Calvin Harris describes ‘amazing’ experience of collaborating with other artists

The Scottish DJ and record producer released his sixth studio album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2, on Friday.
The Scottish DJ and record producer released his sixth studio album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2, on Friday.

Calvin Harris has spoken about the “amazing” experience of collaborating with other artists, including Jorja Smith and Charlie Puth, for his new album.

The Scottish DJ and record producer, 38, whose real name is Adam Wiles, released his sixth studio album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2, on Friday.

Speaking to Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, he described how he felt about the collaborations on his new record, which is a sequel to his 2017 release, saying: “Honestly for me, just from the viewpoint of music that I listened to growing up, getting Pharrell and Pusha T on a song was big.

“Getting Pharrell and Justin Timberlake, and Halsey on a song felt amazing to me and like such an amazing experience. It was those two that stood out in that respect.”

Speaking specifically about working with English singer-songwriter Jorja Smith, Harris said he initially thought the 25-year-old was “a little bit standoffish” and probably would not be up for working on a song together, however, he ended up being pleasantly surprised.

He said: “It was amazing. It was actually surprising, initially, to me that she wanted to work [with me]. Like, that she was receptive to that, because the persona I feel like that she puts out is a little bit, for me, a little bit standoffish.

“So, I was like, ‘well maybe she… she’s probably not up for it’. And she was so up for it. Not only was she up for it, she was very excited and happy to do it, and the song turned out amazingly, I think.

“When she put out, I think on a second album, this song called Bussdown, and her voice seemed to hit this new level that I’d never heard anything like it in my life.

“I’ve rinsed that record just in the car, and everywhere. And, I thought, wow, if I can get her to sound like that, over one of these kind of beats, it would just be phenomenal, and it turns out it actually just sounds like that. So, it was easy.”

Speaking about working with American music star Puth, 30, Harris told the story behind the creation of the song Obsessed.

“We start off with the yacht rock beat and then Charlie was basically channelling Michael McDonald,” he said.

“I wanted to take a lot of the auto tune off his voice. I didn’t want him to sound necessarily like how he does in his records. When you’re Charlie Puth, you can do anything. So, I think there’s a shepherding that needs to happen sometimes with people that are just so talented.

“You need to kind of go, ‘well, what about this?’ or ‘try this. It’s OK to sing like this’ or ‘It’s OK to do it like this’. And, I think once I kind of gave him permission to do that, he went with it and he was amazing at it.”

Harris also revealed the inspiration behind Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2, saying: “This album is for car journeys, and beaches and things like this.

“What I was doing a lot was taking trips to the mountains. This is when I still lived in LA.

“Taking a trip out to this place called Idyllwild in the car, listening to a lot of psychedelic rock and then climbing the mountain, literally and figuratively, and then heading back.

“So I was doing a lot of that, putting on a lot of vinyl, getting to that kind of zone.”

The full interview with Calvin Harris is available on Apple Music.