If you were club-hopping around 2008, chances are you heard the London-based Count (Joshua Harvey) & Sinden‘s playful wobbler “Beeper ft. Kid Sister” booming through one of the venue’s sound systems. The single, which reached #1 on the UK Dance chart, played a large part in launching the duo into the spotlight of a budding indie dance scene; as well as A-Trak and Fake Blood – featured remixers on the Beeper EP.
That same year Harvey started his own label, Cheap Thrills, continuing his solo work under the alias Hervé and collaborating on influential productions such as “Rikkalicious” (with Kissy Sell Out), “Shake It” (with Toddla T) , “Droppin Kisses” (with DJ Sneak), “Machines Can Do the Work” (with Fatboy Slim) and “Mega” (with Sinden).
His debut album, Pick Me Up, Sort Me Out, Calm Me Down (out July 23) showcases a wide variety of styles as featured in the muddy basslines of “Gloomin” and “Zombies 2″, the glossy pop euphoria of “Better Than A BMX” and “How Can I Live Without You”, the glowing peaceful tones of “Bike Ride In June” and everything in between.
Check my interview with Hervé bellow:
Joseph: What album or song sparked your interest in dance music?
Hervé: ‘The Robots’, by Kraftwerk. When I was very young my dad used to play it loads. I love it!
J: What are some of the most dramatic changes you’ve seen in dance music since you started following it?
H: The Internet is an obvious game changer but the power of pcs/macs is equally important. You can do truly incredible things these days and it pains me to think of the mountain of gear I had before I started using computer plug-ins. I used to use an Atari, Akai s950 (7.5 seconds of sampling time…) and a Roland d10 (one of the worst synths I’ve ever used!).
J: How did you transition from listening to music to making it?
H: When I was young I learned to play drums and then moved on to piano. Then a friend gave me a floppy disc with Cubase on it and showed me how to use it on my Atari. From then on I just knew I wanted to make music! Even before that I’d make mixtapes to take on holiday or for family parties.
J: How do you go about creating a track from scratch?
H: I always start off with an idea in my head. I’ll normally get inspiration from a track or a tempo etc. Then I’ll spill it out onto a computer or synth.
J: Are any of your own vocals featured in your work?
H: I used to sing. I actually sung on a solo project as The Things on Kitsuné. However, for the moment I’m not into singing on stuff. I may go back to trying it but I’m not sure.
J: What’s the story behind the creation of Cheap Thrills?
H: I just really wanted an output for my various projects. It’s also a great feeling finding new talent and watching it grow.
J: What do you look for in a potential label signee?
H: 9 times out of 10 I’m looking for someone fresh and unique sounding. Occasionally I’ll sign something because it’s just a straight up great club tune, but mostly I’m looking for an artist. People who will work for Cheap Thrills have to work well as part of a team and bring their own sound to the label.
J: Who do you like to send your tracks to for feedback?
H: I’ll always send them to my manager. However, if it’s a club tune I’ll play it out and see how the crowd reacts.
J: The album title “Pick Me Up, Sort Me Out, Calm Me Down” sounds like an invitation or request, but to whom? Music? A Girl?
H: Haha! That’s a kind of a secret I suppose. Make of it what you will!
J: What does your studio setup look like?
H: I built my studio in my garden. It looks like a Balearic bomb shelter! It’s painted all white with palm trees (they were there when I bought the place, one of the reasons I did!) and vines growing all around it. There’s a pond right in front of it as well (no-one has fallen in, but everybody asks!)
J: What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a prodcuer/dj/label head?
H: Work in a zoo. Or maybe a writer. I’d write excellent screenplays!
J: There’s a lot of bike imagery in your recent work. Do you have a favorite pro-biker? Did you ever consider going pro yourself?
H: No. It’s more to do with that wonderful feeling you get when you’re a kid. I used to love riding around in summer with my brothers and meet up with a load of mates. You feel as free as a bird!!
J: Describe one of your favorite nights out at the club.
H: There are too many! All involved great music, great friends, great wine and a great sound system!!!
J: What parts of the album were you most excited about working on?
H: ‘Mirror’ was a career highlight. I got to work with Steve Mason who’s formerly a singer with the Beta Band. I was so happy when he agreed to guest, it was a really great moment. I also love ‘Bike Ride In June’, it’s kaleidoscopic-memory-rave music! That title actually inspired Vince (Frankmusik) to write ‘Better Than a Bmx’. He’d just arrived from LA and I was playing him some bits and the title caught his attention. Vince loves his BMX’s!
J: Any advice for aspiring producers?
H: Make loads of tracks. It’s the best way to get good! Be patient, nick ideas from great producers and every time you get stuck just stick on some of your favourite albums.
Hervé’s new single, “How Can I Live Without You (Make It Right)” is out July 15th. Watch the video bellow and look for Pick Me Up, Sort Me Out, Calm Me Down out July 23rd on CD and Digital through Cheap Thrills.