- Thu, 2009-02-12 16:32
29 year old Joshua Harvey has been tearing up dancefloors across the globe with his tracks, sets, tunes, re-mixes and productions for some time. Most commonly known as Hervé, he also records, produces and works under many guises such as The Count, Voodoo Chilli, Action Man, Dead Soul Brothers, Speaker Junk and Young Lovers. His bass lines and relentless dancefloor attacks have tumbled into the world of dance music and they are refusing to go away. Not afraid to put his stamp on anything that crosses his path, his remixes include the likes of Lily Allen, Bloc Party, The Chemical Brothers, Mark Ronson, Roisin Murphy and New Young Pony Club (to name a few.)
He is now set to release his debut mix compilation Ghetto Bass, which comprises of 36 tracks spread across 2 CDs. But he is not stopping there. 2009, for dance music, is the year of Hervé. Domino records are soon to release The Count & Sinden album, the debut Hervé artist album is on it's way and there is also a second Machines Don’t Care album bubbling under the surface of his very hectic schedule.
With so much going on, Josh had a lot to talk about and I Like Music was lucky enough to hear what this very hardworking man had to say. From working with Switch, Sinden and Martelo, breakdancing on stage, seeing The White Stripes play their first ever UK gig, to producing tunes and being ripped off on the internet, we covered it all.
"I Like Music because… it just does something to me, it's nice to have that bit of mystery.” Herve
ILM: Your new double CD mix Ghetto Bass is out now, can you describe its vibe?
Josh: Initially, when we talked about doing it they wanted one CD. I wanted to encompass more than what was expected of me, everything that I listen to, play and make. So they trusted me to make a second CD which was great. It represents a lot of stuff that I've made, tunes that I've really been in to. It's just bass music really. That's what myself, Sinden, Jack Beats or Martelo talk about. People always ask us what it is. Don't call it this, that, or whatever. It's just bass music for clubs. That's all I'm interested in when it comes to dance music.
ILM: What was the process behind this mix? How did it come together?
Josh: I work quite quickly. It's like a puzzle. I just get all the pieces together and then work out which ones mix into each other. It's quite easy. I managed to get virtually every tune I wanted for it, so that was good.
ILM: What did you make it on?
Josh: I did it in cuebase. I've DJ'd since I was a young teenager, about 15 years or something, on vinyl. I can do all that. I never switched to CDJ's. I switched from Vinyl to digital because I prefer being able to concentrate on tune selection.
ILM: You record under a variety of different names - The Count, Voodoo Chilli, Action Man, Dead Soul Brothers, Speaker Junk, Young Lovers and Hervé. When do you decide it's right to use each one?
Josh: It's about going into the studio and making tunes and then thinking it would work for a certain name. The Action Man one came about because I was making tunes that didn't really fit into anything else. I made a decision that I wanted to do more techno, but the problem was that I didn't actually like much techno. I like some of the old stuff. I wanted to put it through my own filter as it were. I did one track, then two, then I had a third one and it turned into an EP. I make tunes like a job. By that I mean I do it five days a week. It's what I do. I make about five a week.
ILM: You have The Count and Sinden album coming out. What can we expect?
Josh: Expect the unexpected! Well, there's some things in there that people would expect, but there's some really nice curve balls too, loads of nice club tracks, instrumentals that fit in between the songs. We did loads of songs but we had to balance it out with dance tracks. We just spent time in the studio chosing riffs and samples and things.
ILM: How do you work together?
Josh: Sometimes I start stuff on my own, sometimes Graham (Sinden) does stuff on his own and brings it to me. It's very like that classic thing, he can make tunes but I'm the main producer. He's like the DJ, he has about a hundred million hours...hahaha...of tunes that we trawl through and listen to.
ILM: How did the relationship form?
Josh: It was basically through Switch. Long stroy short, I met him through a friend. We used to chat on i-chat a lot. I don't really do it anymore, it takes up so much time. But we were chatting and got on really well, he signed my first Count of Monte Cristal EP on a label that he is not running anymore. I eventually asked him over to make some tunes. He came, and we spent four days making the first Count of Monte Cristal and Sinden EP. It just sprang from there.
ILM: These days the internet has a love/hate relationship. How has the internet affected you and your music?
