You can write a book about DJ Harvey. You can flip that and give Harvey a pen and let him wax poetic. The depth of knowledge he brings to both scenarios means you’re walking away entertained at the very least—and if you pay attention, a bit smarter.
The Venice Beach based DJ just left the sunny shores of California to entertain the European types for a month, so if you’re reading from across the pond peep the dates below. Good times ahead. For everyone else, indulge in this… We caught up with Harvey before he bounced out for a quick chat about what life is like on the road.
BTW, if you missed DJ Harvey’s last album under the Locussolus guise (with partners Sam Fox and Tara Selleck) we highly recommend picking it up—there’s a reason why it made many “Best Of 2011” lists. Harvey and company are about to drop a new Locussolus double sided 12-inch in July: “Berghain” and “Telephone.” “Berghain” a song named after the infamous Berlin club, came to be after Harvey ventured out on to the club floor after his set and got lost in the experience for hours proving that sometimes the DJ should step out from the booth, see life from the other side and be inspired. That’s what happened and out popped “Berghain.” And “Telephone” is, well, Locussolus having a good time; a fun irreverent pop, disco boogie FM radio hit that never happened. Well, that’s kinda true because it’s happening now. Anywho, Harvey talks life on the road below the Soundcloud embed, happy reading...
You can romanticize it, life on the road, but like war it’s great to read about, not so great to be involved in.
Any cities or nights you’re looking forward to playing most on this trip?
All of them, I handpick really nice gig’s promoted by great people so I look forward to them all. I just made a track called “Berghain” inspired by the club in Berlin. This tour I’m actually playing the big Berghain room—can’t wait to play that track in there.
Any colorful incidents involving a fan you’d like to share?
Some guy in Japan literally peed himself when I DJd at a club in the North Island of Hokkaido. He shah’d his pants as they say, he saw I was about to play a Black Cock record and shah’d his pants so we now call him DJ Shaaaaaah.
Do you have any pets? What do they do while you’re on the road?
My son has some pets he takes care of them himself. I get to pet them on my return.
Do you have any pre-gig routines or green room rituals?
Just lot’s of quiet contemplation, and I don’t arrive to the DJ booth too early; making a nice entrance is key.
How, if at all, is being on the road conducive to your creative process?
None whatsoever to me personally—other than getting to check the records I’ve just made with a live audience. You can romanticize it, life on the road, but like war it’s great to read about, not so great to be involved in.
What have you learned about yourself from being on the road and touring?
That deep down inside I became the guy that likes business class.
Do you work on music while touring?
Not at all, but I do get really inspired.
How much of your set changes from gig to gig?
A lot, I travel really light on the clothing so I can travel heavy on the records, my excess baggage charges are out of control.
Do you travel with anyone specific?
No. Although I think I need to start to bring a road assistant. It’s a lot travelling solo when your away for a month, after this 4 week stint (and I just returned from 2 weeks in Japan) my manager is limiting time on the road to only 2 weeks at any one time.
What’s on your Rider?
All audio. I am specific about all my audio requirements, other than that I’m a simple guy, I don’t ask for anything other than a sound check and a nice meal pre or post gig.
If you were the biggest musician in the world, what would be on your Rider?
I can get pretty exotic, especially with my eating habits, so perhaps enough decadence to induce a fit (porterhouse blue).
Do you have a favorite airline?
Living in the US I really like getting on a BA plane just for the voice of the captain welcoming you onto the plane, very reassuring. I have no loyalty to airlines. We choose the best times/airlines for the trip at hand; in the US it’s Virgin America wherever they fly. I do however have airlines I refuse to fly on.
First class or coach?
Whatever has a nice lie down bed, I’m down for long haul flights. I always turn left on the plane, short haul and in the US I’m a “coach” man.
What’s your drink of choice?
These days water while I play—maybe a coke. When you’re touring, being healthy enough to keep going is key.
What items do you always take with you on the road?
Other than tools of the trade, Preparation H, Snakeskin boots, Calf high socks that help with leg ache, Hair Grease, White tees. I need a world phone—that’s my next purchase. I also being a nice selection of hawaiian shirts.
Which do you prefer, a smoky, low-lit club or a big stage with bright lights and colored gels?
The perfect balance between the two: a smoky, low lit, big club. And I love a little mirror ball glitter.
What’s the most memorable time you’ve had on the road outside of the club?
The memories are articles in themselves.
What the first thing you do when you wake up?
Wonder where the fuck I am.
What the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
Ask for a late check out.
You probably shake a lot of hands on the road, if people were really to listen after you shook their hand for the first time, what would you say to them?
I’m typically just thanking them for coming.
If you were to describe your sound as a scent, a signature fragrance as it were, what would it be called?
I don’t always wear aftershave but when I do, I wear “Pong” by DJ Harvey.
How would you describe your sound to a deaf person?
By Centaur Flags and lots of movement.
Talk about the most hectic conflict that you’ve been involved in. What position on the heap did you occupy in at the end?
I’m a lover not a fighter
Do you read books on the road?
Yes, I am leaving tomorrow for a month of Europe and I am taking Loss of Innocence.
What the craziest thing you’ve eaten on the road?
Live Octopus in Japan and it actually hurt as it was fighting my tongue going down. Bit of an odd texture sensation.
What do you look forward to most when the tour is over?
Putting the kettle on at home.
Do you remember the first time you had a live audience’s complete attention?
Forgetting my lines during a school play performance of “Oh What A Lovely War.” I was playing Douglas Hague. I was terrified as the cold sweat on the top of my lip loosened the fake moustache on my face.
Do you have any photos from the road you’d like to share with Magnetic readers?
I never take pictures actually, but it seems most people that do share them online, I’ve seen some pretty funny ones
What are the top 5 songs in your iTunes “most played” folder?
I don’t even know what that is…