GDD™ Exclusive Interview w/ Calvin Harris.

Last weekend was probably one of the most fun I’ve had in a while. Parties, pool parties, and oh yeah, a backstage interview with Calvin Harris at the Vanguard! David (Deeznasty) and I were lucky enough to have a few words with the contemporary king of pop/electronic fusion, and to no surprise, the dude was a legend. Humble and sincere, witty and friendly, tall and Scottish. Mr. Harris left his microphone at home for this show, but he played one hell of a DJ set, keeping the dancefloor completely packed for nearly 2 hours. So let’s get to it so all y’all dirty dancers can meet the man with the super sicky sparkly sunglasses.
Gotta Dance Dirty™ (jonahberry): So Calvin Harris how was your plane ride into LA tonight? Good?
Calvin Harris: It was alright, you know, we flew in 5 hours ago, went to the hotel…I got some spaghetti bolognese…
GDD (jb): Nice! I was going to ask you what meal you had…
CH: You know the sauce was lacking to be honest with you. They did have big chunks of tomato which was good…quite a good move, but ya I was ready to sleep, but I was fighting it and fighting it ’cause I was coming here in a couple hours. I ended up just laying in bed with my eyes shut but not sleeping for about an hour and a half. And now I’m on the Red Bull and it’s OK I’m getting there…So I’m alright ya…
GDD (deeznasty): Awesome, well we know that you’ve done a lot of collaborations in the past with a lot of different, diverse artists and we’re wondering who you’ve been the most excited to work with and if there’s any future collaborations that you’re particularly excited about…
CH: Umm, I think the ones in the past that have certainly been the most successful as well are the ones with Dizzee Rascal. I did the two songs with him. The first one kind of took us by surprise it did really well in the UK, really really well…
GDD (deez): It was #1 for a while…
CH: It was. So that was really good it was kinda nice because there was no A&R, managerial, breathing over the neck situation. It was just us doing what we wanted to do. That’s why it did so well as a result, not having to change any parts of the song. You know when you do pop songs they always ask you to change. They always make the song, you know…they want to put their stamp on it and ruin it. That didn’t really happen with that track. We did another one and it just kinda gave us the freedom to do what we wanted to do.
GDD (deez): Ya it’s good to be on top (laughing). Is there anyone you’re looking forward to working with? 
CH: There’s only one person I’m working with in the future right now and that’s Katy Perry. In fact, in December I’m coming back over here…
GDD (jb): Excellent. So you’re from Scotland, obviously, how did that music scene affect your style of music when you first started up?
CH: Well, where I grew up there wasn’t any kind of scene. I was in a very small town, a kinda agricultural town. There’s farms, there’s cows, and there’s a lot of pubs (laughing). But there’s no clubs, certainly no dance music scene, so for me I was very isolated in that world, you know, I had the radio and that was about it. I locked myself away in my bedroom and just did music…
GDD (jb): So do you see a lot of big differences when you come across the pond to the LA electronic scene?
CH: I don’t think so. It’s a much smaller world than what it used to be. There’s definitely differences in the crowds I suppose. Umm, but I don’t know…I’m better known where I’m from I’m obviously not that well known over here…
GDD (jb): I don’t know about that…(laughing)
CH: Well…I don’t know if it’s that or what…It’s all good though, there’s been no bottles thrown at me (laughing)
GDD (deez): In your new album “Ready For The Weekend“, was there anything specific you were trying to capture?
CH: Ya, well I wanted it to be a really pop album. I wanted it to be song-based. But I wanted it to kind of reference dance music that I listened to when I grew up, like when I was 14 or 15. So late 90’s, you know, either trance sounds or even more Armand Van Helden kinda…You know just big moments, big “hands up in the air” moments, but also pop songs so…it’s funny it’s definitely been embraced by the pop world back home but it’s also pissed a lot of dance purists off.
GDD (deez): Well you got those sexy vocals and those huge hooks, man, I’m a sucker for it…(laughing)
GDD (jb): So how did you come up with the Humanthesizer I’ve been very curious…
CH: Awww you know what this is going to ruin your day if you like it but personally I hate it. It’s what happens when you hand your music over to major record labels and they try to think of a way to market it. You know I go about my business in the studio. People who are paid to have ideas have ideas and they kinda brought me in ’cause I have to. That whole thing…I saw it and I thought “Right ok, that could be good. That could be good.” And I saw that it was written that there would be loads of girls and stuff…
GDD (jb): Did you get to pick all of them out?
