Derwent Living

This man has conquered and topped the charts with over one million download sales. He has produced world beating songs for artists including Dizzee Rascal and Kylie. His most recent track – Flashback is backed by new mixes courtesy of David Guetta, Eric Prydz and Goldie. He is self taught and becoming one of the UK’s most unique and engaging pop stars, responsible for the “party album of the decade”.  The Student Pocket Guide grabs some quality time with none other than Calvin Harris, backstage before the opening performance of his UK tour…

Calvin Harris Interview by Salaam Al-Rawi

So it’s the first night of the tour for your new album ‘Ready For The Weekend’……..
Yeah first night, I’m a bit nervous but I’ve played here twice already so I’m very familiar with the University of East Anglia.

Did you go to university yourself?
I didn’t, I wish I did. I didn’t have the qualifications or the charisma. I didn’t really know what to pick. That was my main problem. I know people that have done horse studies and a lot of people that I know studied teaching.

So you wouldn’t have necessarily studied music?
Na see that was the thing. I decided that music was probably the thing that I wanted to do and that I didn’t need to go to university to learn how to do it because I had taught myself years before that, so that’s why I struggled.

Adventum UniAcco

So how old were you when you first became interested in music?
I was quite young. My big brother introduced me to music, namely Nirvana, aged eight.

So you weren’t interested in dance music at that age?
No I only got into dance after I got a computer, my brother’s computer actually. An Amiga 500+ and I was playing with software called Octimed which was a really basic sequencing software. So I’d play with that and it kind of lent itself to making dance music, or music with a bass drum going boom, boom, boom. I did that a few times but after I’d made a few tracks I thought maybe I should buy some dance music or listen to some dance music consciously, so I could see how it was actually supposed to sound. At about age 14 or 15, I got into it really during the peak of disco house.

Do you find it more pleasurable now than you did all those years ago?
It’s even more pleasurable now because the things I am making are being released. Other people can hear them, so it’s amazing.

So the new Calvin Harris single ‘Flashback’…
…Has got remixes from David Guetta and Eric Prydz! The remixes are amazing. My album is out now ‘Ready For The Weekend’ – Party album of the decade someone said… Oh that was my mum. It was number one for seven days! ‘Holiday’ was number one for a week and I produced that as well so I’ve been doing really well.

You’ve been very busy lately haven’t you with a lot of collaborations……
Yes, I’m working hard and most things that come my way, I try and fit them in.

Is there anyone you would especially like to collaborate with?
Not really.

There’s no one you have got your eye on then?
Na not really. You know once I heard that Robbie Williams was coming back I was like, “Robbie Williams is amazing, I love Robbie Williams, I wanna work with Robbie Williams” but he had already done his album. I wouldn’t be so bold to suggest I should be on his album you know. So not really, I tend to wait until I’m asked to be honest.

Do you see anymore collaborations with Dizzee Rascal in the future?
No not really. The thing is for him and me; we’ve just done an album each. I’m on his album twice. He’s on my album once, but it’s the same track. It doesn’t feel like there’s anywhere else to go with it unless you did a whole concept album which is never going to happen. You know, how are you going to tour with that?

Maybe you could play both albums at the same time?
Yeah like that Japanese guy Cornelius who released a double CD single. If you played CD1 and CD2 at exactly the same time it would sound amazing. I think if you bought one on its own it would have sounded terrible though, out of phase.  Logistically it’s a nightmare.

Have you ever been asked by Lady Gaga to collaborate?
Well we got an email from lots of people about a year ago and they had a track which was already written. They wanted some additional production, which usually means, if you’ve been asked to be an ‘additional’ producer on something, that the song is a bit sh*t and that they don’t really know what to do with it. Usually they’ll put it on an album or on the b-side of something and wanna see if somebody else can make it a bit better.

What do you think of Lady Gaga?
She’s great! She’s very original, not boring. You can count the amount of boring people in pop music on many hands. The interesting people, you know the people that are a bit bizarre; they are few and far between. She gives entertainment in abundance.

Lastly, if you have any advice for our student readers what would it be?
Work hard, don’t skip school…Oh I don’t know, just be nice. Forget about work or whatever and just be nice to people. Don’t beat anyone up and have fun!

Thanks for your time Calvin and good luck on your tour.
No worries, thank you.

Watch the live video interview with Calvin Harris here: