Cape Town - It’s 19:34 on a Monday night and we’re right in the heart of winter.
I’m already wearing my PJs. It’s damn cold and I’m just not a winter person.
I’m sitting at my desk scribbling in my notebook while on the phone waiting to interview Harley Streten – known professionally as Flume. (Yes, like the Bon Iver song.)
He’ll be the headlining act at this year’s Rocking the Daisies music festival. But right now he’s on the other side of the world in sunny Denver, Colorado where he’s prepping for a gig at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
If this were a scene in Sex and the City, I’d be Sarah-Jessica Parker. Having done my homework before the interview I just so happen to know that Harley is actually a fan of the show because his mother and sister used to love watching it and he’d get “dragged” into it as well.
I’m sure not a lot of people can say they’ve interviewed wunderkind Flume whilst in their pajamas. I can’t help but wonder…will this famous and talented muso think I’m unprofessional for wearing my most comfortable pair of flannel pants right now?
But once the interview kicks off, it’s clear that the 25-year-old is a really chill guy and probably wouldn’t even mind if I was wearing my slippers.
When the Daisies line-up was announced last week there was a lot of excitement over Flume’s name atop the list of international acts. Known for his atmospheric, beat driven music the musician and DJ knows how to control a crowd on demand.
STOKED TO TRY THE SA SURF
This will be the Sydney native’s first visit to South Africa and he is stoked to try out the surf and experience his first ever safari.
“These days it’s rare for me to go to a place I haven’t been before. I’m hoping I’ll get to go surfing during this trip and I’m definitely going to go on safari – because…well, you just have to.
“My best friend, who is also on the crew, is actually South African. So I’ll get to hang with him and his family,” Harley says.
Read any interview about Harley and you’ll quickly see that he is a laidback guy who is still firmly in touch with his roots despite his worldwide fame.
In an interview with Nylon magazine last year he talked about growing up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney: “We’d go surfing all the time, and I still do this when I can. That’s probably the thing I miss most when touring. I basically lived there my entire life.”
TRAVELLING IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL
Right now Harley’s life is a calendar and all about travelling between the hottest festivals in the world.
“I actually have a playlist just for flying. That’s when I most like to listen to music. While in an aeroplane or in a car. I obviously get to travel a lot these days but I like exploring new continents and meeting new people. That’s why I’m excited about visiting South Africa.
“Travelling is also great for inspiration. Routine kind of kills creativity so it’s great to get away from that and experience new things. I’m especially inspired by natural beauty.”
But what's the one thing Harley can never travel without? Well, the answer might surprise you: "Obviously I travel with a lot of backups for my laptop. Because I'm paranoid about stuff like that. But I also always need toothpicks. I'm kind of addicted to toothpicks. In fact I have one in my hand right now," he laughs.
SCHOOL BANDS AND MYSPACE
Harley knew from a very young age that he wanted to pursue a career in music. He played saxophone in the school band and had an understanding of how music worked. When he was 14 he went online and watched tutorials. He was later discovered on MySpace by a mentor who taught him a lot about producing music and the industry.
He broke into the industry in 2011 through an original artist competition managed by the Australian record company Future Classic. After that he released his first EP, titled Sleepless. He followed that up with the release of his highly successful self-titled album in 2012 and was quickly crowned a “wunderkind”.
“That word did put a lot of pressure on me. But then again I put a lot of pressure on myself. That motivates me. I think a lot of the pressure that surrounded the release of my second album,” Harley explains.
In May 2016 he released his second album, Skin which was received with positive reviews from critics and fans alike and officially cemented his title as a Grammy winner. “Now I’m finally a lot freer and I’m having lots of fun doing this,” he adds.
Daisies fans are in for a massive treat when Flume takes to the stage just as summer kicks off in South Africa.
“I can’t wait to perform in South Africa!”
The interview ends just as casually as it began with Harley saying goodbye with a very sincere: “That was a great chat. Hope to see you at the show. Take it easy. See ya.”
I put down the phone and celebrate with a little dorky victory dance in my PJs. Fuck yeah. I just spoke to Flume.
Rocking The Daisies takes place from 5 to 8 October at Cloof Wine Estate just outside Darling. Tickets are selling out fast. Get yours here!
Flume will also be hitting the stage at Oppikoppi on the same weekend. More deets here!