When Fact Magazine labeled 2007 Herve’s year the future looked rosy for the uber-talented Switch protégé as he released scores of cutting edge filthy techno club hits that opened the door for the likes of Crookers to reach global success.
Chatting to Skrufff at the time he brushed off suggestions he was routinely earning five figure DJ fees, responding ‘’I think people have a distorted view of how much money people in my position make’ and five years on he’s equally frank about whether America’s EDM explosion has changed his game.
“I’m not really sure, being honest, not noticeably,” he admits.
“I suppose it’s early days. I’m still waiting for the insane minority Christian right wing of America to get wind of all these young American people enjoying themselves and try and ruin it for them.
How long before EDM is called Electronic DEVIL Music,” he laughs.
“It feels like this new American involvement has made things very business orientated because the money involved has become huge. It’s gonna’ attract big business. Great for those artists involved but kind of irrelevant for others.
“As I say,” he muses, “It’s all very interesting watching it all play out, seems mostly positive in general and for me personally so far too.”
Also known as The Count (with Sinden), Voodoo Chilli, Speaker Junk, Action Man, Dead Soul Brothers and Young Lovers, he’s remained prolifically busy and in addition has recently adopted a new social media strategy. Step one, it seems, is to engage with fans, a policy that leads to a ‘vote for me’ mail for the latest remix he’s done for Diplo and Usher.
“I'm extremely excited to announce My remix of Diplo & Usher's Climax is sitting at number 1 on the Hype Machine Social Chart & At number 22 on the overall popular chart,” he writes on the message mailed to fans and media.
“It's possible when it hits #1 they'll let us release it.”
So why canvass for votes all of a sudden?
“I’ve recruited a very good new online person who advises me on the best way to approach using the internet to get my music out there wider than I have before,” he replies, “It’s just one of the ways to get the music out there.”
His campaign for the track (which is an infectious and accessible though driving and dirty bass soaked bona fide floor filler) works almost instantly, so presumably it’s in with a shout but why haven’t the label decided to release it already?
“I have no idea what their plans are for it, though I assume there will be a release for it. Within minutes of it going number one in the charts, quite a few people involved with that particular track reached out and asked for it,” he nods, “And it will definitely be on my next ghetto bass mixtape anyway.
But to give you another example, Jack Beats and myself both remixed Beyonce's Countdown track and they never released those, so who knows! “
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): How much do you still feel the music business doesn’t quite understand you?
Herve: “I’m starting to think the industry considers numbers across social platforms a little more than quality of music. I don’t know that I agree with ‘the music business’ not understanding me- It might be the other way around, or was, to some degree.
Recently a newcomer to the business started talking to me about how important digital strategy and delivery of content is in the online arena these days. To be honest, I’d never heard anything like her ideas or anyone express the ideas she has about how the process of being heard should work. It’s somewhat scary to believe in someone that’s new on the scene with such big ideas. But coming home to a number one hit, record plays and growth across all of my platforms; the gamble paid off.
To answer your question though, I’ve no idea what the business thinks of me to be honest. I’m working a lot so maybe it likes me a little? I have a feeling it’s about to see the best of me.”
Skrufff: It’s over 4 years since I last did a proper interview with you, how much has your life changed since then?
Herve: “I’m more confident in what I do, and I think I’ve got way better at what I do. I’m happier, I built my own studio, I bought a house so I don’t have to sleep on a mattress on the floor, I got fit , I’m starting to fly again.”
Skrufff: Diplo in particular has gone directly for the mainstream pop world (such as with his collaboration with Tiesto): how much are you tempted to write overt pop music that’s deliberately more commercial than what you might personally like to listen to?
Herve: “I love good pop music and I love good underground music and I gladly make both. There is an awful lot of artless rubbish which are basically marketing tools to make Brand X bigger, people are buying them, so we get what we deserve. It doesn’t bother me. I do music to do as I please not to conform to some bunch of strangers’ ideas of what I am or should be.
For example, I’ve made an album when everyone says you should only make singles, well I made the album because I wanted to; I love albums and I am an album artist. One who can make singles too.
Where Diplo in particular is concerned, I wouldn’t say he went after the mainstream pop world. He started gaining momentum with indie remixes of little known artists. I’d say the pop world came after him. Considering his original collaboration with Usher. Climax isn’t your typical ‘pop’ sound. But, Electronic Dance music is the new POP- and that’s what’s most exciting to watch.”
Skrufff: You mentioned you’re starting to fly again and I read a while back that you were afraid of flying; is this still an issue?
Herve: “I recently overcame my fear of flying and replaced it with a fear of not living the life I was intended to live. So I will be heading out to whoever will have me over Europe, then when I am more comfortable I will head out long haul.”
Skrufff: Switch, Jesse Rose and hordes more producers have relocated to Los Angeles in the last few years; how much is that an option you’re considering?
Herve: “I’d like to experience LA , I love the idea of the sun and the sea, but I would also like to check out New York, though my music plans for the future don’t require me being in any particular place apart from a studio. Maybe once I start DJing more internationally it will seem to make more sense.”
Skrufff: Fact magazine labelled 2007 ‘Herve’s year’: how conscious were you then of how much you were breaking through?
Herve: “Not much really, I was just having a great time making music and DJing. Things are so different now, so exposed. Back then it felt a little more undercover, a fun after dark secret, closer to when rave was around, like being part of a secret club of ravers, clubs, musicians and DJs. People now all turn and stare at the DJ, before that from the inception of acid house it was all about lights out, lasers on, dancing in the strobe-lights. its just fun in a different way now. More or less fun? I’m not sure yet.”
Skrufff: Has it got easier as you’ve got more experienced? Or harder? How much is competition stiffer these days?
Herve: “Breaking through? I think its way harder now, especially if you’re new, even if you’re really talented it’s tough. There’s a lot of ‘who you know not what you know’ in this business. Making music is something I love to do and I think that side has got easier over time. But it’s definitely hard out there.”
Herve’s new album is out shortly on Cheap Thrills. For LOADS more information on him, click below:
Jonty Skrufff: http://listn.to/JontySkrufff <http://listn.to/JontySkrufff>