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Calvin Harris - Acceptable In '08

Author: Tom Spooner
Wednesday, 16 January 2008
He’s got love for you if you were born in the ’80s. But don’t worry; he loves you just as much if you were born in other decades. Yes, we’re talking about Calvin Harris here and 3D’s Tom Spooner got to know him a bit better – just for you.

Calvin Harris, 23-year-old purveyor of witty disco funk, has enjoyed considerable success with hit singles Acceptable in the ’80s and The Girls.  The Dumfries producer’s brand of synth disco has found a home in the booming electro scene, where his humorous lyrics and unpretentious approach to music have earned him legions of fans. 

“For a while the good tunes were in indie music and the things you could dance to were in dance music. The two never crossed,” the Scotsman says. “But now you can meet in the middle, you can actually have dance music with good tunes. It’s still quite a revelation.”

Harris’ debut album, I Created Disco, showcases both his knack for electro funk tunes and lyrical wit that deals with subjects as diverse as new rave fashion and political correctness. However, this characteristic humour was unintentional and not without repercussions as Calvin highlights.

“I’m not, ‘Ooh I’m going to be very funny here’… None of that,” he says. “[It’s] more, ‘Oh shit, I’ve done another funny one.’

“No matter how good the tune is, if you’ve got some fucking comedy lyric on it, you get dismissed. The next album is going to be po-faced, so maybe people will take me seriously.”

During 2007 Harris worked with Kylie on tracks from her latest album, X. The experience of working with the princess of pop was rewarding but demanding.

“If I’m making a track for myself, I can please me, my manager, my A&R man and that’s it – happy days! If I’m making a record for someone else it’s pleasing me, pleasing her, Kylie, pleasing her management, her A&R, their management and ultimately pleasing her fans. It’s a tall order to get through all of those checkpoints.”

The Kylie collaboration and increased television and radio airplay saw I Created Disco going top ten in the UK with Harris featuring heavily in the media spotlight. The demands of the press that accompanied this exposure was something he saw as necessary, but not without its downsides.

“People have this weird twisted vision of who someone is because they’ve had a couple of big songs,” he explains. “The truth is, give it a couple of months, if I keep quiet, everyone will have forgotten. It’s all very transient. I was aware of it at the time, and I’m even more aware of it now.”

Intent on returning to what he enjoys most, He’s currently focussing on gigging and working on a new album. Harris returns to Australia in February to play the Good Vibrations Festival.

“It looks like good fun,” he says. “We came to Australia in July…I did four days of press and then went home. It will be nice to play some gigs.”

On the new album, he’s determined to genuinely reflect the breadth of his talents; believing that I Created Disco was more of a collection of songs rather than a complete work.

“The overriding thought is that I’m going to do the best I can, rather than before when I was doing things that were perhaps half-finished,” he states. “It’s worth giving it everything I can possibly give it.”

WHO: Calvin Harris
WHAT: Plays The Forum / Good Vibrations, Centennial Park
WHEN: Thursday 14 February / Saturday 17 February
MORE: goodvibrationsfestival.com.au