113 – Harvey Sutherland

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Turning to Melbourne’s trendy, and ever creative inner-northern suburbs for the latest home-grown addition, we bring you one of our local scene’s most genuinely exciting live electronic acts. Mike Katz (or Kay) has been involved in Melbourne’s fringe live music scene for the last couple of years now, releasing on cassettes, CDs and vinyl for This Thing, the locally run label for which he calls home, whilst being picked up by the likes of the revered Peoples Potential Unlimited imprint and played by DJs like Motor City Drum Ensemble abroad. His newest alias, however, is the name on everybody that knows’ one-to-watch lists for 2014. As Harvey Sutherland, his Dam-Funk-esque live set is riddled with instantly hooky boogie basslines, saturated 808 drum tracks and jazzy synth leads that send us all into a dreamy state of dance-floor euphoria.

We’ve enlisted Mike to record his first ever podcast with a special live set direct from his studio and it contains a bunch of world exclusive forthcoming material. He’s also had a chat about his live setup, influences and some upcoming dates.

I know you have quite a varied musical background and are involved in a number of different projects. When and how did you arrive at performing your current live set as Harvey Sutherland, and who are some artists that have been influential in defining your sound?

I was producing lots of different stuff and performing as Mike Kay for a few years, but there wasn’t much consistency with those tunes, so I wanted a new alias to represent the ‘club’ music I’d been making. “Low Altitude” happened in a transitional stage – it’s probably the first Harvey Sutherland record under the wrong name. The live set evolved over time – I started doing the improv thing in a duo with local lad Ben Houghton where we’d do these long Theo-inspired MPC jams starting from scratch. I wanted to make the Harvey live show a lot more dynamic to keep the dance floor interested – after watching Roland Tings demolish a house party, I knew I needed to step my game up. Influences – Prince, Theo Parrish, Dam-Funk and anyone making great tunes in Aus – Sleep D, Andras Fox, Inkswel, Speed Painters, Cassius Select, Kirkis, Jitwam.

Tell us about your current set up for performing live.. I know you may be in the process of changing things up a little for future shows, what can we expect?

At the moment it’s my Juno-60 alongside a pretty stripped back Ableton set, running a few drum/rhythm beds and a looper that builds up layers of improvised Juno parts. Unfortunately, 30-year-old equipment isn’t always reliable in a smoky club, so I’m considering a switch to dual Korgs (micro and MS20 mini) for some uglier sounds.

What can you tell us about This Thing, the label you have been involved with since 2012. Who is involved and how would you describe the experience being involved with a primarily cassette based label, has it been well received?

This Thing is essentially the brainchild of Wooshie, an artist and community organiser based in Melbourne. There’s a couple of guys involved as artists, but the curatorial direction is solely him. I think the cassette format suits a lot of the music TT puts out, but they’re certainly not limited to tapes – I’m currently working on a 12” for the label with collaborator and friend Kane Ikin which should be out this year.

What can you tell us about the podcast you have recorded for us here? Is there some forthcoming material we should keep an ear out for?

It’s a live set recorded at home, so it’s a bit softer and more ‘bedroomy’ than my usual club show. I’d say it was “100% Live” but that would be a lie – there’s a couple of tiny edits where I played a wrong note or something. I get red-light fever.

Where can people catch you playing live next?

I’m supporting Seven Davis Jr for the Red Bull Music Academy satellite series at Boney – Saturday April 12th. I’ll also be at Inner Varnika Festival over the Easter weekend.

Setlist:
00:00 – Rosebud (forthcoming Voyage Recordings)
06:39 – Foot In Mouth
12:11 – Heritage
15:45 – Edges (forthcoming Echovolt Records)
22:55 – Improv — ‘Ommm’
31:45 – Improv — ‘Shepherd’
40:00 – Speaking Your Language (forthcoming Echovolt Records)

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