For several years now, under a variety of monikers, Joshua Harvey has been influencing the growth of electro in Europe, featuring heavily on the blogs and playing to packed out venues, all the while running a successful record label: Cheap Thrills
. Whether it be as Herve
, Action Man
, Voodoo Chilli
, Young Lovers
, or The Count of Monte Cristal
, Harvey has proven to be a versatile producer at the very height of his game. This month Herve and Trevor Loveys
aka Speaker Junk
, released their Loopmasters
sample pack, giving budding producers the chance to replicate the o so sweet “Bass Heavy House” that Herve destroys dancefloors with. On Thursday we were lucky enough to catch up for a chat with him, and here’s how it went:
GottaDanceDirty™: You’ve had a phenomenal year, firstly let’s start with your record Mega, it was pushed back quite a bit. How long did it take you and Sinden to put together and do you see this as a relationship of multiple albums together?
Josh Harvey: Yeh definitely, we are like a band. We’re signed as a proper act to Domino, so we’re going be doing at least two more albums together.
GDD™: That’s great to hear, and of course you had ‘After Dark’ which was a massive hit this summer, how did your collaboration with Mystery Jets come about?
JH: Well basically, Kai [Fish] the bassist of Mystery Jets used to live two doors down from me before I moved to where I am now. Will [Rees] was always around Kai’s and Sinden is obviously always around mine recording. Both Will and Kai are DJs and they had a vague idea who we were, played our tunes and stuff, and we just became really close friends with them. We were constantly talking about collaborating: “We wanna get you on the album”. So it came to crunch time at the beginning of this year and we all said “come on then, let’s do it”, and although it was the last track we recorded for the Count & Sinden album, we released it as our first single because everyone just fell in love with it.
GDD™: Huge track man, we really enjoyed it. You’re known to have one of the most unbelievable work ethics of any electronic producer out there. I’ve not known anyone to produce as many tracks as you in a single year. How do you manage to pull that off and still run a label?
JH: I think you answered it right there. I think I just have a strong work ethic, I just force myself to get in the studio. There’s stuff that works out, and there’s stuff that doesn’t work out, but the more I work, the more proficient I get at creating my music. And when I’m not in the studio, maybe when I’m doing label work, A&R, stuff like that, ideas just come into my head of a style that I want to do, and then I’m off. I don’t really sit in the studio twiddling my thumbs, waiting for inspiration. I only go in there to make tracks, so its quite productive – I think about the tracks before I put them together a lot of the time.
GDD™: Do you have a specific formula for your tracks then?
JH: No, not really. Other than that 80% of the time I think of a concept or idea of how I want it to sound before I go into the studio. The other 20% is going in and starting from scratch, I don’t really have a formula. I just see what happens, and whatever comes out, I put under one of the names I record as.
GDD™: Right, so when you collaborated earlier this year with Fatboy Slim on your Machine’s Don’t Care project, how did that come about, was it just the two of you in a studio bouncing ideas around, or did you both go in with specific ones?
JH: He’d been listening to my tracks, and playing them a lot. He just got in touch with me and said: “I’d like to do some tunes with you”. I was like: “Great! I’d love to, that’d be really fun,” and it took a while for us to get together as he was really busy. But once he was free, he’d come over, and we’d sit in the studio every couple of weeks and throw ideas around. We did about 3 or 4 tracks, but this one was the one he really wanted to release. We had a really good time.
GDD™: A couple of us have wanted to know for a while now, how do you manage to keep all your aliases so consistent. Surely it would be easy to kill one off, or let a couple fall by the way-side?
JH: Yeh, I mean, I’m sort of going to start slowing that down now, as I’m currently writing my Herve album and working out a deal with a big label for that. It’s taking up some time, so I mean the key thing for me is that I only release records that I think are good and that I feel will make their mark. I mean, as Action Man, I’ve done a few remixes, but I haven’t really released any EPs for a while as I haven’t really come up with anything that I particularly want to put out. Dead Soul Brothers (His side-project with Seba) again, we’re gonna be working on an album next year hopefully. But we did something three years ago that people really liked, it’s just that neither of us have had the time to do it since then. Hopefully soon, we’re going to clear the boards and that will be the next thing after my Herve album.
GDD™: Looking forward to both releases man, very cool. So is there one particular alias besides Herve that you enjoy producing under more than the rest?
JH: No, I think Herve is the one, that’s where it all comes from. That’s the root of everything that’s Herve, that’s the key persona but, I suppose that collaborations are good as they help to take you somewhere else, you know, like Dead Soul Brothers and Count and Sinden. But it’s difficult to say, it depends what mood you’re in, sometimes you’re in the mood for some strange new techno, and other times it’s all about psychedelic folk with multiple harmonies. It just changes every day, every week.
GDD™: So clearly a really versatile set of influences. The electronic scene is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and starting to cross over into mainstream a fair bit.How do you feel about this, and where do you see electronic music heading over the next few years?
: I don’t really feel that electronic music is getting massive exposure, I just feel that there is a little bit more dance music on the radio. It’s not pushing any boundaries, it’s not a revolution at all, I just think you carry on making it whether it’s big or not. If you like making music, you’re gonna make music, I’m not even sure if it is any bigger outside of the rotating four tunes on the radio.
GDD™: Fair enough. Who do you admire in electronic music’s current climate – Someone who’s maybe doing something a bit different from the regular?
: There’s some stuff that I signed that I really like. There’s a kid that I signed called Baxta
, who’s churning out some really good 4/4 stuff, and some dubstep. Loan
, who we recently signed and just put an EP out of his, which is quite interesting. It’s a weird and a bit retro; sounds a bit like Aphex Twin
meets 808 State
meets UK Rave, it’s quite a bizarre mixture that seems to work really well. Steve Mason
from the Beta Band
’s solo album is one of the records I listen to most, at the moment.
GDD™: I’ll take a listen. You’ve got a big following in the US, and I know you don’t enjoy flying too much, but can you see yourself making it out Stateside at any point?
: I don’t like planes, so I just don’t get on them at the moment. But it comes and goes, sometimes I can get on short flights, I’ve never really been on a long flight for more than 3 hours. But I’d love to go to America, I’d love to go to LA, New York, and to all the good places in between, Canada also, I’d absolutely love it. I’m always trying new things: hypnotherapy, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Program), and straight up therapy, just to find out how to conquer it. Nothing so far, but I’m always trying.
GDD™: We’ve definitely got our fingers crossed for you man, good luck with that. We’d love to see you out there. Taking things to a less serious note, but it’s still vital that you answer this one – When you’re on a night out and those Jagerbombs get flowing, do you dance dirty?
: Not really, I drink vodka and I kind of just sway about. Unless my girlfriend’s with me, in which case we just start doing bad R&B dancing, so it’s kind of semi-dirty dancing.
GDD™: Fair enough man, we’ll run with that. Thanks for taking the time, we appreciate it.