The second electronic music-lover to join the family this week is Bangkok-based DJ and disco-lover, *harrington. In this article, he explains why he wishes disco legend DJ Harvey were his dad.
If you could choose one DJ to be your dad, who would it be?
A musical dignitary and a true libertine: British export DJ Harvey’s career spans across a multitude of genres, continents and decades. His early beginning as a drummer for local school bands saw him quickly shoot to alternative fame when his punk group – Ersatz – was featured in John Peel’s show back in 1979, an era which gave rise to Hip Hop and Electric Boogie.
Fascinated by the ability his generation’s DJs had shown to make records out of other records, Harvey began experimenting with turntables, regarding DJing as a mere extension of drumming. He approached the turntable as less of a record player and more as an instrument for creating beats and rhythm.
Harvey’s sets are analogous of his personality – positive, uplifting, sincere and cheeky. His music, a combination of deep rhythm and soul, a wide renaissance of disco and disco-driven house. With his style of music, it is of no surprise when Harvey became one of the first residents at the original Ministry of Sound in London – a club inspired by New York’s Paradise Garage, which became the UK’s first club to devote itself to the American house music scenes of 1980s New York, Chicago and Detroit.
The birth of Black Cock Records came as a direct result of several encounters with the venerable disco legend Larry Levan throughout the late 80s – 1991. After hearing Larry play an edit of South Shore Commission – Freeman, Harvey was inspired as soon as he became aware it was Larry’s own unreleased edit. It is unsurprising then, that Harvey’s very first edit would be of the same track in an attempt to recreate what he had heard. Black Cock, now rather elusive, garnered a vast cult following during the mid 90’s and contributed to the rise of the Disco Edit scene.
The mid-2000s saw Harvey take a slight detour from dance music. He and Thom Bullock (from Rub N Tug) formed Map of Africa. Citing the beginning of his band as, “a result of being halfway through a midlife crisis“, Map Of Africa has two clear musical directions. One is to produce tracks to be performed live with a stomping, rocky sound akin to ZZ Top whilst the other is to explore the Balearic, cosmic and mellow sounds he’s grown to love through his years of DJing.
Harvey’s sense of humour is just as legendary as his music, always taking a licentious approach to naming his musical entities (his successful London night in the early 90s named MOIST, his disco-edit label BLACK COCK Records and his explanation of the name Map Of Africa; “a sex stain that’s left on the bed”). Having left the UK for over a decade, his libertine ways then saw him arrive in the States, followed by a move to Hawaii where he could surf all day; an unsurprising dream considering his childhood skateboarder past. He’s the proud owner of a multimedia art space that runs as a club, an exhibition space and a hotel based in Hawaii, and currently resides in California (presumably for the perfect tides!).
As a DJ who loves and plays a similar genre, Harvey is by far one of my most revered DJs. Listening to his sets, production and edits makes me move in a way unimaginable or achievable by most. There’s one thing that stands out with Harvey which elevates him above other DJs of the same genre: he is not afraid to play whatever he feels like playing at any given time. He doesn’t believe in the concept of “cool” and if a track, which may be considered by most as ‘cheesy’, seems to fit right in that moment, if he is playing it, you will sure as hell be dancing to it.
With his penchant for disco, views on what makes a good track, jokes rich with sexual innuendos and hedonistic lifestyle, I know who my Daddy-Disco would be.
MIX | ESSENTIAL MIX, DECEMBER 1999 | An absolute must for any lovers of disco and house music. This mix is as sublime as it is timeless.
GIG | MELTDOWN 2014, SOUTHBANK CENTER |After too long a hiatus from the UK, Harvey returned and rocked Southbank back in June this year. Notice all the hands in the air.
TRACK | JUICY SUSHI (BLACK COCK RECORDS) | A re-edit of “Made In USA – Never Gonna Let You Go”. A truly uplifting track that’s sure to get even the most disgruntled clubber up and dancing.
TRACK | MAP OF AFRICA – BLACK SKINNED BLUE EYED BOY | A cover of Eddy Grant’s early disco track of the same name. And yes, that’s Harvey on the vocals.