|Harvey “DJ Harvey” Bassett is a legendary English DJ who’s career has spanned close to five decades and||is sometimes called “the man closest to god.” He is well known for his 12 hour dance parties of disco, space||rock, and house that leave attendees with a smile.|
DJ Harvey is often presented in the Japanese media by dramatic expressions such as “the man closest to God” or “the Keith Richards of the DJ world”. He started DJing in London in the mid 80’s, laying the foundations to UK House music, which was inspired by American disco and House culture. His insight, which created global trends such as the re-editing method, the Leftfield Disco and Balearic revivals, which are still common to this day in the world of modern dance music, can certainly be classed as legendary. In 2002, he moved from London to LA, where he established his global status which has earned him respect from all over the world. Even after stepping into the limelight, his smile, humour, and relaxed natural way of living remain unchanged.
“Generally speaking, travelling and spending time at the airport or hotel everyday is not necessarily the most ideal way of working, but to me, being a DJ is a natural and fun thing to do, and I never thought of it as a job. I haven’t been able to DJ for the last 6 months because with the current covid-19 situation, it’s not good for a large number of people to gather in a small area. Other jobs, which involve communicating with people over the phone, can be done even whilst standing on the beach between surfing sessions, right? So recently, I’ve been surfing one day and hanging out on the beach the next. Malibu’s first point (a surf spot for longboarders) is like my new office. I’m just trying to get through the day without going insane. I’m keeping my head down, trying to be right-minded and honest without causing too much friction in my life. I don’t have any philosophy or mantra in my life, I just go with the flow and let it guide me in the direction I would like to achieve” says Harvey, naturally. When it comes to reading the flow, DJ Harvey has great instincts.
“Some DJs have a specific style no matter where they play, but I take a fundamentally different approach depending on the situation, be it a sunset party in Ibiza, to a Monday morning set at the Berghain, in Berlin. So, I create a playlist of 100-500 albums that I want to play that night by selecting from 60,000 vinyl and 100,000 digital titles that I have at home. But, to tell you the truth, the audience will actually have the final say on what I play. Everyone says, ‘Hey Harvey, you’re so wild playing whatever you like’, but, I believe I play what everybody likes, they just don’t notice it. I play a tune and what comes next is decided by the audience’s reaction. If I get a good reaction, I can see in which direction to take the next tune. If I feel like they need more energy, I can cheer them up and then calm them down again. By doing so, when the energy and spirit of the floor interact perfectly, a positive spiral of energy will emerge and everyone will be happy till the end of the party.”
The people who are fascinated by his DJing skills and personality aren’t only hard-core music fans. In fact, both Alex Olson, a classic longboard skateboarder, as well as Virgil Abloh, a designer for Off-White and Louis Vuitton, are people who Harvey has cultivated friendships with over recent years.
“For the first Off-White project, Virgil Abloh created a ‘DJ Harvey T-shirt’ by changing the ‘PJ’ from the original PJ Harvey print, to ‘DJ’. He’s also a DJ and a fan of mine, but my first thought was ‘who the hell does he think he is, making that T-shirt without my permission?’. Now, we’re friends and keep in touch, and it was a fun memory when I played at a Louis Vuitton pop-up store in Harajuku, which he organised. For every style of music, there is a style of fashion that goes well with it. I think music and fashion go well together. I have followed fashion enthusiastically for a long time, so I’m happy that I can collaborate with many brands such as Louis Vuitton and WACKO MARIA, with whom I created a collection with last year.”
Harvey “DJ Harvey” Bassett is a legendary English DJ who’s career has spanned close to five decades and is sometimes called “the man closest to god.” He is well known for his 12 hour dance parties of disco, space rock, and house that leave attendees with a smile.
|Photo Hiroyuki Seo||Interview Mikuto Murayama||Text Yu Onoda
Translation Fumie Tsuji