As one of the UK’s most prolific producers, Joshua “Hervé” Harvey has been pushing out some of the scene’ most revered club tracks for over a decade now. With his label, Cheap Thrills, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and dropping a compilation album full of brand new exclusives from favourites like Fake Blood, Audio Bullys and The Count & Sinden to mark the occasion. DMCWORLD caught up with hm to find out a bit more about the last ten years and what we can expect from the next ten…
First up, congratulations on the label’s birthday – ten years is a long time in music! How different is the Cheap Thrills you run today to the label you started a decade ago?
Thank you, it’s weird to be celebrating it as it’s always felt like a new thing to me and a kind of underdog label. As for changes – for a start, we do a lot less vinyl than we did back then, as with most other labels, it’s all about streaming and downloads now. I’ve always had someone working the more office side of things for me, so that side of it I’m not really sure how it’s changed. The same rules have applied throughout though: when you’re in fashion it’s easy to get to the talented people, when you’re not – you really have to dig around to get the talent!
The label is named after your own tune, Cheap Thrills, which of course gets a feature on the compilation – how did you manage to get away with using that sample though?
Well, initially it was a bit of fun to send to Switch and Trevor Loveys to play on Halloween, but when we played it out it just blew up like crazy. Ministry came in and offered a lot of money early on, but only if we could clear the sample! Some people may not know this but Thriller was written by an English man from Sheffield called Rod Temperton – we approached him expecting to be turned down immediately, but he seemed to like it and I got clearance way faster than expected! (side note, we had the actual recording replayed by a company in Brighton, they did an amazing job of recreating the riff – they actually inspired me to just go ahead and recreate music that I sampled going forward). Once we had publishing clearance, Ministry of Sound picked it up and put it on about 100 compilations!
One of the most iconic records that you’ve had on the label has got to be Fake Blood’s ‘Mars’ – there was a real sense of mystery around Fake Blood’s identity at the time which isn’t something that we see much of these days anymore with the power of social media, do you think it is still possible to promote a record or artist in that way today?
If a track takes off, then yes, totally. But people seem to be such fame hungry maniacs that I don’t think they would bother. You do see people trying now and again though – you get promos saying “mystery producer teams up with/starts new project”, they almost never take off. It’s just about the music and if it starts rippng up the clubs and getting the support from DJs. At the end of the day, it’s about having the right tune to blow up and get things rolling for you; other factors do help, getting on the right labels, management, online stuff, but it’s mostly about the music… and lots of luck!!
As a producer yourself, you’ve always switched between a number of aliases – a number of which are featured on the compilation – is there a particular track which stands out as being a favourite of yours from the last ten years?
I think a track called “Used To Be My Friend” under my alias Odysseus (I don’t think I ever told anyone it was me, but anyway!). I’d started doing some house records under the Odysseus moniker with releases on Moda Black, Cheap Thrills and Black Butter when Sony/Deconstruction signed “Used To Be My Friend”. It came about very organically – I’d written the instrumental song during the day and sent it to my friend Rob Harvey (formally lead singer of the band ‘The Music’) and he mapped out the vocal melody that evening, then the lyrics the next day. The idea was that I wanted to create a kind of RnB hybrid track – I had high hopes for it (and I really like the video!), but it just didn’t catch (I still think it’s a beautiful track…
…second place would have to be my Voodoo Chilli track with Trevor Loveys called “Love Songs”.)
The launch of Cheap Thrills represents a really exciting and vibrant time in UK dance music when the internet was becoming an important tool for promoting and releasing tracks, as well as giving new producers an unprecedented platform to share new music and remixes – did you see it as an important part of your own promo at the time?
Not really with our stuff, despite all the face it was all fairly underground music. Many blogs helped a lot, I’m not sure, I didn’t really keep tabs on that side of things if I’m being honest. Obviously it worked for many people though and is now vital to releasing most records, but we just kept our heads down and put the records out.
Are there any producers from that era who have gone off the radar and that you’d like to see return?
I would like to see Switch come back and do a house record, but I don’t think he has any interest!
The anniversary compilation sees the return of a few well-known favourites, including Audio Bullys, Speaker Junk and Fake Blood – did you manage to get everyone on board you wanted to feature on it?
Theo (Fake Blood) was the one I really wanted to get, and I knew I wanted to do a lot of the exclusives myself (or with a feat guest) under my various guises (forgot to do a Voodoo Chilli and an Odysseus one though!)
And finally, once the anniversary is out of the way – what’s next for you and the label?
A new Machines Don’t Care album (early 90’s rave inspired) - Hervé – Hallucinated Surf REDUX (re-releasing the 10 downtempo tracks from my last album with remixes and bonus tracks as I don’t think the label that put them out spent enough time on them) - New Hervé album / Boy Racer album - Any new great artists I can find!
Cheap Thrills – 10 Year Anniversary Compilation is out 28.09.18
10 Years of Cheap Thrills [Exclusives]
2. Fake Blood
3. Count of Monte Cristal
– Cell Phone
4. Hervé & Audio Bullys
– Gimme A Beat
6. Boo Shaka
– Bass Jam
7. The Count & Sinden
– Dark Days
8. Action Man
– Life Is A Drug That Stops Working
9. Hervé & Marc Spence
– To The Sound
– Just Lose It
10 Years of Cheap Thrills [Classics]
– Cheap Thrills
2. Fake Blood
3. Machines Don͛t Care
– Afro Jacker
4. His Majesty Andre
– Peep Thong
5. Trevor Loveys
– Organ Grinder
6. Jack Beats
7. Project Baseline
– Drop The Pressure
8. Rico Tubbs
– Hip Rave Anthem
– Pineapple Crush
10. Hervé & Kissy Sell Out