CH: Well no this is the thing right, this is where I’m very misunderstood. This is a good idea right,  but I didn’t think the girls should be in bikinis. I think everything should be really serious. I should be in a labcoat and I should have goggles on. But then I got there and they were all wearing pink wigs as well which I lost, and it was too late for the bikini thing. And so I stood there in the room and I couldn’t bring myself to say that and compromise my sexuality. So I went ahead with it but, you know, it was just a shitty little thing and I don’t like it one bit. You know it got so many views and I think ultimately the idea, the actual concept of the thing was amazing but it was kinda ruined by the tackiness that was brought in by the girls in the bikinis. But I was the one that got the blame for the girls in the bikinis. I was the guy that brought in the shit element of the video which I was kinda gutted about ’cause I hated that element. So it just pissed me off, and then you know I get asked about it a lot. At first I played along and pretended it was my thing, but now I just say “Look,” and say what I’ve just said.
GDD (jb): So we can go on record with that? (laughing)
CH: Ya of course! I can talk for hours about that…
GDD (deez): Besides this interview right here, do you have any specific pre-gig rituals?
CH: At the moment, Red Bull is as standard as turning up. It’s ridiculous.
GDD (deez): What kind of mindsets do you get in? Is it just like “I’m gonna blow the socks off of these kids?”
CH: Ya it’s more just like “Wake up, wake up, wake up.” (laughing)
GDD (deez): I’m sure you get up there and get high off of the crowd…
CH: No it’s good. It’s nice. I don’t really get that hyper when I’m DJing though to be honest with you. I find it really difficult to go crazy. In the UK, I do shows with the band a lot and I do a lot more than DJing. It’s a lot easier to feed your ego that way because they’re your songs. You can go crazy to your songs…I feel comfortable with the fact that I did the whole thing and I can go, “Yes, look at me. I’m amazing.” But when it’s this kind of thing, although I know a lot of DJs go crazy, you know they crowd-surf, they go nuts which is amazing, but I could never justify doing that to myself. I just can’t do it! No, honestly I would love to go mental. I’d love to do the crowd-surfing thing but I just don’t have that personality so…
GDD (jb): So what would Calvin Harris be doing if he wasn’t a DJ?
CH: I imagine I’d still be stocking shelves right now…
GDD (jb): You used to work at Marks and Spencer right?
CH: I did a number of jobs. And it wasn’t fun.
GDD (jb): Ya I bet your job now gets a little more excitement…What did you want to be when you grew up?
CH: I went through a fireman stage. I think everyone does at some point.
GDD (deez): Did you get in a lot of trouble as a kid?
CH: No! I was shy. When I was much younger I was funny. I was the funny kid. And then I went to the next school with the bigger, funnier kids. And I was like “Shit!” So ya I just kind of went “Oh shit, I’m just not gonna say anything,” so I didn’t say anything for ages. (laughing)
GDD (jb): Alright so we got one more. Our blog is called Gotta Dance Dirty. What do you think about dancin’ dirty? You think you gotta at some point?
CH: Dancing dirty? Well what do you mean?
GDD (deez): Whatever you want it to mean…
CH: Like R. Kelly style?
GDD (deez): Like peeing on girls? That’s his style. (lots of laughing. obviously)
CH: I don’t know. You know I think if there’s consenting adults involved in dancing dirty then go ahead and do that. (laughing)
GDD (jb): Well Calvin thank you so much we really appreciate it and you are definitely loved in LA.

And as always, here’s a few oldies but goodies to get you through the day…


Make sure you go buy Calvin’s music at Beatport and iTunes!

Comments

Comments

7 Responses to GDD™ Exclusive Interview w/ Calvin Harris.

  1. sweet d says:

    what about his favorite drink?? kidding. but i was glad to read that he thought the bikinis in the humanthesizer were tacky. what a gent :)

  2. Alexander says:

    david… u cant talk to calvin harris about peeing on girls…

  3. Anonymous says:

    I'm sure you could have asked better questions. The humanthesizer conversation was the only interesting part. It demonstrates how controlling some record labels can be.

  4. Belinsky says:

    Good interview!

  5. Justin says:

    Great interview. His remix of Katy Perry's "Waking Up In Vegas" has been in constant rotation this summer. Calvin Harris is probably my favorite remixer right now.

  6. stevie.e says:

    anonymous, what would have been better questions? seeing as how it was an impromptu backstage interview, I think they got some fucking golden answers.

  7. Anonymous says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLZHe2Q-rFc&feature=related Calvin Harris played this song too…pls tell me the title of this music!thx

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