The Power 50 continues today with the men behind the success of one of our biggest electronic exports, Flume.
Having cleaned up at the ARIAs and picked up a couple of Grammy nominations with Flume's Skin, this is why Chad Gillard and Nathan McLay have come in at #8.
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8 (last year #8)
chad gillard/nathan mclay
future classic, managing director a&r/founder & managing director
Any year in which Flume releases new music is going to be big for those doing the releasing, and the delivery of the Sydney producer's second album Skin was the clear priority for Future Classic in 2016. (Future Classic founder/managing director Nathan McLay also manages Flume, whose real name is Harley Streten). Coming four years after Streten's life-changing, self-titled debut, Skin is an ambitious 16-track, hour-long work that received almost uniformly positive reviews from the world's top music publications and blogs. One of Future Classic's greatest achievements has been their successful marketing of Flume to those not typically inclined to listen to electronic music, without alienating his traditional clubland audience. His appeal also extends from commercial radio listeners to more discerning music fans. Skin's varied roll call of big name guests, including Vic Mensa, Vince Staples, Beck, AlunaGeorge, Raekwon and Little Dragon, with uber-fan Daniel Johns also co-writing a track, again delivered maximum audience reach.
The album was preceded by the Kai-featuring single Never Be Like You, which peaked at number one on the ARIA chart, spending a massive 40 weeks in the top 50 on its way to quadruple-platinum certification. It also hit number 20 in the US, where it achieved platinum status. Skin debuted at number one in Australia and New Zealand upon its May release, and climbed to number eight in the US and 25 in the UK, adding to Future Classic's impressive international strike rate. To many overseas, Future Classic is the sound of Australian electronic music.
Streten cleaned up on ARIAs night, winning awards for Album Of The Year, Best Independent Release, Best Male Artist, Best Dance Release and Best Pop Release to go with his three ARIA Artisan awards handed out in October, bringing Skin's tally to eight. He's just picked up two Grammy nominations for Best Dance Recording (Never Be Like You featuring Kai) and Best Dance/Electronic Album (Skin). It is yet to shift as many units in Australia as his debut — it is currently sitting at gold certification, compared to Flume's double-platinum — but Future Classic ran a masterful release campaign that skilfully avoided the common pitfalls that typically befall Australian acts attempting to follow a successful first album.
The continued growth of the Flume live show has also been phenomenal, with its carefully managed evolution taking Streten from small club rooms just a few years ago to massive headline sets at Coachella and Splendour In The Grass and his own arena-size Australian tour in 2016. Those dates, which include two sold-out performances at Melbourne's Sidney Myer Music Bowl, will cap an extraordinarily dominant year from Streten and the Future Classic team.
Away from Flume, Future Classic bagged another ARIA award for Flight Facilities' Live With The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra concert album. The production duo of Hugo Gruzman and James Lyell gave their acclaimed collaborative concept another run in September, pairing with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for more rave reviews. They continued their international push with shows in Europe and the US.
Nick Murphy announced he was retiring his Chet Faker project to record under his real name, and shared the first single from his forthcoming second album. Stop Me (Stop You), co-produced by Darkside's Dave Harrington, was premiered by Pitchfork and suggests Future Classic will be behind one of the biggest local albums for the second consecutive year when Murphy drops his follow-up to Built On Glass in 2017. Expect his Laneway Festival performances to be massive.
International markets continue to be a focus for Future Classic. Having cracked the Australian top 50 for the first time with their second album, Jagwar Ma will play a run of shows in the UK in 2017; Hayden James, Ta-ku and Wave Racer were among Future Classic acts to undertake North American tours this year (the latter two respectively dragging labelmates Wafia and Basenji along for the ride); and Charles Murdoch supported Flume on a number of his US dates. And despite its busy year, the label expanded its roster in 2016, with Melbourne-based duo Fortunes the first act to join the company in more than 12 months.