Josh: Well. People downloading and taking my stuff for free is not good. Maybe people think I have my own label and it's making me rich. It's not at all. People need to understand that things will disappear. Yes, people will always make music, but if you don't support them, they will disappear. Think about how many indie record shops are left? How places like Zavvi and Virgin have disappeared. If someone told you that ten years ago, you would never have believed them. I believe that if things don't sort themselves out, there will be a price to pay for all of this. People are taking stuff, you need to pay it back a bit. It erks me, that these cretins think that I should do it for free? Well, they should do their job for free! The people that do this, and that are sucessfull at this, work really hard at it. It's not a dalliance. It's a real job. It's work.
ILM: Perhaps people have a slightly warped view of musicians, thinking that every single one of them is loaded? That as soon as you release a tune you get a cheque in the post?
Josh: Exactly. It's not easy. I love what I do, I don't want to knock it. But all these artists are being pillaged by these people who, I don't know, think it's funny? Or cool? I want to keep doing it, keep putting records out, but it needs to be possible. People have got a different opinion on how things are. They think I'm rich or something? I don't know why! All these progressive, weird things that don't get on the blogs, they sell shit loads. I mean, if you look at the beatport top ten....weird?! But it's what people are buying.
ILM: I suppose something has to happen, it's just a case of what and when.
Josh: Yeah. There's no policing. It's not given any respect. It's just left to be pillaged online. I think blogs are great. They introduce new music to people. But I became skeptical of them when they started to refuse putting samples online. They wanted full tracks to give away, rather than three or four mixed together. Well, why do you want full tracks? They want to draw people to their site, it becomes all about them. I thought they were in it because they loved music and wanted to tell people about it. Not because they wanted to bring traffic to their sites.
ILM: The internet offers almost instant acess to such a variety of information. I suppose it becomes competitive to get noticed?
Josh: It does, but shouldn't be about that. Journalistically, I think it's cool that they are saying 'Listen to this! Listen to this!' But then there are things like this Dutch website, which had my whole Machines Don't Care album up, and they had the sampler above it! I was like, are you thick? This is the sampler! We wanted to give something away, for people to hear parts of it, but, f**king hell, what are you doing to us? You're giving away somebody elses work. I don't think it's fair. I know the blogs do great things, but it's that attitude. I make the effort to give them something, so that if they want, they can write about it, but I can't just give the whole thing away. I don't know.
ILM: Well, one thing they can't give away is your live sets. Which moves us nicely on to my next question! Lol! How do you prepare for your sets?
Josh: It's quite simple to prepare. A lot of it is just coming up with new tracks, things you can only hear if you see me DJ. I like doing that. Weird bootlegs too, like the Metallica thing. I like to play things by people I know, people that are my friends or people that are on my label. They're on my label because I like what they do.
ILM: Do you have a favourite club to play at?
Josh: Fabric. From a selfish point of view, the booth there is fantastic. The monitors are really loud and clear. The soundsystem is great. You know the people are feeling that bass through the floor.
ILM: Is there a track at the moment that will make it into all of your sets without fail?
Josh: Yeah. I've got this track called Who Da Champ which is a Hervé track. Four or five people have got that. It's got quite big, so I'm going to put that out on 12 hopefully. Also another one by Jack Beats which is called K-Hole. It's amazing. It's going to be their first single, it's so brilliant. It's so Jack Beats. I like finding people like that, when you play it, everyone knows straight away who it is by. They have their own sound, it's really exciting.
ILM: What's your earliest musical memory?
Josh: When I was really young there was all kinds of music around me. My dad was into rock and blues. My mum was more into the other side of things like pop, dance music and some weird stuff as well. I have three brothers, and we also had loads of foster brothers and sisters, so we had loads of musical influences coming through the house. A lot of the kids were coming from London, so they were bringing new sounds with them. It was always around me and I always wanted to do something with it.
ILM: How did you get into DJing?
Josh: I used to make little mixtapes when I was really young with pop tracks and all my records. I made them for the family when we went on holiday! Then I started learning to play the drums. Then my drum teacher moved away so I kind of stopped learning. Then I learnt to play piano, then guitar. I wish I persisted a bit more with them, so that I was at a higher standard now. I get bored of things. But I got an idea of how those things worked. So I had a musical grounding. I started making music with a few keyboards. Then I saved up and got a sampler. Started making loads of tunes on my own at home.
