DJ Harvey made his name scratching and specialising in re-edited up-beat, feel-good house tracks. Now he’s one of the biggest names in the business. And it’s a big business.
Collaborating with Gerry Rooney in the early 90s, DJ Harvey produced the now legendary Black Cock label, putting out re-edits of Balearic disco beats. Pioneer of fun house with a jazz funk undertone, he’s King of the mix, blending old and new house tracks, releasing left-field compilations and fronting club nights such as Sarcastic Disco. Harvey is currently lying low and has taken self imposed exile to Hawaii, using the time away to produce new material. His new work ‘Locussolus’ is a collection of remixes including tracks by Andy Weatherall, Soulclap, Emperor Machine, Lindstrom and Prince Thomas. Creatively rejuvenated from the sun and sea air of Hawaii, Harvey is ready once again to set dance floors on fire, starting the DJ circuits across UK and Europe. The last time i-D had a dose of hard house Harvey was in 2008 in the i-Disco Issue, so it was a treat to catch up again…
What’s been the toughest thing about the exile in Hawaii? Nothing too tough about an exile in Hawaii. For an English man, the mix between Hawaii 5-0, Thomas Magnum, and Dog the Bounty Hunter is a paradise. Throw in some world class surf in warm water, fresh fish and a sweet little night club, and there’s nothing too harsh about that! Plus theres 49 other States to explore.
When are you planning the big homecoming party? I can’t wait to get back to Blighty, I hear an English accent these days and come over all warm and fuzzy. We’ll have a decent homecoming bash with old and new friends and family. I’ve been really busy with this second tour of Japan, spreading some love over there, but my feet are killing me, I’m now about to leave for Europe with some great dates, Worldwide Festival, Panorama Bar, Paris. I’ll get to England some time within this next year but I want to set it up right and make it super nice and special.
How on earth did you end up recording for a record label in Uruguay? Basically Mark was passionate and professional and made me a offer I couldn’t refuse. An opportunity to write and release my Locussolus project in the right way to do it justice. Heidi and him keep things pretty nice.
When did you record the tracks on Locussolus and start producing? As we speak this collection of Locussolus singles is close to release, with the remixes of Andy Weatherall, Soulclap, Emperor Machine, Lindstrom and Prince Thomas even a couple we’re giving away. I work with Josh “something” Marcy at Mophonics in California. It’s pretty much been a year of output that’s led to this point. I’ve been producing other music since my teens and just getting the confidence to put it out really, I’ve done some nice remixes this year, I think it’s time for another sabbatical.
Are you always recording music as well as DJ’ing? My life is swings and roundabouts between the two. I don’t produce when I’m on the road, but blocks of time are made available for production between my DJ gigs. I love both and doing it like that keeps it interesting.
Do you think we’ll ever see the 1210’s disappear from the DJ booth? The million dollar debate, I play vinyl, I love vinyl, but I burn and play CDs because I get new things upfront that might not see the light of day on vinyl for a while, if at all. The quality of most digital files can be pretty bad really unless you get a master, but all formats can exist as one happy family. I appreciate you want a digi file for your iPod or car or whatever. But when people go out I think as DJs we should offer people more than they can get in their living room.
How do you feel about vinyl gradually disappearing from clubs? All the clubs I play are set up to play vinyl, maybe that’s cos’ I have technics on my rider, the technic turntable is a workhorse, a great design. Sometimes I arrive in a booth and the CDJ’s are on top of the technics! I think it’s going to u-turn, and people will want vinyl as the beautiful pieces of art that they are. If you play a kid vinyl, the studymasters that they are, they are all over it, they want it, they realise they’ve been accepting bad sound quality and want the real deal.
What goes in a typical day in the life of Harvey Bassett? I wish I could tell you there was a typical day, it really depends where I am, In Hawaii it’s the club and surfing, in LA it’s bike riding, studio work, catching up with my son on what the kids are really into and hanging out with the crazies on Venice Beach, which I love cos no matter how crazy I might be there’s always someone to out-crazy me, In NY there’s very little sleeping, NY is a young man’s town for sure, I’ve got guitars and stuff there so I can to some good band practice in. I regularly attend the Jack Daniels gymnasium wherever I am.
If you could DJ anywhere, any point in time, where and when would it be? Now, forever, then, there, wherever. I’m not a big believer in ‘it’s not like it used to be’ or dreaming of the impossible. I’m always looking forward to the next gig.
How do you keep fit? 5 am wake up, ice cold shower, two mile soft sand run. 6 am sunrise surf sesh. 8 am breakfast, wheat toast and a spiralena shot. Then contemplation meditation. Lunch, raw pizza (sunbaked of course), double session yoga, hit the studio and create vibrations, take the cat for a walk, dinner might be a sienna steak with spirelena sauce, bed by nine, between 3am and 4am nightmares, and then I’m ready to face another glorious day.
Locussolus is out this week.