Why Flume is the future

So what’s been Harley’s experience of the fans? “Girls seem to like the music,” he says with the beginning of a sly smile. “A lot of shows, it’s funny – what will happen is it will be all girls up the front before the show starts getting ready, and within the first 30 seconds it will be all dudes right up front getting into it because the girls get squashed. But yeah, it’s funny. It’s always funny to see whatever Instagram, Facebook, Twitter posts.”

“You know what actually was really fucking weird that wasn’t cool?” he continues. “I got a note the other day on my doorstep. It was weird.” Naturally, I ask what the note says: “Just some creepy shit. I was just like – it’s cool if you do it on Facebook or whatever, but not my front door. I’m gonna take myself out of the White Pages or whatever. Mum found it, she thought it was sweet….I was like, it’s not sweet. It’s just a bit too close for comfort.”

With the fangirl (and boy) numbers clearly booming, what does Flume make of suggestions that the heyday of dance music is long gone? “I gotta say, I do kind of agree in some respects,” he begins. “Like, it’s just different now. It’s had this commercial thing happen to it and it’s got fucked a bit, but there’s a lot of strands of dance music I’m still really into. And you know like fashion, trends – like how shit from the 70s is cool again – I think it’s gonna rebuild. All styles have that process where it gets really fucking good and then it gets commercialised because it’s so good and more and more people start catching on to it, until it starts fucking it.”

“For me, dance music had its glory day when the French electro stuff was happening,” he continues. “And also the 90s trance stuff. The whole “EDM” thing, it’s been commercialised – but dance music for me has now become like TNGHT, that Hudson Mohawke and Lunice trap kind of stuff. All of those guys is what I’m really enjoying about dance music right now. It’s not four-four stuff, but it’s club music and for me that’s the future of dance music.” Locally, he picks Collarbones, Thrupence, Polographia and Elizabeth Rose as upcomers he’s a fan of. “There’s quite a few talented people working away so I’m keen to see what the future holds.”

I asked Astral People promoter Vic Edirisinghe why he booked Flume for boutique festival OutsideIn. “Sorry if I’m waffling, I've known him for a while before all this madness so I’ll always have a soft spot for him,” his disclaims straight off the bat. “I came across Harley a while back when a mate of mine sent me a link to his Soundcloud. There were only two tracks that got my attention on there at the time – an Onra remix and Sleepless. The others on there were decent but in a world where beatmaker producers are only going from strength to strength and seem to be only getting younger and younger, these tracks could easily fall into the pile of 'decent' but nothing more. Sleepless on the other hand was versatile. He could easily one day become one of the go-to producers for the big timers from the versatility he has already shown us in his early years.”

But for now, Harley’s main focus is the album. “I’m so fucking excited,” he says when the tape’s stopped rolling. With good reason – it’s a sublime release. The collaboration On Top with LA rapper T-Shirt is a sure hit, as is the hook-up with fellow local fast-riser Chet Faker. ““A good mate showed me Chet Faker’s No Diggity and from there checked out more of his stuff,” he explains when I ask how the collaboration came about. “I wrote this beat and I was like, man this needs a vocal, who would be good for it? I sent him the track and he came back with something. We went back and forth a few times and that’s it. We had this track done.”

If it sounds like a relatively speedy process, that’s because it is. “I’ve cracked the code to writing good music,” he says – a declaration that comes out less cocky than it reads. “I used to have to wait for inspiration, but now I’ve figured out a mental process where I can get myself inspired if I’m not. I’ve got processes for my production where I can get ideas out fast and not get caught up on things. It’s only the last few months or so I’ve realised how to write good music quickly. It’s hard to explain. But I’ve had this mental thing that I’ve just unlocked.”

So how does Harley feel about his “next big thing” tag? “It’s pretty nuts,” he smiles. “It took me a little while to get my head around it. If you asked me that three months ago, I would have been like, no…it hasn’t sunk in yet. But now it’s started to sink and it’s really fucking cool. I just hope they’re right!” If there was any doubt of that, Future Classic’s Chad puts things in perspective. “It’s worth noting that Harley’s first Flume gig was November 2011 supporting New Navy for their EP launch,” he pointed out. “Things have moved pretty quickly in that 12 month period!” They sure have.

Flume album teaser

Flume is released on November 9 through Future Classic. You can pre-order the album through iTunes now.

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