Eighteen months ago, you had no idea who Flume was. Now it's impossible to imagine our musical landscape without him.
He claimed four spots in Triple J's Hottest 100 (including the highest local placement), he's selling out a massive national tour, and — most absurdly — his self-titled debut album beat One Direction and Justin Bieber to the top of the Australian charts.
“I like seeing myself up there next to P!nk and Bruno Mars and all these dudes,” 21-year-old Harley Streten laughs. “It's nice, because it's like, 'Man, we spent no fucking money on this release, and we're fucking you guys up, and it's awesome. I'm sure you're great dudes, but fuck you, Universal.' No, I shouldn't say that, I'm probably burning my bridges right there.”
At this point, it'd be a foolhardy music industry exec who'd take offence to Streten. Everything he touches turns to gold, everybody wants a piece of him, and expectations for his next LP are already sky high. He'd prefer you didn't tell him that, though.
“I'm trying not to think about any of that,” he says. “I'm just making music for me and not being influenced by anything else. I just want to keep it pure, rather than contaminate it by thinking about making music for my audience. I don't want to spoonfed them. I want to push them again, I want them to listen to something they might not usually listen to. I feel like that's my responsibility, because I'm in a little bit of a taste maker position right now.
“I could just sit back and write another record of similar stuff, and it'd probably do well. Kids would eat it up and I'd make money and that'd be fine. But what I want to do is something quite different.”
For now, Streten's focus is on his brand new live show — complete with his own signature prop, the 'Infinity Prism'.
“We were looking at stuff like Amon Tobin's crazy projections, but I guess [Daft Punk] were an inspiration, too. What we really wanted was that performance aspect. What I do is not so visually stimulating, so having a really unique light show, something really special, that was the path we wanted to take... it's kind of the next stage, I feel.”
'Flume' is out now. You've already got it. Flume plays Brisbane Riverstage on Tuesday May 7 with Chet Faker.