'Who the F&^% Is Flume' and How Did He Beat One Direction on the Charts?

FUSE TV - 'Who the F&^% Is Flume' and How Did He Beat One Direction on the Charts?

Austin, Texas is approximately 8,463 miles from Sydney, Australia, but Harley Streten, known to the world as Aussie electronic producer/DJ Flume, will know it well over the next four days. It's the first day of South by Southwest and Streten is still fighting jetlag from the night before, preparing for what seems like 438 different shows and showcases.

He's already huge in his native country, with a 2011 EP and last year's self-titled album both getting wide acclaim (and the latter beating out One Direction on the charts, but more on that later). Now it's time to "conquer," to borrow a phrase so liberally used, America, as the DJ is in the midst of a cross-country tour before touring his home country.

We caught up with the 21-year-old to discuss clueless record label execs, living with your parents and the horrors of working at Hard Rock Cafe. 

Your album came out in Australia on the same day as One Direction last year and you beat them out of the No. 1 spot. This had to be a career highlight, right?

We knew it was coming out on the same day and we were just like, “Straight up, it’s not going to happen. There’s no way we’ll beat them. F-ck that. It’s impossible.” And then it hit No. 1 and it was nuts. I just sat there with a Maker’s Mark on the rocks to celebrate. I was shocked. It was funny because I’d get messages from all these tweens and 1D little girl fans like, “What the f-ck? Who the f-ck’s Flume and why is he No. 1?” That was the best part of it all.  I posted one girl’s tweet. It got a bit heated.

Your bio says you found your first music production program in a cereal box. Is that true or are you already creating some mythic backstory?

[Laughs] It’s totally true. I was shopping with my dad when I was quite young and there was a promotion going on with a CD inside a Nutri-Grain cereal box. It was a simple loop-based program and there was some competition like, “Make a song with this and you can win something.” I thought that sounded cool. The whole concept of how music was laid out in layers and can be broken down, but came out as one piece of music was really intriguing for me.

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