DJ Harvey is something of a pioneer in his trade. After a trip to NYC, Harvey became enamored with the hip-hop movement in the States and took it home with him to spread to the masses. Blending hip-hop, soul, jazz, garage and other genres fluidly and harmoniously, his mixes have been celebrated at great London nightclub Ministry of Sound, and, at this point, worldwide. Before his Movement set jumps off Memorial Day weekend, Harvey answered a few questions for Real Detroit Weekly.
Since you have such a unique blend of genres, was it a bit harder to get people interested in your music when you were starting out? What did people make of your diverse range when you were playing Ministry on Friday and Saturday for example?
In the very beginning, I played hip-hop and house, funk, jazz and soul, all genres blended together in one night, it was a little later on that genres really divided. I should let everyone know that I have cleared dancefloors sometimes but the good thing is, I usually brought people around. When I left London, a promoter who should remain nameless, asked my manager "What is he doing? Where is all the disco?" She said, "Look all those people getting into it in the front and enticing others to do the same, let him do his thing and don't judge from track to track." I went back to London three months later and sure enough they had picked up on the records I had been pushing before I left. Sometimes one track might seem a bit out of place but it's how it makes sense to the story of the evening, that's really important.
Tell us a little about Locussolus, the project you are currently working on, and the album that's just coming out. Why the moniker? What separates this project from DJ Harvey?
I just wanted to come up with a funky name, and the book that drew the inspiration for the name is a pretty cool story. I liked that the name sounded almost Ibiza/Spanish-esque. Really there is nothing separating me from the project. I have a million ideas a minute and Locussolus is a part of me and a style of music I want to make for the dancefloor and after the party. I sing on some, friends sing along with me, it has been such a fun project to make. The album is out in early June on International Feel and they were a label I got together with because they wanted to do it right, nice heavyweight vinyl, good design, actual release schedules. (Laughs) I hope people like it, we've got some fun and dangerous remixes on there. I'll definitely make more, and who knows, maybe we'll get some kind of show together at some point too, we keep getting asked.
You seem to encompass nearly every element of what it is to be an artist. Speaking on your partnership with the Hawaiian Art Museum, what sparked your interest in contributing to this realm of artistry?
I traveled to Hawaii to DJ, and the people there were really interested in everything I'd learned up to that point relating to club running, DJing etc. In London it was kind of the norm to run an art gallery by day and turn the space over to partying in the evening. I paint myself, I doodle and draw and always design flyers for our Sarcastic disco party by hand, the Locussolus logo I hand drew and then turned it over to our wonderful artwork guy who perfectized and digitized it. Hawaii needed a creative space, and a place with a proper sound system, because they definitely didn't have that, and so really that place over there is the culmination of all my years knowledge and studying of sound, acoustics etc. I will make a new space on the mainland at some point soon and that will be mind-blowing.
What do you think your experience will be like in Detroit?
I love Detroit, this place is the birthplace or home of so many things I am into, music of course, such great music, and people in Detroit have so much heart and appreciation for the music that's made here. Cars, I love cars. The buildings here are amazing, the heritage of this city. I think that this festival, Movement, is the true American music festival, it's real and hardcore and I don't see a single filler on the line-up. I have had so many people come to me since the line-up was announced saying, "I am flying in for that one, Harv." I know my experience is going to be nothing but positive. | RDW
DJ Harvey at Movement • 5/28, 2 p.m. • Hart Plaza, vitamin Water stage • movement.us • $35 per day, $70 3-day pass