Paul Harris answered his phone from a South London pad where, to my utter lack of surprise, he informed me that it was ‘pissing down’… with rain of course. Albeit, I did report that it too was pissing down and cold here in Melbourne. Nothing like a bit of weather empathising to kick off an interview.
Yet, despite the climate, a 9am finish at trendy Bungalow 8 Nightclub in London and a cold brought about by dodgy air conditioning on a plane back from Argentina, Harris was feeling quite chipper.
This is a man who has mastered the art of putting creative fingers into many musical pies. He is a name to be reckoned with inside the music fraternity, having run a veritable gamut of the industry by way of producing, DJ-ing, writing and most notably, being a part of the highly successful band, Dirty Vegas.
Harris has worked with an entourage of eclectic superstars, recently mixing for the likes of Kylie Minogue, Ladyhawke and Depeche Mode, whilst having his remarkably produced tunes advocated by many world renowned DJ’s including Pete Tong and Tom Novy. He himself DJ’s at some of the swankiest fashion week catwalks, as well as hallmark VIP clubs from Buenos Aires to Cannes.
Harris certainly seems to have an indelible knowledge of the industry and a persistence that has proved to be fruitful. He even snagged a Grammy award in 2003, an honour he and his Dirty Vegas buddies weren’t prepared for. They were so convinced there was no hope that they decided to wait the ceremony out – in the bar. As Harris explained, “We were in a category up against people like Kylie and Gwen Stefani. We were nominated for 3 or 4 other awards which we hadn’t won, so we though we’d hang out in the bar, not at all expecting to win.’
And his initial reaction on hearing the announcement?
‘Well, Madison Avenue is not a small venue – it’s like running one end of a football field to the other. So when we finally got on stage, we didn’t say much besides pant.’ But alas, they did walk away with the award for Best Dance Single, drink in hand.
Harris’ time spent in Dirty Vegas and on tour stirred in him the longing for his initial passion of DJing house music and producing tracks back in the studio. So in 2005 he made the decision to leave the group to focus on a sundry of other musical projects.
‘I’m in the studio making a lot of stuff constantly and it’s great doing different projects with different artists and different people. It’s hard being confined to one thing. I still get excited about the studio and making music. Plus, you don’t lose the excitement or enjoyment of playing sets. If anything you’re not quite as scared as you used to be when you were younger.’
Harris has nothing to fear in the next couple of months, besides a severe case of party fever. He has a string of kick- arse parties from Europe to America and in between that will see his schedule cry for mercy or at least a good lie down to regain it’s strength. Yet not before Harris touches down in Melbourne for the Sterosonic music festival. He is excited to be coming back to a place he is very fond of which houses some mates from throughout the years, including TV Rock and John Course. This is an opportunity for Harris to have some ‘DJ bonding time’, whatever that entails. He wasn’t too forthcoming with the specifics, but he is very keen to check out Fedde Le Grande do his thing at the Showgrounds on December 1st.
Harris is definitely a hard worker and realises it is the love of what you do that drives you to succeed. ‘I love doing it. You really have to like doing this thing because it may look glamorous but it’s a lot of hard work. I usually collaborate with people I have known for years. It’s sometimes difficult being in a studio with someone you don’t know.’
So who is next on Harris’ collaboration hit list? ‘I don’t want to tempt fate, as the expression goes. I don’t wanna say too much, because you work so hard and some things happen and some don’t. I don’t want to announce a collaboration is happening when it may fall through.’
However, he did mention one dude he would love to get his hands on.
‘The biggest and most impossible [person] who I’m sure I’ll never get to work with is Timbaland. And I think Justin Timberlake is an unbelievable entertainer.’
Is this where I shamelessly mention Harris will be touching down just in time for a bit of Sexy Back Lounge, Mr. Timberlake style? Yes, yes it is.
‘I’ll make sure I’m in Melbourne in time for that!’
Ah, it seems JT can woo even the best of us.