Monday, 14 February 2011

TEA with Harvey Mckay


Time Magazine likened Glasgow to Detroit during its 1960s Motown heyday, now TEA now likens Glasgow to the halcyon days of Detroit techno from the 1980's.

With bands such as Primal Scream, Franz Ferdinad and Mogwai once hogging the limelight its projection has somewhat turned to Glasgow's thriving underground electronic music scene. Continuing in helping keep this vibe alive is the Glaswegian pure gemme Harvey Mckay.

Since 2008 Havey Mckay has seen his tracks embedded into the catalogues of Perc Trax, Manual Music, 8 Sided Dice and his local Soma Quality Recordings. With one album under his belt and another in the pipeline TEA caught up the Glaswegian shortly after the release of his Substanz Underground EP for a blether about DJing in clubs underage, producing techno on his iphone, playing with his border collie and english tea with no added stimulants.



Tell us a bit about how you began to work you way into clubs?


I first got a residency at a Glasgow club around the age of 16 or 17, that was fun. I was quite young for that slot and wasn't really old enough to be in the club legally (laughs). As I got older I did the usual, running nights with mates in Glasgow and it all really started from there.

How was it first getting picked up by Artificial Silence?

The Artificial Silence thing was pretty easy. Jon Virtue was a very good friend of mine who ran the label, we were into the same vibe so he signed me up. He also signed Gary Beck who is now a mate of mine around the same time too, this was back when nobody really knew who any of us were so I think Jon had quite a good ear for what had potential.

What then eventually led you to Soma Recordings and how has it been being part of the Soma Family?

Yeah it's nice. I have been a fan of the label for a very very long time so it's great be apart of it. To release along side such huge artists is a real honour, I have a great working relationship with Soma. My main man at Soma is Chris Lamb, a good friend of mine. It makes for a easy going working relationship as we can be very honest, so when it comes to tracks and projects we don't have to worry about offending each other. Being honest about what we think is good, it may not always be what you want to hear but it makes things much easier and faster.



You just released your Substanz Underground EP. Do you feel that it’s a bit darker then what you would normally produce?


I wouldn't say the Substanz ep was the darkest I have ever put out, I have released darker stuff before. I would say it's one of the deepest EP's I have put out and really enjoyed making it. An aim of mine when making it was to show people my music is more than the peak time techno I am known for. To be honest I didn't think the EP would do as well as it has so I am very happy about that.

What is it about Glasgow do you think that spawns such wide range of amazing electronic music?

Drugs and nut jobs (laughs). To to say Glasgow is full of characters is an understatement. I have had the chance to travel about a bit and have had my fair share of good times, but there is something about Glaswegians that is very specific. I think we are very lucky to have had prolonged exposure to such high quality underground music and DJ's in Glasgow, I think that comes through in the music. Its almost like a communal understanding and maturity in Glasgow's underground dance music scene.



Tell us about your track Nano you made with your iPhone.

I came across the program Nano Studio and thought it looked cool, and for only £6 crazy! Full sequencer, mixer, synths, and samplers. You can even visually edit wav in it. When I first started producing with reason you couldn't even do that to the same standard that you can in Nano Studio on the iphone. I just wanted to see if i could write and produce an entire track on an iphone music app that was of a reasonable standard. To be honest it wasn't really that hard. It took me about a day of playing about with it to become familiar enough with Nano Studio to write a track. Then it took me about a day to write the track itself. It was good fun and I think when I get the chance again I will do another track on the iphone. I think it's the first or at least one of the first tracks to be fully done on a phone, so that's a pretty cool.


You also mention that Reason is a great program to begin learning production?

Reason is a great way to start. It's quite hard to get a nice sound at first so you have to become quite inventive in squeezing sounds from it. Because of that process you develop a better understanding of how things actually work and that leaves you in good stead for moving onto other platforms and DAWS. A lot of the other DAWS that support VST's sound great from the start and that is all well and good, but if you have used reason you will have probably had to do a bit of wiring and manipulating to beef things up. This will help in giving you an proper understanding on what exactly needs to be done in order to get the results you want.

And Harvey Mckay live, tell us a bit about that.You mention that your live show is more of an organic process?

As for live. I use Abelton to produce music these days. But for performing I use Traktor. I can do so much with it and I prefer that for performing these days. On the production side of things Abelton is the nuts! I love it, it really changed the way I write my music and lay down my sounds. I love working in the session view because it means I can basicly do a performance and record it onto the sequencer page. I prefer this to spending weeks on the sequencer page and arranging the blocks of audio and midi.


Whats coming up in 2011 for Harvey Mckay?

Loads of stuff happening. I have a few big tours on the horizon and another 2 eps signed up, one on Soma and the other one on Alan Fitzpatrick's label 8 Sided Dice. I also have quite a few big remixes as well, but I'm not sure what I'm aloud to say about them at the moment so I better leave it at that for now. I am in the position that if i wanted to I would not have to write music for the rest of the year and be covered, as I have enough music coming out for the rest of the year, but thats not the plan of course. I will be writing a lot more and there will be lot of music out this year for sure.



When your not performing or in the studio, what do you like to get up to in your spare time?

Just chill out and play with my insane Border Collie dog. I also love a good comedy. I'd say that's my second love, comedy, as well as getting together with my mates and getting into some trouble. It always ends in trouble but I think it's usually my fault (laughs).

What is your favourite tea?

Just boring old English tea, decaf though. Those stimulants are bad for you.

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