HARVEY McKay’s journey to techno success has been over a decade in the making.
The Glaswegien DJ and producer’s music has found it’s way onto many of the very best techno labels in the industry including Soma, Cocoon, Intec, Bedrock and Drumcode. His relationship with Adam Beyer’s iconic Drumcode label alone has landed 4 top 10 EPs gaining support across the globe enhancing Harvey as one of the hottest techno producers around.
Harvey was recently announced as one of only a few British techno artists to feature on Beyer’s inaugural Drumcode festival this summer which takes place in Amsterdam on August 18 and he has just started a new project as Alias GB alongside his brother Ryan which is already bearing fruit.
I caught up with him to find out more, plus he has recorded an exclusive mix for The Night Bazaar Sessions which you can listen here.
It’s been a decade since we first met and it’s great to have seen you evolve as an artist over that time to the point where you are now regarded as one of Britain’s finest Techno exports. How hard has the journey been and how dedicated have you had to be to get to this point?
Thanks mate. Yeah I don’t know if I would say hard. It’s more of a passion, I absolutely love making music. But it has taken a lot of time and dedication. When I started I would spend 18 to 20 hours a day in the studio just sussing things out, I lived in there. It really does just take a massive amount of time to get your heard round it, to the point you are in control of what you making. I still spend about 8 hours a day apart from the weekend when am touring. So it was and still is how I spend most of my time, but I love it, its just so addictive.
You are one only a few British techno artists to be announced on the line up for Adam Beyer’s inaugural Drumcode festival which takes place in Amsterdam this August. This must be a proud moment in your career as the festival looks to be a monsterous event!? The line up is a techno wet dream!
Yeah it looks an incredible festival, and it is in partnership with Awakenings which is tremendous. Their production is the best in the world, just mind blowing. I’m really looking forward to it and I love the Dutch too. I also have a squad of fellow Glasweigens coming with me so its going to be a blast, I cant wait.
How did you get to know Adam Beyer and sign the first of your releases to his Drumcode label?
He was a great supporter of my early Soma releases. Then I started sending him demos and It took a while to find music for an EP but he waited and picked well as the EP hit no 1 and took things to another level for me. We have been working together ever since. Drumcode’s fan base and reach is just phenomenal.
You have had releases on numerous high profile labels such as Cocoon, Soma and Intec over the years but was Drumcode a label you always had in your sights?
Yeah defo man, as I mentioned before their following, fan base and reach is amazing, so if you put music out on DC, and that music really connects with people, it really flies.
You’ve not compromised much on your style over the years, I remember you playing me intoxicating dark grooves ten years ago but I’ve read that you felt that style of music wasn’t connecting with people at first like it is now?
It was just at the time when I was playing about with the darker sound things never quite took of with that vibe at the time. Things have changed now so I get to really explore that sound, which is great because I love the dark stuff and I come from a hardcore heavy industrial background from way back when when I was DJing as a kid in the early 90’s, so its back to the familiar for me.
It must be great that you are now able to explore fully your heavier, darker more natural style on big stages?
Yeah I have always played energetic stuff, but its great to get to rattle out the tougher stuff, as that’s where my heart has always been.
What advice would you give to artists aspiring to get their music onto such a high profile label
It takes time and patience. Also build up relationships with labels and very important, treat labels and artists you are sending music to with respect, not just sending links with very little introduction is important.
I also think you need to cut your teeth and prove yourself with some smaller labels first, once the bigger artist start playing your music on a regular basis you can start building up a rapport with them, then start sending them tracks when the time and the music is right.
Coming from Glasgow you enjoyed a great relationship with Slam and their Soma label early on in your career. How inspirational were the Slam boys to you and also the wider Scottish scene? I remember getting onto their label was a big milestone for you?
Slam were a huge influence. Those guys are responsible for the techno education for the masses in Glasgow and Scotland. I loved going to the Arches and the Sub Club for years to see them play, then I was lucky enough to get signed by them. They are so instrumental in the scene in Glasgow. We as clubbers, producers and DJs, with there label, club nights and DJ sets owe them so much. We’re lucky to have them.
I see you are doing a project on Drumcode with your brother Ryan as Alias GB? How’s that going and how did that come about?
Ryan’s music had really been blowing me away and every time he played what he was working on I was loving it. So I thought lets try a project together and see how it goes. We were really surprised how well we worked in the studio and how good the first EP was and we signed our first EP to Drumcode. Not bad going! We have just finished a new EP and we are very, very excited about it. If you want to check out some of the tracks there plenty on the mix I’ve done for The Night Bazaar and there’s a lot of the track’s on Adam Beyer’s Drumcode Radio show mixes. Adam’s really been smashing them for a while.
What’s next, what have you got coming up?
Lots of stuff happening. Just been announced for Drumcode and Awakenings festival as we have spoken about. I’ve also just been announced for Creamfields for Carl Cox’s stage and I’m really looking forward to that one. I will also be touring loads through out the year all over Europe, Asia, North and South America so loads happening.
Release-wise I have a remix coming out on Reinier Zonnevld’s Filth On Acid label in March and I’ve just finished an Alias GB EP that should be out this summer. I am just tying up a new EP myself that is almost done that a pretty excited about that. Its a nice progression from my last Drumcode Black Dolphin EP, nice and raw.
Catch Harvey McKay at the Drumcode Festival in Amsterdam this summer. For more information and for tickets head here.