Harrison Talks Changing Sound and Kanye West in iEDM Exclusive Interview
In a genre that gets a bad reputation for its mindless noises, it's refreshing to have someone who's out there to prove EDM is more than that. I recently had the pleasure to sit down and Skype with Harrison, a DJ who does it all. He writes his songs, sings the lyrics, and produces them all himself. And he just released a brand new bangin' mix right here on iEDM Radio.
He's worked with some of the world's best artists like Hardwell and David Guetta, so you know he's got serious talent.
iEDM: How did your collab with Hardwell happen?
Harrison: He was a fan of my track with David Guetta and he got in contact with me.
iEDM: How did you end up working with David Guetta?
Harrison: That was just luck, there’s no real formula for that. Basically, back in 2010, I started recording my first songs, and they were really bad. Everyone always mentions it, but your first hundred tracks are terrible.
I got a phone call at 3am and this guy gets on the phone and he was like "Yo, this is DJ Chuckie, I want you to get on a private jet with my manager and come write my songs for me." I was taken back by it. So I went and there's people walking around like Jamie Fox and Akon, and I'm thinking man I don't belong here. Then I go back and the first song I wrote when I got back was "Ain't A Party Without Me" and then Chuckie played it at Ultra that week. Then Laidback Luke plays it, then Dmitri Vegas Like Mike plays it. Before you know it everyone is playing it and then I got a phone call from David Guetta saying I want to do the song with you and that was the moment my life changed
iEDM: Was that the most surreal moment ever?
Harrison: I still don’t understand what the fuck happened. There have been some surreal things that have happened in my life but that was just crazy. It just feels like I’m going to wake up tomorrow and that was all some epic dream. Selling out those kind of shows, or going to Japan six times in one year, it’s all just fucking weird. It’s not normal.
iEDM: Do you think you’ll ever get used to your phone ringing and having it be like, Hardwell or David Guetta?
Harrison: No. I find it all hard. I’m not like a fan boy, I believe people are people. We all go in and go out the same way but it is weird when you’ve been to these situations. And you’ve cued 7 hours in the rain to see these people, I’ve been the person that goes to the festival. As well as now the DJ that gets to perform at the festival and I think that’s what’s hard to understand.
iEDM: Is there anyone you would fanboy for?
Harrison: Not anyone that’s alive.
iEDM: What about dead?
Harrison: Kurt Cobain
Harrison: I don’t believe that laptop producers are actually real producers, like that’s not really making a record. Ya know, when a DJ gets sent an acapella and the path is just mapped for them because their uncle is the manager of the label that’s pre-fabricated bullshit. There’s nothing original about that. But these guys before, like Frank Sinatra, used to do the tape in one tape and if one of the musicians fucked up out of 12 people you’d have to start again because the tape was so valuable that you couldn’t really afford to record it more than once. That’s an artistry. Nowadays we can make stuff so easily and there’s so much room for mistakes.
iEDM: I know you’ve had your songs played at some crazy festivals, whats the biggest show you’ve played at so far?
Harrison: There’s been a lot. I played South Africa last year that was pretty dope. It wasn’t just the performance side but the day after Me and Dyro went on a safari for 5 days. Then the lion bit Dyro’s girlfriend. I wish I could give you my brain for 5 minutes and you could just look around and see the crazy stuff.
Recently I made the decision to quit big room and progressive. That’s why I haven’t released anything for the last 4 months. Coming next year is a lot more music that I’m enjoying making it’s a lot more house-y and pop. I’ve kind of let go of the progressive Harrison. I probably won’t be having the most played song at Tomorrowland. It will be more for the charts. The thing that I want is to have is a one hour show from my house and if I ever want to be famous in the UK, then I can’t continue to make the music that I’ve been making.
iEDM: Do you like the music you’re making now more than what you were before?
Harrison: Oh yeah! I think it’s better. I know it’s way more widely accepted. Like, the whole EDM thing is so niche. It’s for ravers and people who like going to those situations. Where as the new stuff I’m making you can listen to at 4 in the afternoon and 4 in the morning as before it was just 4am and that was it.
iEDM: Do you have any plans to come to the U.S. this year?
Harrison: In 2017, yeah. I just applied for my Visa last week and it takes like 3 months to go through. My goal is, I did this half the planet the last 2 years now I want to do that half of the planet and then probably just do the festival things. The problem is now you have acts like DJ Snake, Major Lazer, and The Chainsmokers and those are going to be the people everyone wants to see next year.
There are these people who are not evolving sound-wise, and I’m not going to mention them because that’s when I get in trouble. They are going to get left behind. Or they’ll just try and jack everyone else’s style and they’ll get over-saturated. The thing is you don’t want to sound like anyone else, but there’s only so many sounds you can make on a laptop.
iEDM: I’m really curious who you’re talking about?
Harrison: I want to say, but I don’t want to get in trouble. I recently did this interview, and it got published in a book thousands of times an and there were things that were printed in that book that was printed forever that I wish never said.
iEDM: I feel like there will always be things that you'll wish you never said though.
Harrison: I mean it worked for Kanye, didn't it? Everyone in the world is talking about him again. I don’t think he did it for that reason but obviously he wanted to have his voice opinionated and that’s why he stopped after two songs and talked.
I think Kanye would be a better president than Trump. I’ve listened to him speak at Oxford University and I was watching the video and he was talking for two hours and after that he really understands the game of the media and he knows how to make the media react. I think in the next 10-15 years he’ll do some really cool things.
iEDM: Do you have any new music coming out?
Harrison: My first release will be in February 2017 and it will be called Monsters. And it's probably 50 times better than anything I released this year.
It’s about being young and playing in a tree house and the nightlights in your room and whenever you went to bed ya know, the lights all turned out you always used to think there was a monster under your bed. The darkness basically means the monster in this situation.
That’s why the lyrics really work with this because it’s something everyone can relate to. It’s not just “oh my god I’m in love with you.” Like, I don’t need that or some shitty lyrics like “rover” just because it rhymes with “over.” I didn’t want it to rhyme just because it rhymed I wanted it to be something that everyone can get.
Thanks for sitting down to chat with me Harrison! What was supposed to be a short ten minute interview turned into a full on hour and one of my favorite interviews to date. If you're looking for an artist who can do it all and keep it real, look no further! Keep an eye out next year for Harrison's new music and his quest for music world domination. Make sure to follow him on Twitter , Facebook, and Soundcloud.