Exclusive Interview: Harvey McKay

Harvey McKay represents the finest in house and techno. A graduate of the Glasgow school of electronic music he has broken through over the last couple with a constant flow of top class releases on labels such as Bedrock, Soma and Drumcode to name but a few. His DJ sets are lethal, and his dedication to the craft in unrelenting. So here we have a little chat with the Scotsman…

How has 2014 treated you and has it been a good year for Harvey Mckay?
It’s been an incredible year so far, so many amazing gigs parties so many countries, so many cool people in one year, it’s by far been the most eventful year of my life so far. There has just been a whole new level of awareness for the music I release and it’s really nice to see it reaching so many people and so many people getting right into it and enjoying it. I would say that’s one of the best things once things really take off, is that your music really starts getting to a whole new level of people so it’s really rewarding to see that happen.

Obviously you had the three No1s in the Beatport Techno charts. That must be a pretty special feeling and gives you an idea that you are doing something well. Would you say you have found your special formula when it comes to making hits over these last 18 months?
Not formula per say, more just a sound and vibe that’s struck a chord with people. I also found my sound that’s recognisable. I think it’s really important to have that, so that becomes your signature and is why people get into you and what makes you unique.

Any things that if you had the chance you might have done differently?
Sometimes I think it would have been great if it happened sooner, as it took a long time to get to this point, but it makes it that much sweeter when it happens. I have no regrets and just enjoy how things are going at the moment.

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You always seem to have a special rapport with the crowd whenever I’ve been to your gigs? How do you make sure you connect with a crowd and how does it feel when people are loving your music?
I always really enjoy DJing and I feel that rubs off on the crowd. I have been DJing for a long time – if you’re having a party up there then the crowd reciprocate. I am a real people person and love engaging with people in life, I am the kind of person who will talk to anyone I meet who seems friendly, I feel it makes a for a far more interesting life hearing what everyone has to say. So I think that openness to connect with people comes across when I am performing.

You have a special connection with his hometown and his roots? How important do you think your upbringing and those Scottish roots has been to how you DJ? Also how would you say it has helped you or are there even any ways you may feel it has hindered you slightly?
In absolute no way has it hindered me. Glasgow made me who I am for sure, I have such a love for the place. To go back to what I said before about talking to people and connecting/chatting with people I have not met before I think stems from me being from Glasgow, the people are the most approachable people I have met on the planet, there areal sense of community there. The only way it holds me back is the lack of direct flights!

You had huge success with ‘Lost’. I think it was two months at the top of the Techno charts and in the top 10 for like five months. When you were putting together the track, could you sense that you were on to something special and something that was likely to be so well received?
Yeah it was about eight and a half months in the top 100 crazy stuff. That tune really struck a chord with people, and it’s probably my most successful track to date career changing wise and chart success wise. I knew for the second I came up with it I knew it could be a game changer for sure.

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You’re a man that is synonymous with a sound that is very genre varied and hard to pigeonhole. Who were the people that you were admiring when you first started DJing/producing and were they similar types of artists?
Lots of people, early Prodigy, Laurent Garnier, also Band like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Jimmy Hendrix Experience have had a massive influence on me. I had such a diverse music exposure due to my mum and dad and what all my friends were listening to, really lucky that way.

How excited are you for Valhalla Festival? What is it that makes Amsterdam so special at the moment on the dance music scene?
I LOVE Amsterdam, my favourite city apart from my hometown. I just love going there. It’s been the place I have seen the most in 2014, and hoping that continues. It’s really on fire with techno and house at the moment, and the people are so amazing there so it’s just great to party over there. Every time I get a new booking there I can’t wait to get back over to Amsterdam

Your latest release ‘Amen’ came out last week on Bedrock Records. It sounds like another sure fire hit. Any plans for an album in the pipeline?
Yeah it has done well, it’s a slightly different sound from my usual, a bit deeper and more of smoother sub bass sound than my other productions, but it’s nice to play around and make stuff like that. No album plans yet, as the singles are doing really well so just going with the flow doing them at the moment.

What does 2015 hold for you? What would you like to achieve in the next 12 months?
Gig-wise things are filling up nicely already, lots of gigs and a few really big festival dates booked in. Also some big EPs on some familiar labels to look forward to. 2015 is going to be another big year and keep things moving up and pushing the sound. As far as achievements, just keep exposing as many people to my music music as I can and spreading the word – and enjoy DJing at all the parties and club nights I have the pleasure of playing.

Words: Jasper Price

Harvey McKay plays at Valhalla Festival in Amsterdam this weekend, more information here.

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