Sunday, May 26, 2013

Exclusive Interview // Hervé (Joshua Harvey)

Combing through an old inbox I came across this fantastic interview with producer Joshua Harvey, better by the moniker Hervé, which ended up not seeing the light of day when it should have. Since then he's added a whole new album and remixes for Beyoncé, Usher and DJ Fresh to an already extensive list of credits. The album 'The Art of Disappearing' is out now and features Katie Stelmanis of Austra, Niki & The Dove and Seasfire, so be sure to cop that once you're finished here. Check out his answers to my questions after the jump:

1. Hello Hervé, how are you? 

Very well thanks, off to Barcelona at the end of the week so pretty happy - stack of work to get through first though! Can't wait for the summer! 

2. You recently shot a music video for a new single with Ronika. Can you tell me a bit more about that collaboration and how it came about? 

A friend of a friend told me about Ron, said she knew this really great singer and if would like to work with her. After hearing some of her music I got in touch and she came back with the vocal on first attempt. She then came down and we got on really well. She's a lovely person, and I always try to help her out or involve her when I can with people I think she could work really well with.

3. The fantastic previous single "Better Than A BMX", featuring Frankmusik on vocals, has had a pretty great reception and introduced you to a whole new audience (myself included). What was it about that track that you felt best represented the album and yourself as a solo artist? 

Thanks very much, I'm always out to turn new people on to what I do. The album is basically just a reflection of my sound, cementing what I'm doing at this moment in time. It's a combination bass and melody, which is what I really enjoy - you can show off the technical and heavy side as well as actually writing some great music/melodies, and with BMX it seems to represent one of the sides of that from the album. When I finished the track with Vince I just knew it was the first single. With album projects what should be a single and in what order tends to jump out at you, the same way when you have 25-30 tracks you know which ones need to hit the bin and which ones make sense being the album.

4. What can we expect from the rest of the album? Are Vince and Ronika the only collaborations or will each track feature someone different? 

No, I have some other great people on there, a friend of mine called Ryan sings on a track (he's from a great band I found last year, top secret though!). Also Charlotte who is from a band called Tricity sings on 2 tracks. The finale track features garage/blues duo The Willowz plus I managed to persuade Steve Mason (the singer from the Beat Band) to guest, real highlight of my career getting to work with him and one of my favourite tracks from the album. 

5. You also own your own record label, Cheapthrills Records, with two sub labels Cheaper Thrills and Deep Thrills. Why did you decide to set up your own label and how has it influenced your perception of the industry and the whole music-making/releasing process? 

Primarily I wanted to have an outlet for my various guises and I knew at some point I would want to sign and develop new artists and bands. I never expected it to become as big as it has with the sub labels etc. but it is massively rewarding to run. I've always had a pretty good understanding of the business so my perceptions haven't changed much, but I'm constantly learning and changing as the industry does. You really need to be on top of things as it does move quite fast on the underground. 

6. You've released and remixed music under various aliases and monikers, often in partnership with others. How has being a label boss and A&R man affected your vision on marketing and branding yourself and your music? 

The marketing and branding side is normally dealt with by other people, I have my say but I'd rather experts dealt with all that stuff. Doing all of those things at once can get in the way of each other sometimes though! 

7. What do you look for in the artists you sign - what are the major do's and don'ts for new artists wanting to get noticed? 

Firstly I'm looking for identity and freshness, you ideally want to put records out by someone who will stay and grow with the label. A big 'no no' for me is naming yourself after a piece of studio equipment or a genre of music in your name. I'm weird about names!

8. How important is it for an artist to be commercially viable? Is it possible to have a long-lasting career without ever turning a profit? Are records now just a means to an end - are gigging and touring indispensable? 

There's so many ways to be an artist with so many ideas of what that should be its difficult to answer, and of course you can have a long career with no profit if you have other ways to support yourself and you just enjoy the music you make then why not. I have and always will make music whether I make money or not, I'm kinda compelled to do it, if I'm not making enough to live on I'll just get a job or something. Gigging and touring are important, but it depends on what you want from life and music. 

9. What can we look forward to from you and all your projects in 2012 and beyond? 

New single featuring Ronika is out in may with the album out end of may, as well as the collective/band I'm in called Machines Don't Care, we are currently working on the album for that now, so I'll be busy doing shows as Hervé and in the Machines Dont Care team!

And there you have it. Keep up with Hervé on his official website, Twitter and Facebook and check out his music videos below.

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