DJ Harvey - Locussolus Album - Limited 1/100 Special Release
The man, the myth, the legend! DJ Harvey is widely regarded as a cult figure in the world of dance music. His 'anything goes, as and when he feels it' approach to life and music has created some of the most out of sync, synergistic audio excursions of the past 20 years. His legendary 12 hour DJ sets have left kids in each corner of the globe scrambling for records they heard Harv play the night before!
Having dipped his toe into the world of the Long Player with Thom Bullock on 'Map of Africa' he's now ready to launch his Locussolus album with Uruguay's International Feel Recordings.
Last year, Harvey mania hit Japan with a tour (complete with stage diving), as well as Europe and Australia (no stage diving, but a Keith Moon-esque destruction of his bespoke DJ equipment as the last record played, to 'incite a little excitement and danger') and still found time to fulfill a busy U.S schedule and complete three Locussolus singles. The tracks saw support from as disparate sources as James Holden, Francois K, Tim Sweeney, Trevor Jackson, Rob da Bank and Ivan Smagghe to name a few, as well as being included on many of 2010 best of lists.
The Locussolus album shows Harvey's full vision, all together in one place, for the first time. To complete the journey, amazing remixes from Andrew Weatherall, Lindstrom & Prins Thomas, The Emperor Machine, Time & Space Machine and own Harvey's dubbed out reworkings (and straight from the movie John Carpenter never made)...new track Bloodbath.
LN-CC is proud to announce a very special exclusive package which was available to celebrate the launch of the DJ Harvey's "Locussolus" album. We released a hand numbered 1/100 version of the album, complete with full screen printed artwork not available on the general release. The package came with a sew on bikers patch designed by Harvey. There were only a very small amount of these available to buy on the day of release.
And 10 very lucky people were able to win a signed copy of the album in one of our worldwide competitions.
Our friends at Japanese music website HIGHER FREQUENCY recently caught up with DJ Harvey on the eve of his recent Japanese tour, to discuss the new Locossolus project. This interview is the edited English version.
Many artists cancelled their trip to Japan in light of the earthquake but you decided to come, can you tell us why?
DJ Harvey: I wanted to come straightaway.. I have a good relationship with Japan and Japanese people, I have been coming for many years. I have many friends and also family here - my brother lives here, my nephew lives here .. .so i was a little concerned and i knew that I had the tour coming up so I felt that I must go. I'm not really worried about the earthquake, tsunami or the radioactivity.. I survived Chernobyl, all of Europe was radiated then, and I'm still ok!
You came for a tour last year (2010), which was the first time you had visited Japan in 8 years. What are your thoughts on the Japanese club scene right now in comparison to 8 years ago?
DJ Harvey: I don't really see that much has changed. I've always had a really good reception in the past and I think maybe this last visit was even better than before because I had been away for a long time and this made some more interest. Every club that I played on the tour was very busy, and people were having a good time. I think that the Japanese club scene has always been quite strong, people are very interested in the music. I would say for me, maybe now there is a new generation. When i first came, 20 years or so ago, in 89 or something, it's a whole new generation now - people who are in their early twenties, who are seeing me for the first time. That's the difference. There's still some old-school there, and also a new generation.
What's your expectation of the tour this time?
DJ Harvey: Well, the last tour was very very good, so if we can do the same or better... this time I have even more parties! Last time was twelve parties, this time is sixteen parties! I think that's a hardcore schedule... only I can survive 16 parties (laughs) I think that maybe because of the earthquake people will really want to party and enjoy, to celebrate being alive... I expect a really good feeling, happy feeling.
so last time you came to Japan for a tour, is it correct that you did the tour without drinking any alcohol?
DJ Harvey: Yes, because to get drunk 16 nights in a row, I can do it, but I can't do a professional show. And I want to make sure that I do my best for the people and not be.... fucked up, I think the word is!! (laughs) No, I mean this is very important to me, and I want to be in good condition for the people, so no alcohol and no drugs for the party. Maybe the last party, one bottle of Jack Daniels though!
