DJ Harvey (real name Harvey Bassett) has been called ‘the Keith Richards’ of dance music and was listed as one of the 25 most influential DJs on the planet. He tells Rob Chadwick why this weekend’s Leeds gig has a special place in his heart.
Tell us about the 25th anniversary of Moist; have you got a series of special shows planned?
It would be a great excuse to throw a party though wouldn’t it? I’ll get that one in the diary. I didn’t actually even realise that it was 25 years, so thanks for that. It’s been a long few months as I’ve toured more than usual this summer so let us blame it on that hey?
I know you always save some of your time away from your music for your collections, surfing and motorbike right?
Indeed, as much as I love the music and performing at the venues, trying my best to please people in what ever way they wish I try to find time for my motorbike as well.
Looking back, you spoke out against the corporate clubbing culture that’s within music - what do you think to it present day?
I’m not so sure I spoke against it; rather that I was always one for taking a different approach. I think today it is all about money, money, money, then throw in a few festivals; that basically becomes the yearly struggle. It’s so easy to get caught up in it all now because we have it thrown in our faces via social media and what we are made to hear on the radio. It was a different ball game back then, it was just the Justice Act that we got caught up in. It was no big deal in the end; we moved on and continued at Ministry with a solid output.
This obviously caused a lot of clubs to have a more level headed approach. How did that change your outlook when you had the Ministry of Sound residency?
Well I was just against the odd punter giving a policeman a slap! You couldn’t get away with that back then, never mind now. Just think when the forest raves were on, they were kept quite quiet, no mobile phones or iPads, just word of mouth and a map. It’s like they were never there, you understand? So I’d say the level headed approach came in after. Ministry was great though and it didn’t really change me at all as a DJ, I loved every minute.
And you went back to London for your first residency since then at XOYO, was that a fitting choice?
Absolutely, it was a perfect stint over there, with a great team, the enthusiastic audience weren’t phone dwindlers’ (if that’s a word) they were there to dance to my music. I obviously liked that the most.
Speaking of 25th anniversaries - Leeds has a very special one with Back to Basics next month, what have been your memories of the Dave Beers events?
Well that’s just such a testament to the people behind it. Dave is a celebrity in this world of ours and with the residents they have in their proverbial locker who have all pretty much stuck with them over the years, it’s a combination that can’t be bettered and makes for one great brand. Ralph and Huggy and the rest of the team were a pivotal part in its success and always welcomed me. I know Ralph still impacts on the crowd up there and you rarely see long tenures within residencies anymore.
Am I right in thinking it’s also around the same length of time since you’ve been back in Leeds too?
I used to love being up in Leeds and I believe it was Basics that was my last outing.
You’re part of the Red Bull show in Leeds as well this weekend. Have you kept an eye on the Red Bull bandwagon and how they have tried to stimulate the modern day culture whilst giving the youth a lesson from the old school?
Well, we just spoke about the corporate clubbing culture didn’t we? I believe Red Bull fits that bracket; however they have approached it in the correct manner and have not just taken peoples money on the door. They have given something back to the audience in a way that they can learn and prosper from. The present day climate within the industry and changes within music itself demand that. It’s a no brainer that it’s a success and it has been a pleasure actually to be involved when I have.
And, finally, being back in Leeds, what can we expect from a DJ Harvey performance with Leon Vynehall, Jobs Jobse and Palms Trax?
It’s my first outing at Canal Mills, I’ve heard some good things; I also hear the line up is quite on point and has a plethora of genres that will hopefully engage with the crowd. It is going to be good to be back.
Dave [Beer] is a celebrity in this world of ours and [Back to Basics] is a combination that can’t be bettered and makes for one great brand
DJ Harvey performs at Canal Mills this Saturday - Red Bull presents Discopolis. This is part of the Red Bull Academy Tour. http://www.redbullmusicacademy.com/events/rbma-uk-tour-leeds-2016
Canal Mills - http://www.canalmills.com