With EDM "losing its death grip on the mainstream” as DJ and producer, Hervé, describes it, these are changing times for everyone in the dance music scene. But with a new album, Hallucinated Surf, dropping in July, and his latest single, Bang the Drum, offering great promise, it certainly doesn’t seem like this fella (feal name Joshua Harvey) is too worried about it.
“I've been doing a bit of production with other people, working on collabs and other bits,” Hervé tells us. “But also, the album is still a big job: getting remixes, videos, and everything together.”
It’s been a juggling act recently for Hervé, who also runs his own label, Cheap Thrills. Supporting the up-and-comings on his label is a big passion of his, but he admits he’s been a little “preoccupied” with the release of his own album and its relentless preparations. It’s a double album: the first disc covering Hervé’s core, uptempo club sound; the second, by contrast, being, “gothic indie hip hop, as someone once described it,” he smiles.
In other words, the second album is downtempo house, and Hervé is his keen for people to listen to them separately, depending on their mood. So what inspired him to take on the substantial challenge of a double album, which will actually amount to three discs on the vinyl release?
“I just wanted to make a document of what I was doing as an artist; it was much more engaging to make an album like that,” he explains. “It’s full of ideas, it’s entertaining, and hopefully it pushes some boundaries in terms of sounds and sonics. It would be very easy to just go back and do three track EPs all year, but that’s more if you just approach music and DJing as an industry. Really, I approach it as a passion, and an expression of art.”
Dance music is certainly one of the main genres in which artists become pigeonholed and are expected to stick to one style for their whole career - and that’s something Hervé is very keen to avoid.
“I’m not just a dance music person. Dance is a huge part of what I do, but I hope with this album people will be interested to see what I’m about a bit more,” he says. “I’ve always done the left-field, downtempo melancholic stuff, but then I’ve been doing so many remixes and club music tracks, so I suppose the dance stuff is body music, and the downtempo is mind music, you know?”
OK, so how does such an artist go about showing their full spectrum of talent in such a notoriously picky culture of music?
“Well, when you get to the stage of having more power and influence, it’s a lot easier to show your full self as an artist,” Hervé says. He makes a good point. “When you’re slightly more underground, it’s a bit more tricky; but again, if you want to approach your music as an industry, and produce the manufactured music that supplies the perceived agenda that keeps you in business, then fine. But I don’t think like that.”
This all reminds me of how dubstep pioneer Skream faced a huge backlash from fans when he decided to ditch dubstep following its 'Skrillexification', and move into disco-inspired beats.
“Some people want you to do the same thing forever and ever. I think a lot of these people aren’t in clubs, they’re more online. And then a new generation will come along – it’s quite tough, you have to adjust yourself to new generations.”
So where does Hervé see dance music heading now that EDM is disappearing from the mainstream?
“I don’t think it will do what dubstep did, which died overnight, leaving some extraordinary musical paradigm shift where everyone puts down their instruments in one field and picks them up in whatever this new shift is. I think EDM will just slowly die out. I think the deep house will become the mainstream pop dance music. A lot of it is very middle of the road and easily adaptable for vocals and pop. It’s quite disturbing when I think about why I got into dance music, because it’s so futuristic, it chains and warps constantly, like this ever-shifting beast; for me, dance music was always about pushing things forward, and trying to be exciting as an artist.”
With a keen analytical mind that has helped him surf the trials of his industry, and seen him approach his art in a very genuine, intuitive way, Hervé is a great asset to the world of dance music.
Follow Hervé on Twitter: @Herve
Words Adam Protz