Monday, 30th October 2017

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A chat with Flume on his Grammy nomination and Martin Garrix on his sonic evolution

I love sound design and just experimenting with new sounds: Flume

By Urvashi Bhattacharya
  • Published 15.01.20, 8:13 PM
  • Updated 15.01.20, 8:13 PM
  • 5 mins read
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"Hi This Is Flume was such an experiment and it is a different format to put together a bunch of songs in a mixtape, playing with new sounds and textures, so it’s cool to see it get recognised for a Grammy!" says Flume. Twitter/ @flumemusic

After a gap of almost three years, in March last year, Harley Edward Streten, aka Flume, released his mixtape Hi This Is Flume, which has secured him a nomination at this year’s Grammy Awards (to be held on January 27) under Dance/Electronic album. The 28-year-old’s live sets usually have a mix of genres, allowing him to experiment with future bass, hip-hop and much more.

Before his Sunburn Goa 2019 gig (December 27-29), The Telegraph had emailed a few questions. Here’s what he said after hitting the ‘reply’ button.

Congratulations on a Grammy nomination. Are you nervous about the big day?

I’m really honoured to even be nominated this year. Hi This Is Flume was such an experiment and it is a different format to put together a bunch of songs in a mixtape, playing with new sounds and textures, so it’s cool to see it get recognised for a Grammy!

Also, is it a dream come true to make your debut as headliner at Ultra Music Festival (to be held in March)?

I’m looking forward to performing the new live show at Ultra, it’s been really interesting seeing the reactions to the show last year. It’s actually been varied, some of the audiences in Paris said that they really liked the dramatic parts of the show, so seeing it with an Ultra crowd should be fun.

People are still going crazy about your mixtape. How does it compare with your previous releases?

The mixtape was such an experiment with so many different sounds and textures, almost a project in sound design and it was also nice not having the pressure of an album to put together with so many new sounds. There’s a bunch of new collaborators there... which was a first time working with lots of them, like Slowthai, JPEGMafia.

The mixtape visualiser done by Jonathan Zawada is inspiring. Is there a story behind it?

Yeah, we spent a couple of weeks out in Western Australia, outside Perth, around some really remote Australian landscapes. It was super inspiring to get off the grid for a bit; the process was quite experimental too. Jonathan’s amazing and comes up with so many ideas, we’re keen to do more of that together next year too.

After a break from your last release, Skin, do you look at the music industry in a different light?

I don’t think about it too much — I’m lucky... after Skin... to be able to experiment a bit more and make music I love and figure out what kind of format it takes after.

Given the different layers your music has, does it become a challenge to recreate it live sometimes?

Yeah! The live show’s been really interesting to put together — this new show’s been fun and I’m doing much more real-world things on stage, and balancing playing various parts of the tracks... with breaking pots and angle grinding on stage. It’s a lot of fun.

We heard that you got a bit “sick of just playing the same songs, standing there, the same moments”. What changes are you making in your live shows?

Yeah the new live show is really out there — it’s been cool seeing how people are reacting so differently to it around the world.

Your music is a cross between future bass, experimental, some hip-hop. How did you find this unique sound?

I love sound design and just experimenting with new sounds. Breaking things, re-creating them, it’s lots of experimentation to get there.

You’ve said that you’re “happy to be called EDM”, but won’t that create a different image of your music to people who are discovering you?

I think the best way is just to listen to the music! If people want to call it EDM that’s okay with me too.

Other than that, you released Rushing Back with Vera Blue and a new EP (Quits) with Reo Cragun. Can you tell us how these collabs happened?

Both came about in really different ways; Celia (Vera Blue) had jumped up to perform at Splendour In The Grass (a music festival in Australia) a couple of years back, and I’ve always been a fan of her music, so Rushing Back came about when she was passing through LA, and we finished it over a few months.

Reo, I’ve been a fan of for a while too, and we got along really well during a session, which led to a bunch more and us having so much music together, we ended up putting together the EP.

It’s been fun having both of them on the road for a few of the festivals too.

What’s next for Flume?

In 2020, I’m doing a few festivals across the US, and I’m excited to get back into the studio and work on some more music.

"I’m not the same person I was six years ago. I was 16 when I released Animals and I’m 23 now so I think my sound evolved as I grew up and that’s pretty normal I believe," says Martin. Shutterstock

The last time The Telegraph spoke with Martin Garrix, he was all set to perform at Sunburn Arena in Calcutta in 2016. This time, one of the headlining acts at Sunburn Goa 2019. The

23-year-old recently launched his new single Hold On (with Matisse & Sadko, featuring Michel Zitron) and is also set to play music for the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament. Here’s more from the man who is #2 in DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs category.

Congratulations on winning an EMA for Best Electronic. How did you celebrate?

I celebrated it in Mexico where I was doing one of my shows.

How are you feeling after your ankle injury. Does it restrict you in any way during you live performance?

I’m much better now, I’m really glad I took the time to recover. I’m definitely more careful with jumping around and I can’t do super high jumps anymore but overall it’s all good.

We’ve noticed a change in your music production from what it used to be six years ago (Animals, Wizard) to what it is now (Used To Love). Why the change?

I’m not the same person I was six years ago. I was 16 when I released Animals and I’m 23 now so I think my sound evolved as I grew up and that’s pretty normal I believe.

I find it important to have a ‘normal, personal life’ and to connect with people that matter the most to me

Martin Garrix

Last time you spoke to The Telegraph about how you wanted to collaborate with Pharrel Williams. How is that coming along?

He’s such an inspiration and makes incredible music. Would be amazing if we can do something together! He can always call me ;)

You upload your vlogs on The Martin Garrix Show. Is it a way to keep your fans updated about yourself?

I think it’s a nice way to include the fans and to give them a look into my life and creative process.

Given the fact that your life is already out there with your music and vlogs, how do you draw that line between personal and public?

The support from my family and friends and their involvement is really important and gives me the chance to lead a normal life. In my downtime I like to hang out with friends at home. I find it important to have a “normal, personal life” and to connect with people that matter the most to me.

We saw the picture of you on a hot-air balloon in Leon. Are you the adventure type?

I’m really lucky I get to travel the world and see so many amazing places. I’m always up for a nice adventure and that hot-air balloon was absolutely incredible.

And can you clarify the pronunciation of your name? It’s not pronounced “Martin”, is it?

No, in Dutch it’s Martijn with a longer pause on the “i”. So it sounds a bit like ‘mar-tain’.

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