When I moved to London, I met Seba from Dead Soul Brothers. We initially did a band together called Klint. We did the soundtrack for Snatch. Some EPs. At that point in our lives, we found ourselves not getting on, so I left the band. I went and did a degree. Started my own label. Worked on lots of other weird, little electronica and electro projects. A couple of distributors went down when I was working on that label. I was bumping along, making music to make money while at uni. When they went down and didn't pay me, that just cleared me out.
Then I met Switch and started playing him all of my house-y stuff and my other projects. He was really intrigued. He just said 'I want to put your records out, I'm really interested to see where you go.' He's always been a big supporter of my stuff. Then I met Graham, and Trevor, we did Speaker Junk for a bit, but that's a name that's not really used anymore, we don't record under it. Then I set up Cheap Thrills, the label.
ILM: You have so many projects, so much going on...
Josh: Yeah! I'm trying to narrow it down! Hopefully once all these releases are out, I will be able to calm it down a bit and focus on the Hervé projects.
ILM: What advice would you offer for anyone looking to get into the music industry?
Josh: Firstly, be patient. People rush to get their records out there really early, they then fill the market with loads of bad music. You can get records out easily now, but you should be patient, wait until your f**king great, then do it. The rewards are a lot better if you're a bit patient and you sound like you rather than somebody else. I'm so tired of all these people that sound like myself, Trevor and Dave. It's nice, it's flattering. But I hear so much of it, I can't bear it! My philosophy is to try and make new music exciting, or interesting. When people send me things which are a photocopy of what I do, rather than something which represents the philosophy behind what I do, it gets to me. You need to be yourself. It sounds corny but...
ILM: Well, it only sounds corny because it's been repeated a lot of times. And it's only been repeated a lot of times because it's true...
Josh: Absolutely. It's perserverence. It's hard work and it's also talent.
ILM: What music are you listening to at the moment?
Josh: I really like Zombie's stuff. He's sent me a lot of stuff, demos and things, because I signed him. I'm trying to do an album with him hopefully, we'll wait and see. I really like the Animal Collective. I got into Panda Bear recently, it's really great. Also, that Motown Top 50 compilation, it's three CDs, it's just been put out and it's amazing! It's so good! It's just a massive sing-a-long session! It's brilliant! Also, there is a rock band called Health from LA who are really good. It's difficult to find the time to listen to everything....
ILM: Out of all the live gigs / DJ sets you have seen, which will you never forget?
Josh: Wolfmother at Notting Hill Arts Club. The first time they played in the UK. My little brother said 'We've got to go and see them, apparently they're well heavy.' Haha! So we went down and saw them. They were f**king brilliant! They were jet lagged, they all looked a bit bamboozled by the whole thing, but they blew me away. Everyone was just like 'Oh my God, they sound like Led Zeppelin' and yeah, they do sound like Led Zeppelin, but I like it. It's enjoyable, there's no need to get all uptight. I mean, Oasis sound a bit like The Beatles, but they're still Oasis. Also, The White Stripes, when they played at the 100 Club. Again my little brother was like, you have got to go and see them. I got the last ticket! I tried to buy two and there was only one left! And it was their first UK show and it was just unbelievable, absolutley awesome.
ILM: What about your own gigs? Out of all that you have played which are the most memorable?
Josh: Bestival. Not last year but the year before. It was with Trevor Loveys, it was one of the last shows we did as Speaker Junk. That was hilarious! We were absolutley smashed. We were just chasing each other around the stage, doing embarassing break dancing! It was just a lot of fun! A bloke came up to us after and said 'That was amazing! Is that what you do?' And I was just like 'What are you talking about, is that what I do?' Hahahah! He thought we were putting on a deliberate show, but we weren't. Haha! There have been so many good gigs, it's difficult, they all kind of blur into one as well...
ILM: Haha! Brilliant, thanks!
Josh: Ooo - one last thing. I do listen to OneRepublic quite a lot. Stop and Stare and Apologise. It's slightly embarassing. Everyone hates me for listening to it! Just thought I'd share that with you!