Page last updated at 09:30 GMT, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 10:30 UK

Talking Shop: Calvin Harris

Calvin Harris
Harris first hit the charts with Acceptable In The 80s in 2007

After working with Kylie, Dizzee Rascal and Katy Perry, Scottish dance supremo Calvin Harris has released his second album, Ready For The Weekend.

It already features two number one hits - trance anthem I'm Not Alone and Dizzee Rascal's elastic club track Dance Wiv Me, which Harris produced and sang on.

The album is in a three-way race for number one, fending off competition from Michael Jackson and Tinchy Stryder.

But Harris reacted badly to some early, unfavourable reviews of the record - resulting in a (highly entertaining) rant on his Twitter account.

"Imagine you just spent two years of your life making a record," he wrote. "On your own. Every single day, long hours, working to get it sounding right.

"Imagine the buzz of making something that you love, and after two years you finally have something you can't wait for other people to hear.

"Then imagine that CD landing on the desk of 'snide rich person's kid' or 'pathetic London scene-FACE', then them skipping through the tracks in their lunch break, and saying 'Well it's Calvin Harris, isn't it? Two stars.'

"I'm telling you now that it doesn't feel good."

Speaking to the BBC news website on the day the album hit shop shelves, Harris explained why he felt so passionately about the critics' opinions.

Calvin Harris
I've been playing these songs to 20,000 people at festivals this summer, and it's gone off every single time
Calvin Harris addresses his critics on Twitter

Why on earth do you continue to read reviews if they upset you so much?

I don't know. It's like masochism, or something. I want to see what they think, because they're employed to review records. And stupidly, I think that people who are employed to review records should be impartial, and should listen to the record in a balanced way.

But you must know that dance music has never been well-received by critics?

Surely the agenda should just be to promote music that's good?

Ready For The Weekend is not a two-star album. It's just not. And I'm not saying that because I made it. There are a huge volume of reviews that aren't even based on the music. They barely say anything about the record.

So, putting the reviews aside, how do you feel about the album today?

I'm beside myself with delight, to be honest with you, because this has been such a long process. I've realised everything I had in my head and put it onto a CD, so for me it's a great achievement, personally. It's the best thing I've done in my life.

The singles have all done well - so are you expecting big things in the charts this weekend?

[Dismissive laugh] I never expect anything in terms of chart positions.

Before, when it was all physical, you could look at the lorry that was going out and you could work out "if they're shipping x amount, it'll probably sell y copies". But now it's down to someone pressing a button on their computer, not what's on display in the shop.

Dance music also suffers more from piracy than other genres.

Yeah, definitely. You can see just by looking at the difference between the album chart and the singles chart. You'll have Tinchy Stryder and N-Dubz with big hit singles and you won't necessarily see them in the album chart. Simply because the nature of the music - it's so much more disposable.

But this was my whole challenge - to make a dance album that wasn't disposable, that people were going to love and enjoy as much as I do.

Why have you tapped into 1990s house for the new album?

I got into house music in 1997-98. It was the golden age. I've had this confirmed by Dave Pearce. There were so many great dance records - Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx, Armand Van Helden, Defected Records.

I was just listening to all those classic riffs, that classic production and trying to put a modern twist on it, so that people who had never heard those records before could be given a taste of that feeling, that euphoria.

Calvin Harris
The 25-year-old hails from Dumfries in Scotland

How do you capture that feeling on record?

I love putting emotional white noise into a record. I think there's not enough of it in 2009. Sirens have fallen out of favour, though. There's only one air horn on the album.

You've had many songs and remixes out in the last six months - would you classify yourself as a workaholic?

Well, the thing is that I stopped drinking and that helped an amazing amount. The V Festival last year was the last time I drank. And ever since then, I've been working every single day. I haven't needed a recovery day from getting a hangover, or anything like that.

Was the alcohol becoming a problem?

Absolutely not. I wasn't an alcoholic or anything like that, but it was clearly affecting what I do. My live shows are a million times better now. If you drink, you can't even remember if it's a good show or not - and that's probably for the best, because it would have been rubbish because I'd have been drunk and not making any sense. The fact that people would pay to see a show and I'd not be on form - it wasn't fair. It's not fair on anyone.

Were you annoyed Dizzee Rascal didn't ask you to sing on his new single?

Well, I produced it, so it was my decision not to sing. Anyway, he coerced me into singing on Dance Wiv Me. I didn't want to sing on that either.

But that's a great chorus.

Well it is! Thank you very much. I wrote it.

Looking back, it was probably a good thing for me, career-wise. But if I can avoid singing I do.

Who have you turned down working with that you later came to regret?

No-one. I make the decisions based on the song. If I don't like it, I have to say so. I was asked this again recently and I did actually turn down working with Lady Gaga earlier because I was given an early demo. But, you know, I think she's a good artist... but I don't regret not working with her.

Okay then. Who have you turned down that you're really glad about rejecting?

Oh, I don't want to say! I just can't. I'm just trying not to get into trouble any more. I've had enough negativity this week.

In that case, is there a positive message you'd like to put out there?

Only that my friend's asked me to give him a shout-out a few times. He's called Richard Jay - you can find him on MySpace.

Calvin Harris was talking to BBC Entertainment reporter Mark Savage. Ready For The Weekend is out now.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Harris gave up drink 'for fans'
17 Aug 09 |  Entertainment
Harris spreads his Jam TV message
28 Jul 09 |  South of Scotland
Harris admits lost album was lie
19 Jul 09 |  Entertainment
Harris knocks GaGa off top spot
12 Apr 09 |  Entertainment
Harris holds onto chart top spot
19 Apr 09 |  Entertainment
DJ loses album in baggage backlog
04 Apr 08 |  South of Scotland

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific