40 Questions: Harvey McKay | Soundspace

40 Questions: Harvey McKay

40 Questions: Harvey McKay

One of Scotland’s techno elite, Harvey McKay sits among names like Slam and Gary Beck as the seminal figures that brought the city some of the best club sounds on offer. And years later, McKay is still providing top quality productions, albeit with a much larger audience than before.

We have enjoyed his music through labels like Drumcode, Intec and Cocoon, and now for the first time ever he’s releasing an EP with Alan Fitzpatrick’s fast growing We Are The Brave imprint. The release is titled Set Back and includes three tracks, you can listen to the title track below.

We had a chance to speak to Harvey in the run up to the release, putting him in the spotlight for our 40 Questions he discusses early influences, what music he’s loving and a few stories from his experience on the road, keep reading for 40 Questions with Harvey McKay.

1. Where are you right now and what are you doing?

Working on some music today after out walking my dog in the woods.

2. What year were you born?


3. Do you have a nickname?

Strangely never had one.

4. What’s the coolest thing in your house?

Easily my 1080p projector for movies. It’s awesome for SCI-FI, cinema in my house is mint!

5. How would you describe yourself?

Energetic people person.

6. Worst experience as a DJ?

Once I played in a club where they just didn’t care for underground music at all. Bit of a weird gig all round actually, and this was unknown to me. So as the DJ before me played all this super cheesy commercial stuff, I thought “I’m going to rattle this and show them how it’s done!” I played one techno track and the dancefloor was empty.

7. Best experience as a DJ?

One of my records on Soma was written around the time my father passed away from cancer, that song meant a lot to me. Not long after its release I played it out at Rockness Festival to an amazing response from the crowd, that was quite a special moment for me as it has so much meaning.

8. Favourite record label?

To be honest, I don’t really have just one. The way I buy tracks is purely by the energy I feel from them rather than where they have been released.

9. What’s your biggest weakness?

A glass of cider on a hot sunny day is pretty hard to resist. And at the moment we have been having this amazing summer and it’s been so hot every day, which is pretty unheard of. So that’s not making it any easier – thus a fair few ciders have been consumed this summer already.

10. First record you ever paid for?

I know it was a hardcore record, but I can’t remember the name of it. It was a white label, with no name on it anyways, but it was back in 1990. I can hum it on request to anyone who asks…

11. What’s your morning routine?

Usually I try to get up at 6am and go to the gym, then the sauna. I walk the dog around 5 miles and sort the house out and hit the studio. That’s my average day.

12. Your dream collaboration?

Such a good question. I am all over Aphex Twin’s more ambient and electro breaky stuff at the moment, so I would have to say him. His textures and production are absolutely insane. He has such an amazing back catalog to, I am just starting to get through it.

13. Tell us something we shouldn’t know about you?

I have always denied having red hair to all my acquaintances. I have also insisted it was more of a mahogany tint, though this is reality and in some / most light it’s pretty hard to defend.

14. Who’s your biggest inspiration?

Both my mother and father for different reasons. My father was an insane musician, and had incredible taste in music, which has been so beneficial to me. He was constantly tapping beats with his hands and I think that’s how it got into my subconscious. My mother is someone who makes you believe anything is possible and does almost everything you can think of. Both very inspirational people.

15. Ever smoked?

Only when drunk.

16. Ever done drugs?

Depends on your definition. I am very partial to an extra day in Amsterdam to explore the other states of consciousness on those magic truffles they sell over there. They are very magic indeed! Hahaha.

17. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

1210’s Turntables.

18. And the best gift you’ve ever given?

I commissioned a painting for my mum once, I think that was pretty cool.

19. What’s the coolest place you’ve ever been to?

South America in general. It’s just so different to most other places, and I love it every time I go there. Shows are amazing too.

20. And one place you want to visit?

Fascinated by Russia and all the old parts of the non-existent USSR – history is incredible.

40 Questions: Harvey McKay

21. One act who’s inspired you your whole career?

Pink Floyd had a massive effect on my musical development. From the very first time I listened to Dark Side Of The Moon on vinyl all the way through as a very young child, I just knew it was special, although given how old I was I didn’t know a lot at that age. But now, being a producer, and an adult of sorts, it’s even more mind blowing.

22. If you weren’t in the music industry, what would you be doing?

I used to be in construction, music is the only other thing I have in my resume.

23. Worst job you’ve ever had?

Age 16 – I used to work for my dad in construction. He had a quiet few weeks at work, so I tried it out in the factory, making promotional boxes – I lasted a day. It was brutal.

24. Favourite record right now?

‘Illusions’ by my brother Ryan McKay on Gary Beck’s label. Belter of a track.

25. And the best record ever made?

The one I am working on right now. Well it always feels that way when you’re making it, though in reality it might not be! Ha.

26. One thing you couldn’t live without?

Time back home in Glasgow with my friends and family. You don’t realize how important it is until your away from home all the time.

27. Your favourite food?

Sushi, Tuna Sashimi.

28. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Hmm not sure, though there was a scandal in the UK a few years back about horse meat, so probably munched on some horse without knowing it!

29. Who would you want to play you in a movie?

Bruce Lee – Enter the Dragon.

30. What’s something you’re passionate about?

Apart from music, great food.

31. Favourite club you’ve played at?

The Arches in Glasgow. It has a special place in my heart, and was such an amazing club. I was lucky enough to play there a few times. It had such an amazing atmosphere and acoustics in the building. The influence can still be heard in my music today, I still replicate that club brick wall sound that was the Arches. You got it as soon as you walked in – and I didn’t even know I had done it.

32. Favourite festival you’ve played at?

Awakenings is right up there. The production and sound are insane. Been lucky enough to play for them a few times, and I’m excited to be playing at the Drumcode Festival that’s in partnership with them in August in Amsterdam.

33. Craziest story of being on the road?

I recently played a last min gig in South America, the flight took me 24 hours with connections to get there, and I was only there for one and a half days. Then on the way home, I had endless delayed and it took me 32 hours to get back. Manic, but it was worth it.

34. Weirdest request as a DJ?

One time I was rattling out a pretty heavy 132 in Germany, and the most innocent sweet looking girl came up to me and asked “You got any Gaba?” It was so surreal, gotta love those Germans.

35. If you had one super power what would it be?

Time travel would be a good one. That’s a super power – right? Not sure to be honest, but according to the movies, I could make a right mess of things with the old time travel, so might need to rethink that one.

36. Late sleeper or early riser?

Mostly early, but if the covers are just right, then it has been hard to drag me out of my bed.

37. Strangest video you’ve watched on YouTube?

Rubber Johnny, Aphex Twin – so disturbing. But a stunning bit of work all the same! The choreography is mind blowing. It’s the strangest concoction of visual and musical art put together, that I think I have ever seen.

38. The top thing on your bucket list?

Those base-jumping wing suits look mint. But apparently people die in them all the time, so I would have to be dying already, as they look well dodgy, but also a lot of fun.

39. Most memorable moment of your life so far?

My dad teaching me how to play Led Zeppelin ‘Break The Leve’ on the drums when I was about 12/13 years old. It’s really tricky to learn. He said “practice this, get it right and no one else will be able to play it for ages” hahaha. He was right. I was the drum Don for several weeks or maybe days, but a Don none the less!

40. Will you ever be done with music?

Not whilst I am alive.

Harvey McKay – Set Back is out August 17th on We Are The Brave. Preorder here.