Calvin Harris Says Porter Robinson Restored His Love of Dance Music

Calvin Harris
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Calvin Harris attends GQ Men of the Year Awards at the Tate Modern on Sept. 6, 2016 in London.

Calvin Harris flipped his sound with PARTYNEXTDOOR on "Nuh Ready Nuh Ready." He left the funk behind in 2017 to try a dark house groove. It's dripping in '90s cool, and Zane Lowe over at Beats 1 is loving it. He called the producer to chat about the new sound, as well as his decision to play less festival gigs and more.

As it turns out, all these new sounds are part of Harris rediscovering his creativity. He had a low moment when he released "My Way," and he realized the feeling was plain boredom.

"I wasn't really excited about that song for the first time in 11 years," he says. "I was like, 'All right, something's wrong here.' So eventually I come up with the idea of a funk album with everyone that I've always wanted to work with."

Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 gave Harris room to experiment and explore, and it gave him a chance to work with artists outside his dance music bubble.

"I don't want to put Young Thug on an EDM song, because I think that's offensive," he says. "People used to ask me the question, 'Who've you always wanted to work with?' I'd be like 'Andre 3000.' 'OK. Have you ever reached out to him?' I was like, 'Hell no,' because I'd put him on a dance tune? That's not respecting his legacy. I'd be angry at myself for doing that."

He spoke about taking a commercial risk on the project. He says he would take his checks from Vegas gigs and immediately turn around and pay for guest vocals. That's when he first met PARTYNEXTDOOR, and he knew he had to use him again soon.

"I thought he was a genius for a few years," Harris says. "I didn’t really figure him out anymore working with him. I just know that his pen and his voice and his delivery is, I think, among the best in the world. I worked with him on my last album, and I was aware that I under used him, and I felt embarrassed and ashamed from under using him. He sung a hook on a track, I was like 'come on, you need to do more if you can,' so that's just what I did."

He also opened up about wy he took that exclusive contract with Hakkasan in Las Vegas. It turns out he's sick of playing festivals. He almost formally stopped touring, a move he called doing "an Avicii," but he thought better of that since he didn't really want it hanging in the air if he ever changed his mind.

"All that stuff got a little bit too impersonal," he says. "It's the fireworks, and it's all that stuff, but you've got no connection with anyone. That's why I do love playing Vegas at the moment, because I get to see people's faces, and get to see people enjoy their night."

He talks about his old days singing in a band, and he admits his love for Porter Robinson's Virtual Self project, in particular the tune "Ghost Voices."

"I basically took a year off dance music when I did all this funk stuff," he says. "I thought I didn't like it anymore, but that track actually pulled me out of it."

Listen to the full interview with Lowe below.