House music is a lot of things. It can be a serious underground endeavour where every track is more obscure than the last. That’s fine.
But house as a genre is actually better when it’s that irrepressibly vibey stuff you really wanna hear. Massive grooves, cheesy vocals in over-the-top choruses you can sing the shit out of into your bestie’s face, main-room drums that seem to gobble up your ears.
House music that takes us back to wild sessions at Prince of Wales’ OneLove, glossy Ministry of Sound compilations being flicked around at kick-ons and getting loose at Summadayze to an endless, kaleidoscopic 4/4 beat.
Enter Harvey M, international man of history, local man of mystery. He’s here to bring back old school anthems.
“I love that era of early 2000s house music,” he says. “The melodies and hooks are all front and centre, they had that feelgood vibe. I feel that period is on the cusp of revival: Ibiza, Ministry of Sound, the superclubs, songs like Michael Gray’s (sings) ‘I can’t wait for the weekend to begin’.”
Some say Harvey M was the inspiration behind Basement Jaxx’s anthem Romeo. Others reckon they saw him working the door then working the floor at Daft Punk’s infamous DJ set in James Murphy’s house. Rumours abound he runs a Balearic club on the Croatian island of Hvar (where Cut/Copy recorded Hearts On Fire. All these stories have a common DNA: friends, sunsets and handclaps.
Today he’s propped on the side of cliff, cerulean blue ocean glistening below, listening to fresh mixes of his EP, a dip in his hip and a glide in his stride.
“I like world building,” says Harvey M.
Last summer (approx. 7000 buffering Zoom calls ago) Harvey M did just that by constructing his own scene along the Mornington Peninsula coastline, setting up shop on the beach where he played four hour sets of disco edits and blissed out house music.
Now, Harvey M is simultaneously throwing his hat in the ring and hands in the air with a five track EP. Heaters only.
Harvey M’s sound is like finding a Kiss FM dance compilation disc hiding underneath the seat of your best friend’s Mazda hatchback that you pop into the 6-CD stacker and realise that dance music peaked in 2003.
This unique brand of feel-good house music evokes feelings of sunshine, water and positivity. When not DJing or producing, Harvey M cuts laps at the local pool or swims in the ocean.
“My music has a deep connection to the sun and water and these elements were often expressed in early 2000s summer dance music complications that I listened to as a kid. That’s why they remain a strong reference for not only the music I make but the way I choose to live my life.”
Lead single You Know That I Love You brings back memory waves Kings of Tomorrow meets Cassius vibes. “When something good comes along, I celebrate. I make something every day.” When he nailed the sound with this track, Harvey knew he’d caught lightning in a Smirnoff bottle.
“It’s all about getting a groove happening. You’re often pissing in the dark,” he sniggers. You Know That I Love You is bang on the money.
“Not many people are trading in that space right now. One infectious loop over and over again. Think Pete Heller’s Big Love, that whole era.”
“The vocal sample from You Know That I Love You is from a cheesy online sample pack, I don’t dig in crates of vinyl.”
You Were Not at Paradise Garage has a bit of RuPaul, bitch-pahlease attitude. “Everyone talks about Larry Levan but I think we should be talking about Basement Jaxx, Shake Some Action and peak OneSixOne. I look at Melbourne underground dance music and there’s too much of a chin-stroking culture. I want feelgood, positive vibes like when I was watching Club [V].”
The saxy, jazzy bump of I Swear features Amber Ferraro from DJ Sunshine’s Disco Faith Choir. “Amber has a really amazing tone. It’s funny, writing a song about some dude wronging a girl,” he says, fist-bumping a low flying seagull.
“That one is more leaning into that Triple J Mix-Up, Duke Dumont vibe.”
I’m a Model is a seductive gear shift that shutter-clicks back to the pouty electroclash era. Does the M in Harvey’s M name stand for model? Possibly. “Remember Chicks on Speed, Miss Kitten, Fischerspooner? Even though feelgood house music is the main angle of the EP, this is something else that pushes the narrative,” he says.
“I found footage of these models being interviewed, talking about how hot they are. I chopped up their words — it’s a bit of a pivot with a Confidence Man vibe.”
Can he pull it off? You’d back him in.
“I’m strictly beaches, a one-man band. No-one else is putting speakers on a backpack and going to a remote location. This summer I’m gonna go hard again. You can come as long as you bring positive vibes.”