Bound for a flight to sunny LA from gloomy Glasgow, Calvin Harris seemed ready for a hectic weekend playing gigs in California, Coachella and a sold-out gig at NYC’s Webster Hall. After wowing the UK with his debut I Created Disco and collaborating with some of dance-pop’s hottest names (think Kylie and Sophie Ellis-Bextor) it became clear that Harris is a one-man dynamo capable of anything. Now that the UK is taken care of, Harris is securing his name stateside and in Europe. With his track record of being a purveyor of hotter than hot dance music, one would think Harris’ life is a constant whirlwind disco, but it turns out he doesn’t even prefer going out!

So you’ve got a busy week in America coming up!
Yeah, we were also in Miami a few weeks back at the Winter Music Conference…it’s all dance music. I like going to America, it’s good. We don’t get a chance to go very often.

You played in New York before right?
We played once there and in LA.

It’s been a pretty crazy year for you…
It’s been busy.

If you compare last summer to this coming summer, do you think it will be the same level of intensity or more low-key?
It will be incredibly low-key compared to last year.

Are you doing any festivals?
We’re doing a handful, not very many in the UK. We are trying to do some European ones, my stuff has just come out there, but it’s hard to get over there on our budget.

You’re originally from Dumfries but where are you living now?
I live in Glasgow.

Do you like keeping it local: making music there, performing there?
Well the most fun for me is sitting in the studio, usually on my own. It’s what I’ve always done. But with all the gigs we played last year it was nice to get home and start making new songs again.

Being in Glasgow, and Scotland in general, did you recognize the same people who’ve followed you since the beginning?
Since I’m not from Glasgow I wasn’t active in the music scene, and I sat at home in my bedroom making songs and I couldn’t really socialize with those kinds of people or promote myself by doing deejay sets. I did nothing and when I got signed a lot of people wanted to see who I was, especially because I came from such a small town.

Yes, you definitely seemed to have come out of thin air! Looking back at your beginnings, what is your outlook for the new album? Will you record with the same ethic as the first, recording it in an isolated place or will it all be stepped up?
It will definitely be stepped up. The whole idea of me doing it by myself is one I won’t change. I don’t need a producer, an engineer or anything like that. There doesn’t need to be a huge budget. That won’t change but the way I’ve worked has changed.

Obviously you can do all these things that artists can’t do on their own, and you don’t need much backup. All of this has made you so in demand with people wanting you to remix and produce them. How did it feel working with big names like Kylie Minogue and Sophie Ellis-Bextor – with these artists wanting to tap into your abilities?
It felt great, but it didn’t feel strictly out of the ordinary. I had worked with some pop records before and I knew I could do better than that. I was pleasantly surprised that they heard of me and wanted to do some songs.

You also worked with Dizzee Rascal. Was that a different spin than working with pop types?
Well it was a lot more enjoyable, more laid-back. He had just left his old label XL, and everything was laid-back and things happened naturally from start to finish. With the other stuff it was very much stringent deadlines, which made it less enjoyable than it could have been. He’s such a great artist it was a great thing for me to do from a selfish-producer point of view.

With the next album, are you being lax about it since you want to focus on reaching Europe now, or are you going to work on both?
With this album I don’t have as huge aspirations as I could have. I know it’s going to be better than the first one, but I don’t know if it’s going to be as marketable. I’m not concerning myself with that. At the same time I’m not being lazy, I’m still working.

You definitely seem to be respected in America with a Shortlist Prize nomination.
It was great, just to be thought of in that way. Well there’s one thing I’m definitely not over here [the UK]: critically acclaimed.

Being a dance music impresario, what city would you recommend that’s hot for nightlife at the moment? What’s your preference?
I don’t really go out.

I guess I haven’t really had time. I’m not a club fiend who goes out listening to loud music. I get enough of that at the gigs!  

–Andrea D’Alessandro

  1. Kylie Minogue is a great performer. She has established herself as a world class entertainer, performing sell-out shows in front of thousands. I just admire her style.