EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Five Minutes With… Hervé

Joshua Harvey, aka Hervé, is a man of many aliases. You may know him as The Count (with Sinden), Voodoo Chilli, Speaker Junk, Action Man, Dead Soul Brothers and Young Lovers.

Following on from his second studio album, Hallucinated Surf, released last summer, the long established UK producer has released ‘Last Lovers Left Alive’, featuring male vocalist Rothchild, the first single from Part 2 of his album Skint Hq.

The album was recorded in the acclaimed artist’s London studio as well as an undisclosed countryside location, and features plenty of moody downtempo experiments, as well as much of his signature bass heavy sound.

In addition to his busy production schedule, Hervé utilises his skill for spotting talent, running his own Cheap Thrills label which has provided a launch pad for some of the biggest names in dance music today including Fake Blood and Jack Beats.

We caught up with him to hear his thoughts on EDM performances, and which other artists are inspiring him right now….

Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?

I’m great thanks, sitting in the studio catching up on emails before remixing myself. I will be remixing the first track of a new project I’m doing called Boo Shaka as Action Man, so i expect it to be vintage electro techno.

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

As Herve I think I would describe it as bass orientated club music. Taking references from bass, house, hip hop, jungle, grime, electro and on the flip side my downtempo stuff i would describe as gothic/hip hop/indie/electronica.

What are the 5 albums that have influenced you the most?

Aphex Twin – ambient selection Volume 1

Burial – Untrue

Boards Of Canada – Music Has The Right to Children

My Bloody Valentine – Loveless

Kraftwerk – Man Machine

Which other artists are you into at the moment and why?

Really liking Champion’s stuff. And also, Preditah. I just love the rhythms and basslines. Everything’s been done to death, house and techno are such dead ends artistically so it’s really great to hear stuff like theirs that just seems fresh and inspiring.

Are there any key pieces of equipment that you are using to define your sound?

Hmmm not really. I’ve been asked this many times over the years and at each stage of my development I’ve always believed it’s about your mind/imagination. There is so much hyperbole/bullshit written about hardware, modular synths, plug ins etc, you just gotta get out there and find what works for you. The one thing I have always used though is the same DAW. Cubase for life!

What would you say some of the challenges artists face today in the music industry?

That’s a tough one. The entry level is so so low these days that you have chronic overcrowding in music and it’s really hard to make any kind of sustainable money. If you’re not thinking in terms of making money or making music as a job then the challenges are less than ever. When I first started you needed a ton of outboard gear, atari, samplers, synths, mixing desk, multi effects etc. Now you just need a cheap computer and some cheap (some DAW are free!) software and you’re off!

Where do you gather songwriting inspiration?

There’s the obvious one to start with, listening to music old and new, and of many different genres. Outside of that I watch tons of films across all genres and read lots of books, novels, art books, photography books, screenplays etc . It’s all about filling your head with many sights, sounds and experiences – feeding the creative engine of your mind. Hopefully disparate ideas coalesce to inspire something original in your head.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting your music together?

I tend to come up with ideas away from the studio then head in so I can execute them. I’m always jotting down lyrics or ideas for musical aspects of a track as well as emailing myself links of tracks on youtube I want to (steal from) be inspired by.

What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?

I think the first Bestival I did in 2007 with Trevor Loveys (original member of Switch alongside Dave Taylor) under our old Speaker Junk moniker. First time we had played a big stage! We’d had a few light ales before playing, it was so fun. Trevor had made us Speaker Junk t-shirts that we wore for the gig. I had gone wandering off for few hours before playing and when I came back Trev had changed into shorts, a green wig (New Era cap pinned to the top), pop socks and had cut his tshirt into a crop top. I still have no idea why he did that to this very day?!

And the worst?

Urrghhh, I cant even face going into it. My agent emotionally blackmailed myself and Sinden to do a gig that we really really didn’t want or need to do, as a favour for the promoter who really wanted us. Anyway, they ended up closing our room and sticking us in this really small bar area by the door, it was absurd.

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?

I would probably be a vet or work in a zoo. Or work in an African game reserve protecting wildlife.

If you could perform alongside any other band or artist, living or dead, who would it be?

I’m not really a performer. I don’t think djing is some great art, it’s just playing music. Its fun and I love doing it but i don’t think it puts me on the same level of proper performers. (Look how awful all those EDM djs looked when they tried to “perform” rather than simply dj, and all those electro house djs that used to stand on the decks and pump their fist like it was some eighties rock gig, no thanks).
Rather than play alongside, I would love the chance to see either Bill Withers or Dead Can Dance live. As a side note, the best gig i went to was probably seeing Aphex Twin “live” (how live are most electronic acts really? I’m not sure…) It was in the nineties supporting The Orb. He had a dancer who was doing this amazing weird dancing – like he was surfing and constantly on the edge of falling over, it worked so well with the music. A few years later I got to know Richard (Aphex) when he lived in a house share with a friend of mine. He told me he and the dancer had fallen out with each other and that was the reason why he was wasn’t performing with him at subsequent gigs. Years later after that I found out the dancer had actually designed the Aphex logo and that he was the same guy who had designed the covers of my Ghetto Bass mix cd series! Pretty darn cool to find that out 5 years after I had released the last one…

Do you have any particular gigs or festivals that you dream about playing?

One of my favourite festivals to play is Secret Garden Party. It has such a good vibe, kind of hippyish and very relaxed. I’m playing the last ever one this year, I’m really looking forward to it

Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

‘Lights and Fears’ a single featuring Steve Mason will be coming out in June on Skint/BMG, taken from disc two of my latest album ‘Hallucinated Surf’, as well as Herve Presents Boo Shakka feat Iris Gold – Shake It To The Ground, also coming in June.

Watch Hervé – Last Lovers Left Alive (feat. Rothchild):

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