This tour coincides with the immenent launch of the Locussolus CD - can you tell us a bit about this project?
DJ Harvey: It was ... I don't know... it had been a long time since I had made any original productions. So, I wanted to do something new and original, and the owner of International Feel, he came to me and said, would you like to make some new music. His label is very well-organised, so I said yes, and I didnt really know what music would come out, but I wanted to make something for the dancefloor, and this is what happened! We made three singles, and had the remixes done, and I suppose I don't know what the sound is... it has some old sounds and new sounds...I wanted to use new technology, computer technology to make it modern, but also some analog sounds for old school sounds... so, it's a mix. I'd like to think that its new dance music, modern dance music.
What's the story behind the name Locussolus?
DJ Harvey: The original title is from a French Book, about a surreal artist, it's called Locus Solus - I took the two and put them together to make locussolus, it really means "my special place" or "my special zone". I like the way this looks and sounds, like a Spanish word, but it's made from French. I liked the sound of it, really it doesn't mean too much, it's just a name for this project.
Who else is involved in this project?
DJ Harvey: There's Sam Fox, Heidi Lusardi and Tara - my three Locussolus girls! They help me with it, they say, "this sounds good", I make them do singing and a dancing (laughs)
Was it a chance collaboration?
DJ Harvey: I think so, yes. These are girls in my life, and they come in the studio, I ask them "can you sing this"... "I want it!!!(sings) and I say "yeah"! That's it... just having fun.
The production engineer for the album, Josh, what kind of role does he play?
DJ Harvey: Well, he's a computer expert. I don't know how to operate programs like logic or protools, but he's very good at that. He understands all the new technology, soft synths, plugins, he's really the technical guy, and I'm just sitting on the couch like this, maybe playing the guitar, playing the keyboards, so he is basically the engineer and I am the producer. Actually he can play bass and play keyboards, so sometimes some of the chord progression is Josh playing. We have a good relationship because he is quite straight, good at attention to details, whereas I am more flamboyant, I want crazy noise and stuff... so it's a ying yang situation. A lot of the detail is from Josh's mind and a lot of the big crazy sounds is from my mind.
Songwriting was a big part of the MAP OF AFRICA project. Is it right to say that the Locussolus project is different in this respect?
DJ Harvey: The Map of Africa album was really an experiment in songwriting. So every track is a song, there is 14 original songs on Map of Africa, whereas this project was not so song oriented but "chant" oriented.... like this chant (sings) "I want it, I want it...." small chants, instead of the whole song. Actually there is one song, Throwdown, I think that is a whole song but the rest are really chants, or small verses... Map of Africa is very different - maybe more for home listening, bar listening or something. This is designed for nightclubs.
In this project you used plugins and computers as well as outboard equipment. Is this different from how you have worked in previous projects?
DJ Harvey: It's all "in the computer" i.e. I didn't use any tape, this is maybe more simple than Map of Africa, for the dancefloor, its more about a simple beat, it's a different sort of music. Map of Africa is more layers, actually though some of the Locussolus tracks have many many parts, for example Next To You has like 100 tracks, or something like that!!! There's so many... like 25 different keyboard sounds on that track! So actually it is quite complicated but it sounds simple.
In a previous interview you said because of the development of computers, many artists are producing similar kinds of sounds... you also said that computer sound is not so good as analog sound. Do you think the Locussolus project has changed this for you?
DJ Harvey: In the last 10 years computers have got MUCH better, the processing is stronger, there is a much cleaner sound. We also use outboard preamps, everything goes through the pre-amp, in and out. This gives a nice warm sound, not so sharp. Maybe that is the key to good sound, it's the front end. Everything goes through the preamp and then some very simple Neveeqs, and a Distressor limiter and compressor. That's how we get the nice sound before we get it in the computer. These days, computers are sounding pretty good though. I also think it depends a lot on the kind of music that you are talking about. If I am making a psychedelic rock record, maybe I want to do it on tape, because tape makes that sound...but for electronic music, really computer is ok.
The reggae and dub influence is definitely part of Locussolus - for example Little Boots and the Throwdown dub. This sound has been something that you have been interested in since Tonka. For you what typifies the sounds of reggae/dub?
DJ Harvey: Reggae music has always been a big influence on me, living in England there is a big reggae culture, and I have always listened to dub productions. Many artists like Lee Scratch Perry, Scientist, people like this.. That influence effects me in all my music. If I am doing a dub mix then I consider how the reggae producers work on this kind of production with tone change, echoes... stuff like that. Yes, it's been a big influence.
The artists chosen to remix the tracks on the album are Emperor Machine, Andrew Weatherall and Lindstrom. What was the reason for choosing these artists to remix the Locussolus tracks, and what's your opinion of their efforts?
DJ Harvey: All of those guys are my friends -I enjoy all of their work and remixes, so I asked if they could do it , some could, some can't, some didn't have enough time, but I think that everyone did a good job! Each one has it's own character, and it adds to the project. I am actually very pleased with the remixes.
For the Locussolus project, it's not so much based around lyrics but phrases, however the map of Africa project was very lyric based. What kind of process is it for you, writing the lyrics?
DJ Harvey: If I'm writing the whole song then we start with a start point - some idea, it could be anything. For example (looks around at the coffeeshop and sings) "coffeeshop coffeeshop...." you know, then I get an idea, like why are we in the coffee shop we went to the coffeeshop to do an interview, so it's like (sings) "coffeeshop, coffeeshop, we are going to do an interview in a coffeeshop... " there you go, song! (laughs). The inspiration can come from anything. It's really just fun inspiration, then make a small poem that can be made into the song. But for Locussolus it's really just the first idea, the chant, for example (sings) "looking for some loving".... that's all it is, the first line... if you are on the dancefloor and you hear this, it makes a connection.
This time there are 7 titles on the album. When producing this did you make more than seven and then make a selection for the album?
DJ Harvey: No... We maybe had a few ideas that didn't work, but almost everything we did is on there, pretty much.
You did the remix for Logic System's CRASH - what was your approach for this remix?
DJ Harvey: At first I just did a re-edit, but they wanted a full remix, so then I wanted to make a modern sound with this old track. To use modern technology and modern sounds to make it sound cutting edge and the sound of now. That was really what I wanted to do. So there are some heavier sounds, a stronger beat, some strange sounds and female vocals, just to really make a modern update of the original.
Last year you also did a re-edit for Doc Severinson but that was the first re-edit in a while. What was the story behind that?
DJ Harvey: I think for the re-edits I don't need to do so many as there are so many people doing this, there are enough. But my friends in San Diego approached me and said would you like to do something, I had thought about editing the 2 Doc Severinson tracks, the A side and B side, for a long time before, and I was like, yes, I have a concept so we can do this. What I like about that is it's not a secret edit - you know, it gives the title, it says everything, its more official. I just wanted to present a 12" version as the original is only on the LP. I wanted to make a big disco edit for the DJs.
You have been DJing for roughly 25 years, do you think that things have changed during this time?
DJ Harvey: I think the biggest change has been with computers. Now many DJs Dj with only computers, using Serato, or Traktor, or something.. I don't know if this is good or bad. But for me sometimes it's strange when I go to a DJ booth and there's no turntables, because I still play lots of records. That's the main change, and that's in life in general... computer technology has changed everything. I do play some CDs, because for new music sometimes it's not on the vinyl, but I don't play from the computer because I like the sound and the format of the record - it's hands-on, you can feel and touch it, and be more in control. I think that's really the main change.
What does partying mean to you?
DJ Harvey: I think it's a very special thing for everybody, to dance, to celebrate life and socialise together. Leisure time or party time is very important for life, otherwise you are just working, working, working and have no time off. So it's a time away from the real world. Into this special place where it's happy and warm and friendly. You can get very high, you don't need drugs, just dancing with people you get a very good feeling, it helps me in my life, helps me to feel happy, and I think that its about everyone who comes to be part of the party and contribute with a smile and with dancing, that's it...
You are very into riding things like skateboards, surfboards, bikes... does that connect to your DJing in any way?
DJ Harvey: I m not sure... it's part of my life as well, I've always enjoyed skateboarding since the 70's when I was a young kid, I learnt to surf 10 or 15 years ago. It's actually for me, again the ying yang thing. In the nightclub you are in a dark room with smoke and lights, it's very inside... it's a very closed space. But then when you are riding, it's about the open space. When you are surfing there is a big sky and the nature is there if you are riding, there is the freedom of riding a bike on the open road, so it make a big difference and a balance in my life.
Now you live in L.A. and you have also been connected to the West Coast through The Wicked guys in San Fransisco for a long time. As someone from the UK what do you think of West Coast USA culture?
DJ Harvey: When I was very young, I always looked at California as a very special place, with everything.. Charles Manson, the Doors, the Beach Boys, Little Feet, Frank Zappa, Topanga Canyon, Venice beach.... all it's crazy stuff with surfing and skateboarding, all the stuff I like. Then when I had the chance to move anywhere in the world, I said I want to go to California. So, I came to California, and I've just been living my dream - surfing, skateboarding, all those things. I think the Wicked guys that moved to San Francisco, they did the same. They had the chance to move in the early 90's and help start the dance scene in San Francisco and Northern California, and they have all done very very well over the years, Garth, Jeno, Thomas and Marky have each independently done all really good things. Jeno is making a documentary about the scene and they interviewed me for that, I think it should be a really good documentary, they interviewed many people, so you should get a good idea of the scene... some crazy hippy girls talking about vibrations and vegetarian food and stuff, then crazy old guys talking about ecstasy and speed, it's a very good wide range of interviews in that documentary so it should be a good one.
I interviewed Paul T (Sarcastic Disco) and Eric (Rub N Tug) last year and they said that it was from seeing you in 96 at a Wicked party that they got into house music.
DJ Harvey: Right... I remember that party, it was a good party - really my first in California I think. I had a very good reception, all the people who followed the Wicked crew came to see me, maybe because I was kind of a godfather to those guys, they got influenced from me in the early days, so people were very interested to hear DJ Harvey. I think that Paul and Eric were at that party, Eric was already DJing Latin and Miami Bass sound. When they heard me play they started to understand the Disco, House and Techno connection, that it all works together. Then Paul maybe one year later, I played in L.A. at the Headroom Parties, and that became the Sarcastic Party.
How are the Sarcastic Parties these days? The last one just happened before you came to Japan?
DJ Harvey: Yes, it was really good, I was really happy with it. Normally before I go on tour I do one Sarcastic Party to say bye and then another when I get back to say "I'm home"! We had a very good turn out, maybe 1000 people and I DJed from 10 at night until 7 or 8 in the morning, a long set. We had a really really good one.
What are your future remix plans?
DJ Harvey: I finished a remix for the Black Keys, but I think they didn't use the mix, because the original mix was used for a car commercial, then they didn't release it I think.. the other is a Bjorn Torske I just finished, I don't know when the release date is but sometime in the next few months. I'm not sure for the future but I'm waiting for the release of the Locussolus album and see what happens... if it has a very good reception, maybe I'll do a live show at some festivals, who knows, maybe I can do a festival and do a Locussolus live show... I think the reception will be good, I've done a lot of interviews and press, the label is good, they do all the back up and the press support... so I think it should get a good reception, then I'll decide what to do next. If people really like it then maybe a live show or album number two...