Who are you and what is your artist name?
Kev Harris. Artist name – Arris due to friends calling me that.
What’s your background?
I grew up in Worthing, now live in Brighton,UK. Trained as an actor in Chichester & Guildford and then trod the dancefloor boards in London clubs for 10 years. Been into dance music since I was 17 after asking someone on a train station what they were listening to and they said “house music”. I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m now 54.
How has your practice change over time?
Since starting, I have become more structured in the way I work more focussed on the kind of sounds I want to produce. I’ve concentrated more on getting the sounds right and getting tighter with the production skills needed to work towards the kind of music I want to produce.
What music genre do you most identify with?
I like very electronic sounds, the furthest away from a guitar or piano as possible, if it is for the dancefloor. That’s what I like to listen and dance to so it has kind of followed that it’s the kind of music I like to produce. Acid, Techno and Acid Techno in it’s various forms is where I’m most comfortable.
What themes do you pursue?
At the moment I’m trying to get darker, using evolving sounds and attempting to build an atmosphere. I’ve only been producing for three years so feel very much still new and a bit of an imposter 🙂
What’s your scariest experience?
Probably my dreams are the scariest experiences I have. It’s the nearest to actual dying I have been and the feeling of other people wanting to kill me feels real. I’m sure my heart has actually stopped a few times. In real life, scrambling a mountain on a run in Spain when clouds came down with low visibility, no one nearby and my phone had no signal. It was very scary. Resulted in me buying a satellite emergency alarm.
What’s your favourite art work?
I have seen the Mona Lisa and I have seen the mask of Tutankhamun in Cairo, and for me, the mask of Tutankhamun hands down. After seeing all the jaw dropping monuments and temples of Egypt and then standing right in front of the achingly beautiful mask looking at you, it took my breath away and was quite emotional. My favourite piece of art at home is an Egyptian wall painting I bought there, done by an artist on papyrus. I just love the deep reds, golds, blues and black combination and the beautiful stylistic figures and hieroglyphs. They were an unbelievable civilisation.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
The generosity of the Cambodian people when they found out my wallet had been stolen. A moped taxi I had taken earlier found out and came knocking on my door insisting he gave me the taxi fare back. In a restaurant that night when I only ordered rice, as that’s all I could afford waiting for a bailout to arrive, the owner came and asked me why I had only ordered rice. When I told him, he went away and came back with 2 bowls of food saying there was no charge. Such inspiring acts of kindness to a total stranger.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
I visit people in their homes in my current job. I pulled a writing pad out of my bag and a bra fell out on the floor in front of the person I was visiting. My bag had been next to the washing at home and my partners bra had fallen in. They said, “You don’t need to say anything, it’s ok”. Then the more I tried to explain, the worse it got.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Pea picker, actor, cocktail barman, office worker, bicycle sandwich delivery man, ice cream man, front of house in theatres, toy demonstrator, shop sales, cinema front of house, wedding car driver, promotions, teaching English as a foreign language, hospital cleaner, call centres, painter, pizza chef, box office ticket sales and currently a visual impairment rehabilitation worker.
It fascinates and excites me. Since getting into dance music at a young age, I always knew that listening wasn’t enough. I needed to immerse myself more so saved up for ages with two jobs for some decks. I did house parties but no more than that due to the nerves I experienced. I always wanted to know how it was made but thought it was too difficult and expensive. But when Ableton Live went on sale during lockdown, I bit the bullet and here I am having done something nearly every day for three years and not got bored once.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
When I’d made a track after my dad died and called it ‘song for dad’ and someone asked if they could play it in their set on internet radio, I was really chuffed. That and recent news that a collab I’ve worked on is being signed by a label. My first signing. I never thought that would happen, ever.
What food, drink, song inspires you?
Good vegan food. An excellent Indian delivery run by a family from their house near me is amazing. Incredible food. With the right ingredients and spices, amazing results happen with.
What do you like about your work?
The way it slowly improves. The amazing sounds that can be made. I can sit there for ages just listening to sounds.
What makes you angry?
The state of politics in the UK at the moment. The historical stoking of division in the country has been extremely damaging and I worry for our future. Our attitude towards refugees needs to change.
What superpower would you have and why?
To be able to see 2 hours into the future so I could place bets and win when I needed some cash.
Name something you love, and why.
I love going abroad, programming a route into my watch and running in mountains where I’ve never been before. Everything is a surprise at every turn. You never know what you are going to come across and see some amazing things. Also some pretty scary stuff too.
Name something you hate, and why.
The combination of cold, wind and rain for me, particularly if on a run. Each element on their own is manageable. 2 starts to get difficult but I particularly hate all 3 together. I was nearing the end of an all day and night ultra marathon and all 3 hit in a big way. I was a wreck but amazing help from an aid station helped me finish. Music wise, I hate not having more time to put into it. It always goes too quickly.
What is your dream project?
It is a dream as I couldn’t do it because of nerves but I’d love to work towards playing live in a club.
Name three artists that inspires you
Orbital. Massively when I was younger. The variety in their tunes and quality of each of them is outstanding.
Hardfloor. Inspirational acid when I was younger too. Acperience has seen in a few new years at house parties.
Yan Cook. The way he makes sounds transform and the tunes he builds out of them are great.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Music wise, some constructive criticism of my sound selection / design. I’ve concentrated hard on this and heard improvement since. And using a ghost track and referencing. They both have resulted in the biggest improvements.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
I’d love to be releasing music regularly on labels and to have one of my tunes played in a club and people enjoying it would be amazing. But just to keep on enjoying and improving my music. I don’t have any massive ambitions.
What wouldn’t you do without?
Computer and daw. Otherwise my young Greek rescue dog. She’s massively challenging but massively rewarding at the same time. I love her to bits. We are running partners in the countryside.
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