Flume has avoided tra­di­tional av­enues to cre­ate hit al­bum, writes Kathy McCabe

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

HAR­LEY Stret­ten’s award ac­count has al­ready en­joyed some hefty bonuses. The artist known as Flume opened it with the pres­ti­gious ar­ti­san award for ARIA Pro­ducer of the Year and seven more nom­i­na­tions which will be an­nounced at Sun­day’s event.

It was wholly de­serv­ing – and ap­pro­pri­ate – that last week he added the J Award for Al­bum of the Year for his self-ti­tled de­but record.

Take out the nom­i­nated artists who have been of­fer­ing mu­si­cal wares for a decade or so and in­dus­try ob­servers have nick­named the 2013 awards the Triple J and X Fac­tor ARIAs.

De­spite its rat­ings, The Voice did not have any im­pact on the ARIA vot­ers.

Flume, along­side Tame Im­pala, Matt Corby, The Rubens, Vance Joy, Seth Sen­try, Abbe May, Emma Louise, San Cisco and Boy and Bear will com­pete for gongs against tele­vi­sion-lead artists Guy Sebastian, Sa­man­tha Jade, Jus­tice Crew and Ti­mo­matic.

Some­where in the mid­dle of the Triple J and com­mer­cial pop di­vide are the artists who main­tain their loyal fan­bases re­gard­less of whether or not their lat­est wares make it on to ra­dio playlists.

Nick Cave, Keith Ur­ban, Missy Hig­gins, Sarah Blasko, Birds Of Tokyo, Bob Evans, Josh Pyke and Bliss N Eso are among those who will fig­ure in the ARIA nom­i­na­tions most years by virtue of con­sis­tently strong al­bums.

Flume cred­its Triple J’s sup­port for tak­ing his self­ti­tled de­but al­bum to a wider au­di­ence but in­sists the so­cial me­dia strat­egy of his in­de­pen­dent la­bel Fu­ture Clas­sic started the fan ball rolling.

‘‘There re­ally is no other ra­dio sta­tion in Aus­tralia that backs Aus­tralian mu­sic,’’ Har­ley says.

‘‘What else is there be­sides X Fac­tor con­tes­tants and I don’t mean to diss them, I’m just talk­ing about peo­ple push­ing mu­sic from Aus­tralia.’’

Flume’s suc­cess is even more re­mark­able con­sid­er­ing its fierce in­de­pen­dence, recog­nised at this year’s AIR Awards. His al­bum is pre­dom­i­nantly in­stru­men­tals with a hand­ful of tracks fea­tur­ing un­known vo­cal­ists in­clud­ing Chet Faker, Jez­z­abell Do­ran, Moon Hol­i­day and Ge­orge Maple.

‘‘We spent hardly any money with the al­bum but we were smart about how we spent it,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s cool to point out to other la­bels that this mu­sic was cre­ated in my bed­room and cafes around the world with a lap­top and a set of head­phones and mar­keted by a smart so­cial me­dia strat­egy – it didn’t cost much.

‘‘It’s an al­bum of in­stru­men­tal tracks so the idea of win­ning ARIAs was not a thing – to get the pro­ducer one was pretty spe­cial. I am down for win­ning as many as I can get.’’

Re­lent­less tour­ing has a huge im­pact on Flume’s al­bum sales. The record en­joys chart spikes af­ter fes­ti­val ap­pear­ances and his own shows.

Triple J also kept the home­fires burn­ing for another ARIA mul­ti­ple nom­i­nee, Tame Im­pala, and their world-con­quer­ing al­bum Loner­ism. It fin­ished top of al­most ev­ery crit­ics’ list in 2012 (it was re­leased in Oc­to­ber) and won last year’s J Award.

Front­man Kevin Parker seems equal parts be­mused and ex­cited about the ARIAs nom­i­na­tions.

‘‘No one makes a record to win awards, oth­er­wise it would make you an­a­lyse it even more than you al­ready would,’’ Parker says. ‘‘But things like the WAM is and the ARIAs have been things that bands I re­ally looked up to won.

Both Flume and Tame Im­pala have been fly­ing the flag for Aus­tralian mu­sic in­ter­na­tion­ally along­side a host of other break­ing bands in­clud­ing The Rubens and Shep­pard.

Parker says mu­si­cians all over the world are jeal­ous of our Triple J.

‘‘It has been com­pletely vi­tal for us. They are the main artery for dis­trust­ing al­ter­na­tive mu­sic through­out Aus­tralia. Who knows what would have hap­pened to us but I am pretty sure noth­ing would have got started with­out airplay,’’ he says.

Pro­moter Michael Chugg, back into the lo­cal band busi­ness with Chugg Mu­sic and rep­re­sent­ing Shep­pard, Deep Sea Ar­cade, Lime Cor­diale, The Gris­wolds and Hey Geron­imo, be­moans the lack of airplay Aus­tralian mu­sic gets on com­mer­cial ra­dio.

He be­lieves the ARIAs would have more rel­e­vance to the wider pub­lic if more artists played on the main­stream air­waves of the 2Day and Nova net­works.

‘‘Aus­tralian mu­sic is get­ting at­ten­tion over­seas but we can’t solve the puz­zle of why they aren’t played at home,’’ Chugg says.

‘‘It’s pretty sad and ridicu­lous re­ally and you could go on and on about it. The bands that are do­ing well over­seas are do­ing well with their songs and yet those same songs won’t be played here.’’

The 2013 ARIA Awards: Sun­day, 7.30pm, Go!; Flume: The In­fin­ity Prism Tour: Sun­day, 10.30pm, Go!

Flume’s Har­ley Stret­ten

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.