An innate desire to push conventions has propelled Harley Streten—better known as Flume—in a direction that has crowned him as both an electronic pioneer and a Grammy-winning act. After grabbing the Best Dance/Electronic album of the year for sophomore LP Skin, Streten is now up for another milestone Grammy in 2020—securing a nomination in the same category for his comeback album Hi, This is Flume. Leading up to the awards and concluding a pivotal year, Streten opened up in an interview to Billboard about his plans for new music in 2020 and the creative process behind his latest album.
Streten’s return with Hi, This is Flume challenged not only his production boundaries, but also his relationship with music. Self-titling the new LP as a mixtape simultaneously de-stressed the creative process and reset the internal expectations for Streten to match his previous accomplishments.
“I actually wasn’t enjoying doing the music because I was laboring over it so much, I had this anxious energy about ‘Is it as good as it can be?’”
Hi, This is Flume became a journey of letting go for Streten. In juxtaposition to his first two albums which he deemed slaves to a “grand vision,” the mixtape embodied a musical project that embraced “some grit and dirt.”
Although Streten approached the mixtape without a marriage to executed perfection, the complexity of the album’s development surrounding production in the studio, show, and visuals far surpassed the baseline. Specifically, the mixtape’s visualizer saw Streten and Skin artist Jonathan Zawada embark on a seven-day shoot through Australia’s southwest coast.
“We actually were staying in some seriously remote locations. Lots of snakes, lots of spiders, lots of things that can kill you in general. I vividly remember laying in bed one night after shooting. I was on my iPhone, scrolling on Instagram as you do. I saw this silhouette walk over my chest, and it was this huge spider. I let it walk off me and slowly got up. It was a tough getting back to sleep.”
In breaking his own limitations, Streten also recreated his live show to reflect the experimental extremities of his artistic growth. His fusion of production and kilter interactive performance has fascinated audiences at Lollapalooza and other appearances.
“I was getting bored of the show, standing there twiddling knobs, putting my hands up. It didn’t feel challenging … So I was like, ‘How about instead of that, I’m going to put on a theater performance.’”
Streten’s nomination for another Grammy has validated his efforts to reinvent himself on a grand scale. On another, more significant level, his delivered vision has brought him back to a space of clarity in terms of his craft and reinvigorated the meaning of creating.
“At the start of the new year, I’m on a mission. I want to try and write a record in four months. I’m just going to chill until then, and then I’m just going all hands on deck, dedicate to getting it done. I’m planning on doing some traveling solo … Trying to stimulate my creativity as much as impossible. The idea of an album is not so stressful after doing the mixtape. I’m really looking forward to it and seeing what happens, seeing what comes out.”