Second Weekend June 29 - July 2
“It was a crazy journey,” says Flume - aka 25-year old Australian producer Harley Streten - of his 2012 self-titled debut’s international success. “I was just some quiet kid in high-school and all of a sudden I got dropped into the deep end. Physically and mentally. It was a huge shock to the system.”
“Shock” plays a significant role on Flume’s often-outrageous second album, Skin. Released in May 2016, the musician’s wildly eclectic LP is a meticulously crafted, vivid universe of grand emotions woven into a densely cinematic whole. With good reason - its creation mirrors the complex rush of sensations that came with sudden success.
“It used to be just writing for myself but now there is an audience,” says Streten. A sizeable one. As Flume attracted millions of new listeners, Streten’s live show became a major draw at international festivals, including Coachella, Reading, Leeds, Pukkelpop, Bonnaroo, and a slot at Rock en Seine in Paris that drew 40,000 fans. The flow-on effect was inevitable. “I wanted to keep the next album at a certain high energy,” he says of the build up to Skin. “That experience definitely influenced the new stuff a lot.”
After slowly beginning work on the album as far back as late 2013, Streten’s breakthrough came in mid-2015 when he shifted to LA for three months of solid work. That inclination to push himself has been handsomely rewarded. In 2016 Flume sold out all 300,000 tickets of his world headline tour, including more than 80,000 headline tickets in Australia alone. His stretch through the US included closing the outdoor stage at Coachella 2016; drawing 70,000 to his Lollapalooza set in Chicago; multiple sold out nights at The Shrine in LA, the Bill Graham Civic in San Francisco, and iconic sell-outs at Red Rocks CO and Forest Hills NYC.
Critical acclaim followed. Skin has been nominated for the coveted Best Dance/Electronic Album at the upcoming 2017 Grammy Awards, and lead track, "Never Be Like You" featuring Canadian singer Kai, is nominated for Best Dance Recording. It follows the track’s success at US radio, where it was a Top 10 single and has since gone Platinum, on the way to clocking a staggering 257 million plays on Spotify. Third single, ‘Say It’, featuring Tove Lo, is close behind, having reached 146 million plays on Spotify.
Despite Skin featuring an incredible array of guest vocalists – including Beck, Tove Lo, Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano, MNDR, AlunaGeorge, Australian newcomer Kučka, Canadian MC Allan Kingdom, US rappers Vince Staples, Vice Mensa, and Raekwon of Wu-Tang fame, and Kai – the success of Stretan’s meticulous sonic creation has proven a profoundly personal victory.
“The point of being an artist is to be yourself,” says Streten. “Not to please people but to make stuff that doesn’t exist. Following my instincts is what got me to this point. I want to make things that sound like nothing else out there.”
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