"BONO DOESN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT SPACE TRAVEL."
Calvin Harris talks Mutya, Dragonette, Kylie and Lisa Scott-Lee…
Calvin Harris is one of the best popstar/music producers on the planet. And if not one of the best then at least one of the easiest to get on the phone.
We were going to ask Calvin Harris about the songs Calvin Harris has been working on with Kylie Minogue but it didn't take much asking because Calvin Harris brought it up himself even if we are basically 'none the wiser' about anything at the end of it.
Anyway here is an interview.
Questions: Peter Robinson
Answers: Calvin Harris (obviously)
Hello Calvin Harris, what are you doing at this very moment in time?
I'm sitting on a chair in Norwich.
What are you doing in Norwich?
I am supporting Groove Armada in Norwich.
Is Mutya hanging around?
I don't know if she is. Mutya probably wouldn't 'do' Norwich.
Mutya is probably too famous for Norwich, really.
Yes. I bet she has a busy schedule.
Have Groove Armada asked you to step in and make it 'Song For Calvin'?
I'm very surprised they've not offered it to me yet, actually. And of course I'm too polite to approach them. I'd rather wait and be asked. I'M NOT A CHARITY!
When are you going to get yourself a ridiculous costume so you can send some tramp off the street to do all your live shows?
I'm thinking of making a full body suit to incorporate my head logo, as it happens.
Like a sort of electro Frank Sidebottom.
Yes, exactly like him. EXACTLY like Frank Sidebottom. There needs to be a revival for Frank Sidebottom. Maybe I'm the man to do it.
What's been the biggest disappointment of your year so far?
I did some songs with Cathy Dennis for the Roisin Murphy album but then Roisin decided not to use them because she is a bit mental. She must be crazy because the songs are really good and Cathy Dennis is obviously legendary. That was a disappointment partly it might also have taken some of the Kylie heat off me for a while. That's all got a bit ridiculous.
It would probably take someone a bit more famous than Roisin Murphy to take 'the Kylie heat' off you.
Really, I'd just like it if people knew that I sometimes work with people who aren't Kylie. I'm not her little production bitch!
What are you going to do with the Roisin cast-offs?
WELL! I'm not allowed to do anything with them for legal reasons. I now have two backing tracks that are completely wasted. Geez! What else Roisin — are you going pay my bill now, you twat? She fucking cost me all sorts of money and now she's not even using the songs. Honestly, the world of pop music – I don't like it at all.
Not everyone is moody in the world of pop, though.
Most people are twats. It's amazing and unusual when you meet people who are lovely and normal.
Who is lovely and normal?
Groove Armada, Kylie, Biff – Kylie's songwriter… Er… Who else?
That's quite a short list so far.
Jo Whiley. Pete Tong. Annie Mac – they're all lovely and normal.
You won't be saying that when Radio One refuse to play your next single.
There are a lot of Radio One folk on that list, aren't there? Well, there's Lucio from Capital Radio, he's lovely and normal but that really is it.
Eight people is still not a very long list. Although it's fairly realistic.
Obviously I wasn't counting myself. That makes it nine. And I'm top of that list.
Which songs in the chart at the moment would you like to remix?
None of them. I'm not doing any remixes any more.
Another bad experience?
Yes! Dragonette weren't very nice to me. I did a remix of their single and then they said, 'by the way, it's shit', and then asked me to change everything about it. I told them I couldn't because I was on a bus and that they could basically FUCK OFF. That's where we left it.
But was the remix shit?
Well, yeah, it was shit. What annoyed me was that I thought I could get away with it. I did spend two days on it, but those two days were mostly spent thinking how shit it was. Usually you can get away with that sort of stuff.
Right. Calvin, is anyone else using you as their 'production bitch' at the moment?
There isn't anyone else — apart from Kylie obviously…
You've mentioned Kylie twice already. Shall we talk about her now?
What are your songs for Kylie like?
They are very good. They are very pop but also quite filthy.
Are they proper Kylie songs or are they just Calvin Harris songs with Kylie warbling over the top?
They weren't written to be specifically Kylie or a Calvin Harris tracks. They are somewhere in the middle.
What is you favourite Kylie Minogue song?
It is probably 'German Bold Italic', the one she did with Towa Tei. It is fucking hilarious and it's why I love Kylie, because she does exactly what she wants to do.
So should we expect something similar to 'German Bold Italic' from your Kylie collaborations, ie a load of old racket?
No, my Kylie tracks aren't Japanese techno. Sadly.
Would you ever do a song with Lisa Scott-Lee?
No I wouldn't. Some things just are not worth doing.
There comes a time in life when even Calvin Harris needs to say no.
Most times in life I should just say no. I'm wouldn't want to single her out but the majority of people out there I just wouldn't work with. I'm in quite an advantaged position of being a producer and having a record deal as well so I can just release my own stuff quite happily until they drop me. Then and only then will I be approaching Miss Scott-Lee with a backing track.
You claim to get all the girls, but are you secretly still a virgin living with your mum?
I do, it's not a secret! All my stuff is still at my parents' house. My mum doesn't come on the tourbus with me though, I have to draw a line somewhere. My mum worries whether I'm eating healthily when I'm away from home.
And, for the benefit of Mrs Harris, are you eating well?
I had a burger last night. That's not very healthy, is it?
Well, one burger is hardly going to push you to the point where a wall needs to be smashed through to get you out of the house.
Exactly, thank you. Most of the time the food is okay. There is catering on the Groove Armada tour. It's not as good as it was on the Faithless tour. We were eating duck every night on that one.
Good. What do you have on for the rest of the day?
I'm just going to piss about on MySpace.
Do you think popstars running their own MySpace pages is a bit rubbish in terms of the whole 'popstar enigma' thing?
Yeah, it really does ruin that — but I'm too far down the line now to stop doing it.
Maybe you should get yourself a terrible 'street team' to sent out endless bulletins and emails.
That's horrible, isn't it? Fortunately with my MySpace everything has to go through me for approval and I get idea upon idea about marketing tools and ways to 'gather data' — in their words. It's such a seedy little world and I'm declining all sorts of things at the moment, like 'ooh, we'll get people put their email into this, but we'll pretend it is a little game'. It's just horrible.
Everyone likes a database, Calvin.
They love collecting people's data. They asked me to give them my MySpace login details and I've been holding them off for a couple of months now. But if I start sending spam messages you'll know that they've gotten to me.
Have you been asked to headline 'Live Earth' yet?
What the hell is that? Is it like 'Live Aid'?
Yes, but this time there's no messing around.
For fuck's sake, what does 'Live Earth' mean? The whole Earth?
Yes! Forget saving just Africa, this is whole planet.
They're saving the earth? I want to save the moon. I'm going to go and save the moon.
Maybe you should take your idea to Bono and Geldof.
Bono won't sort me out, Bono doesn't know anything about space travel. I'll go straight to the man who can, and that's Richard Branson. I'll say, "look Branson, I want to play on the moon, sort it out and beam it via your Virgin network all around the world".
Thank you very much, Calvin Harris.