Calvin Harris: The New King of Electropop
If you’re unaware who Calvin Harris is, you’ve probably already been cutting a rug to one of his slick mixes. Like his upgrade of Katy Perry’s “Waking Up in Vegas” for example. It’s also likely that you’ve caught wind of his recent studio escapades with Jake Shears and Kylie Minogue. So you’d think with all that, plus a #1 album in his homeland, the man who created disco would be stomping around with a god complex. Instead, Harris channels charm and humility when discussing lofty topics like plans for the future and more importantly, the impending apopalypse.
Tell me about the inspiration behind Ready For the Weekend. How was it different from I Created Disco? First album was made on outadated recording equipment. But the second record tested what I was capable of. I was 100% really proud of the inspiration. It was inspired by the peak of house music. It is more poppy as well and rehashes dance tunes as well. The biggest challenge was that I wanted to make something multi-layered and interesting.
What are some of the more notable things you learned between I Created Disco and Ready For the Weekend? On the first record, I didn’t think about how it was going to be received. I didn’t see it as a career — it was fun.
You’ve worked with all sorts of musicians — Kylie Minogue on X and Dizzee Rascal. Even Madonna repurposed bits of “I’m Not Alone” onto dates of her recent tour. Do you see yourself following in the footsteps of producers like Timbaland and RedOne who now find themselves working with so many key performers? I don’t have aspirations in that sense. The thing that makes it different is that I have my own deal. I’m making my own music. I wouldn’t have the time to sustain that kind of demand.
I’ve already singled out “5iliconeator” and “I’m Not Alone” as a couple of my favorites. Which song on the new record are you most proud of? One of my favorites was “Ready For the Weekend.” It’s the poppiest. There were lots of levels of things to mix — 112 tracks to mix. It was challenging.
What elements — musical or otherwise — inform your work? I do enjoy sounds a lot. It’s always musical, never visual. I often have an idea of what I want a record to sound like. As soon as I had a general idea of what I wanted it to sound like.
Some fans complain that Weekend‘s pop accessibility has been tantamount to selling out. The selling out argument — I sold out when I signed with Sony. That’s redundant.
Those fans are also the same type of people to contend that manufactured pop may be killing music these days. What do you think? Indie rock is also pretty manufactured. I find rock bands a lot more dull than girlbands.
Buying albums have become a thing of the past. What was the last album you purchased? The last thing I bought was Outkast’s Left Below. Music has lost its value. Not as much love goes into it.