop starlettes.
Sitting down with the incredibly talented and humble producer, we learned what serves as a catalyst for his unique and distinct sound. Playing the saxophone in grade school and meddling with guitar, music was a second language for him, but wasn’t a lifetime passion until he discovered electronic music. He was naturally drawn to the genre for the diversity of instruments that one individual could play.
[quote]“Electronic music struck a chord in me. It’s always made me tick. Naturally I went into electronic production because with this genre I can play everything as myself. Guitar, piano, ect. I like to write my own creations and be self-sufficient.”[/quote]
There’s obvious definition and a strong sense of individuality in Flume’s music. Harley is a master of thinking progressively in electronic music, and respects other forward-thinking artists. When first listening to Rustie, he realized that having a dynamic sound is crucial to being a successful producer. He prides himself on the fact that his music stands out in the over-saturated sea of dance music. He does this by constantly thinking of new ways to incorporate fresh and eccentric sounds in his music, creating a far from ordinary experience.
As for what makes his signature sound so different, it’s all about the amount of time he puts into creating each individual track. He vows to never use anything ordinary sounding. He spends hours digging through samples for the perfect synth patch, the most unique sounding snare drum. He says spending more time on the sound pallet makes for a more interesting song.
All smiles, Harley described performing at Splendor In The Grass, a huge festival in his home country, Australia. Completely humbled by the experience, he knew he had made it big. “The whole tent was packed. There must have been 6,000 or more people, I’ve only played for maybe 500 people at the most in clubs. I saw them singing along to the words of the tracks that I made in my own bedroom. I was looking out at the crowd thinking, wow shit’s getting serious now. I was buzzing for like three days.”
Even at such a young age, Harley is breaking new musical ground. Now that the 21 year old has some influence, he says it is his responsibility to keep things progressing. He explains that the most important thing for a producer is develop a personal sound. Taking the best bits of each genre and style and making them into a new brand. It’s what he believes has influenced him the most; taking ordinary rules, and bending them to make them extraordinary.
Being a young producer, Harley does not lead the life of a normal 21 year old. He misses recording in his at home studio, surfing with his friends, and his dogs. Harley loves where Flume is going, but also dreams of writing movie scores, and music for television advertisements & video games. Always challenging himself, he not-so-jokingly says he would love to write a song with Taylor Swift. “My next big priority is writing a score for a film. A little sci-fi-ish, a little bit of a Blade Runner vibe. Lots of synth. Like that movie Drive. [laughs] I do like movies with a dirty sci-fi vibe. “
[quote]“I love pop music. If I was to write a Taylor Swift song, it would be a great fucking song.“[/quote]
The kind of humility, talent, and humanizing attitude Harley exudes makes for an incredible producer and down to earth human being. Every synth stab illuminates his cutting-edge concept and creates a celestial soundscape for thoughts to wander in. Flume is an innovative aficionado; an alchemist bringing mystery into electronic music. There’s no telling what he has up his sleeve for the future, but whatever creation he has in the works, it will be far from ordinary and far beyond phenomenal.
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