You may also know him as a remixer nonpareil, rejigging everyone from Bloc Party and The Chemical Brothers through to Mark Ronson, Roisin Murphy and New Young Pony Club. But it is this freewheeling, all encompassing ethos that has made him one of the most exciting things to happen to dancefloors in some time - his music is joyous, wide-ranging, multicultural and all-round damn good fun, it’s Ghetto Bass.
Demian Smith: Listening to your new mixtape ‘Ghetto Bass’ with its blend of “machine-gun beats”, “dub step smoulder”, “low-slung tropical funk”, and a Gay Dentist, I was confused how one person can make music that is so diverse… and then I realised that the double CD is nearly all other people’s music. Do you know there are laws about nicking music and selling it?
Hervé: Well 16 of the tracks are mine own or my remixes and there’s also a few artists from my own label cheap thrills. There are some, exclusives also, the opening track is by Jack Beats who I have signed to the label this could be a big year for them, I did a re-fix of Fake Bloods “Mars” and also I did the last track on the CD Jungle Steppers, something a little bit different.
Demian Smith: You are becoming something like royalty on the electro-house scene these days: DJing, producing, record labelling, etc, do think there is a chance that having people treat you like a DJ god will give you an inflated sense of your own coolness and in the worst case feed your ego to the point of making you act like Nathan Barley?
Hervé: No chance, I have had so many shitty jobs for long periods of time I really appreciate what I have, and also what goes up must come down. There’s enough egotistical dick heads in dance music already, let your talent show off not your mouth I say.
I’m also doing my own t-shirt label (also called Cheap Thrills) which I’m very much into. Frankmusick introduced me to this Spanish designer so I sent him a load of ideas I had and he made them amazing… very exciting stuff.
Demian Smith: Your music reminds me of happy hardcore circa 1994-96 (?); Labyrinth nightclub in Dalston; white doves, Mitsubishis and Apples. A lot of the music back then was being played by DJs from Essex, and being produced by people with ponytails, also from Essex. Essex appears to have been an important breeding ground for happy hardcore, drum and bass, and garage music - genres that can be picked out in your music. How did growing up in Essex affect the music you make today?
Hervé: Well rave was big in Essex so it was good to be from there, I would say the rave element in some of my old trax comes from uk hardcore 1990-92 and jungle / drum n bass from then on, I never listened to happy hardcore really. When I was in Essex I used to make tons of electronica as I was in this big house in the middle of the country side, it really was beautiful in the summer back in those days (we used to have sunshine!) coming back from raves at sunrise and lying on the grass in my garden looking over the shallow valley at all the fields was fucking marvellous, I do miss those days of innocent drug abuse and raving till you fall over.
Demian Smith: You also go by the aliases of Action Man, Young Lovers, Dead Soul Brothers and Voodoo Chilli, produce with Sinden as the Count and are part of your own “supergroup” Machines Don’t Care. Why so many names and what’s the difference between a group, a supergroup and a group with lots of talented and famous DJs and producers?
Hervé: I like all kinds of music and I produce a lot of trax I believe to be worthy of putting out so I need many names.
As for the differences, I don’t know, I don’t think about it. I just get excited about making new music, Machines was never supposed to be a super group I just wanted to collaborate with my mates who I respected, most of them blew up after we’d done all the tracks to be honest, the second one is looking great I’m very excited about it.
Demian Smith: I understand you are enjoying script writing in your free time. Can you tell me what are your favourite three films, including in the mix, one art house film (with subtitles), one action film (starring at least two British actors), and one romantic comedy (not starring Hugh Grant)?
1. Open Your Eyes (abre los ojos)
3. Big Lebowski (?!? Well it’s a comedy)
Demian Smith :If you were offered loads of cash to make any film you wanted how would the pitch start and who would you get to act?
Hervé: It would be a horror ‘cos I’ve always wanted to make one, I already have an idea,
Not sure who I would get to act… that’s a tough one.
I do like the whole thing of getting non actors to deliver less “actorly” (?!? Is it a word) performances.
I’m developing a tv show at the moment and I have some people interested, its early days yet but I hope it comes together. I did script writing at university and did very well plus I’ve read all the books you are supposed to read, its enjoyable.
I’ll be making music until I die but I like to try and learn new things.
Demian Smith: You live in West London, and have produced some for the comical rapper Example, who I understand lives close by. Are you and Example, like, totally best friends and hanging out with each other all the time, and Facebook friends and stuff?
Hervé: I Don’t use wastebook I don’t have time for it, yeah we are mates and we hang out he’s a good guy and we have a laugh, he’s full of songs and ideas that boy, I would say it’s unfair to just call him a comical rapper, he sings we’ve done some proper songs, he’s talented but more importantly he, like myself, is massively driven, that’s difficult to stop ‘cos you can make good money doing things independent, so a lot of sneering A+R men may need to check themselves (or wreckage may ensue).
Sample line from a new Example track: “put your hands up like a thick kid who needs help”.
Hervé - Ghetto Bass
“a mix of bassline sounds, electro, drum & bass, dubstep and house”
Double CD released 2nd February 2009.
1. Jack Beats - Get Down
2. Rico Tubbs - Hip Rave Anthem
3. Justice - Let There Be Light (DJ Funk remix)
Count of Monte Cristal - Bounce Beat
4. NASA – Money (feat. David Byrne of Talking Heads, Chuck D, Seu Jorge, Ras Congo and Z-Trip (The Count Remix)
5. Project Bassline - Drop The Pressure ('The Count's 'Conquistador' Remix')
6. Fake Blood - Mars (Exclusive Hervé Re-Fix)
7. Mr Oizo - Gay Dentist
8. His Majesty André - Peep Thong
9. Bloc Party - Mercury (Hervé Is In Disarray Remix)
10. Machines Don’t Care - Drop It To The Floor
11. Human Resource - Dominator - (Hervé Remix)
12. Jack Beats feat. Dynamite MC - What (Dub)
13. Machines Don’t Care - Junk
14. The Kills - Cheap and Cheerful (SebastiAn Remix)
15. Machines Don’t Care - Beat Bang (Action Man Remix)
16. Action Man - Alarm Bell
17. Kidda - Under The Sun (Hervé’s Ain’t No Sunshine Remix)
18. Chemical Brothers - Salmon Dance (Hervé Remix)
19. Herve And Kissy Sellout - Rikkalicious
1. Young Lovers - Shake Off The Ghosts
2. Skream - One For The Heads Who Remember
3. Zomby - Rumours and Revolutions
4. Darqwan - Said The Spider
5. Skream - Filth
6. Jokers Of The Scene - Baggy Bottom Boys (DZ remix)
7. Foreign Beggars Vs Rouge A Levres featuring DJ Primecuts (Scratch Perverts) – Hit That Gash Iitchy Naaan Re-Rub)
8. The Count And Sinden - Stinging Nettle
9. Benga - Crunked Up
10. Chase And Status - Eastern Jam
11. Buraka Som Systema - Kalemba (Reso's Aguardente Remix)
12. The Count And Sinden - Hardcore Girls (Project Bassline Remix)
13. Piddy Py - Giggle Riddim
14. TC - Wheres My Money (Caspa Remix - Jack Beats Re-Edit)
15. Project Bassline - Drop The Pressure (Original Club Mix)
16. Count Of Monte Cristal And Hervé - Jungle Steppers