If you’re looking for a house music fix next weekend, look no further than Audio Tonic at al-fresco nightspot 360°. Organisers of the regular night are bringing out British underground house DJ Harold Heath, who steps behind the booth for a headline set. Based in Brighton, a hub for emerging musical talent in the UK, the 39-year-old has spent 20 years behind the decks, and a decade as a producer. While you may not have heard of him, there’s a good chance you’ve heard some of his productions. His tracks have been picked up by DJs such as Fedde le Grand, who featured him on a Ministry of Sound compilation, and played by musical heavyweights including Groove Armada and Pete Tong. We gave him a call to learn more about the man behind the music.
This will be your first set in Dubai, what have you heard about the nightlife scene here?
All I know is what I’ve seen online. I’ve managed to have a look at 360°, which looks like an amazing venue, but I’m quite ignorant about what Dubai is actually going to be like, though I’m very excited.
What do you consider yourself first and foremost – DJ or producer?
I was a DJ first, long before I was a producer, so I guess first and foremost I’m a DJ who also has become a very successful producer. I love both, but they’re entirely different things. I’m very happy in the studio; it’s a very satisfying process, but obviously it’s just me and my equipment, so it’s a different thing from when you’re out doing a gig in a room full of people.
How would you be earning your living if it wasn’t as a DJ?
Oh my life, I really don’t know. Perhaps I’d be a music teacher or something like that. I wanted to be an artist when I was growing up; I was always in the art room at school. I only really discovered music when I was about 16, but then I never really looked back after I first started playing instruments.
Do you have any pet hates we should know about?
People who come to gigs and don’t like the music, and then complain about it – well they can always go somewhere else, can’t they? And people who want to hear Britney Spears or something like that. I’ve got no problem with Britney Spears but you’re not going to hear it at a house night, so I find it quite irritating when people ask me to play stuff like that. Clearly I’m not going to have any Britney Spears in there.
So we can’t expect to hear Kim Kardashian’s new song in the middle of your set?
I’m afraid you can’t, no. By all means you can ask for it, and I’ll be as polite as I can in my response, but I definitely won’t be playing that.
What’s the weirdest gig you’ve played over the last 20 years?
I’ve played some very weird places in my time. I played a wedding reception a couple of months ago, that was pretty weird. I’ve played on a ship which we thought was sinking in the Balkans somewhere, that was quite odd. It seemed to be taking quite a bit of water and we were sure it was definitely lower in the water by the time we left than when we’d arrived. Who knows? We survived, anyway.
What’s the strangest request you’ve ever had?
I’ve had people request that we change the music quite a lot, that’s lovely. I’ve had people request that I stop playing, I’ve had people ask for all manner of pop music, I’ve had people ask me how to get out of the club, where the bar is, can I tell them where the cobbler is to get their shoes mended… You get all sorts, man.
Your house is on fire, your wife and child are out. Do you save the cat or the record collection?
Records I’m afraid. You can always get another cat. Cats man, they’re two a penny. Don’t get me wrong, I like them, but there are other cats in the world, aren’t there?
Harold Heath plays Audio Tonic at 360° on Friday March 25. Entry is free, doors open at 4pm.