You know that point in the story where shit just gets freaky? Well, that point in the story happens around 5 p.m. when someone (a 21-year-old aspiring actress named Sam with a really great body) completely “takes her kit off” before holding high a watering can. She’s standing in a shower next to an airstream trailer, far up the most earthquake-cracked road in Topanga Canyon. In the beauty of the fading light, Harvey Bassett, the wild-eyed and wild-haired and wildly grinning DJ of worldwide renown, who has a new record out under the pseudonym Locussolus, is wearing a space helmet. His DJ friend Felix has to catch an international flight in two hours (Topanga’s a good distance from LAX), your storyteller’s just been bitten by something (A fire ant? A desert recluse?) that’s starting to burn and blister and the venom is taking hold, and then Sam says, “I’ve got flies on my vagina!” and DJ Harvey says, “I never brush my teeth,” and the photographer snaps Harvey’s portrait, and then our troop trots down the mountain back to life, back to reality.
Harvey, on the other hand, stays in the unreality, the world of the (half-jokingly self-described) “international superstar” traveling DJ–one which can be glamorous and five-star and bougie, or instead full of pestilent personalities and shoddy conditions; you get the feeling Harvey’s can flow alright with the latter, no problem, but digs the high life, too. For Harvey takes it all with a great big face full of happy teeth (his smile is insanely infectious), and a laissez-faire outlook that is required of someone so well-loved. And of someone with such a trail of tales to make Wild Bill Hickock seem like a two-bit hack with an airgun. “My average day is like most people’s birthday and the best Christmas day they ever had rolled into one,” Harvey says with a laugh. “That’s my average shitty day. My best day is better than most people could ever fucking dream of in their entire life. You know, have sex with young women and young men and surf and eat endangered species.”
His world is a nighttime extravaganza. While he chooses to cruise his
Venice Beach locale in slo-mo during “business hours,” as soon as the lights
go down, all bets are off. But what of this relationship between the dance music scene and drugs? Harvey pauses and grips a Marlboro with his teeth. “I don’t see it as drugs and music,” he says coolly, shaking the gray curls of smoke from his face. “I just see it as drugs and living. If you don’t do drugs you’re addicted to doing nothing, which is just as bad, if not worse as far as I’m concerned. I don’t even see it as drugs; it’s just so goddamn normal and natural it’s like, essential, that it shouldn’t be considered as something outside normal life. I don’t consider myself a big druggie. I mean, okay, I caught hepatitis from a dirty needle when I was 19, so what the fuck?! But I see it as a part of a very, very, very normal way of existing, of using the things that are available, whether it’s flying in a plane, like, ‘Oh my god, that’s not natural, that will fuck you up,’ but it gets you to this place!”
When Harvey DJs, there can be a certain guarantee there will be people flying through the air on a combo of Harvey’s disco pogo stick—his nine-hour “Sarcastic Disco” party sets are magnificent, magical return journeys to and from the center of time and space through disco, psych, beard rock, and Balearic music styles. As he ingests copious amounts of music, Harvey has been able to successfully launch several bands, through which he creates and produces music rather than just remix or re-edit, which is how he first became the obsessed-about monster of dance culture he is today (back in his Black Cock Records re-edit days, Harvey gained quite a rabid following).
Locussolus is a poetic compound version of a French absurdist novel about a scientist and inventor by Raymond Roussel. In concert with the well-to-do scientist, Cantarel, in Roussel’s Locus Solus, who uses a fluid called “resurrectine” to re-animate the dead, Harvey’s Locussolus is seated firmly in the dusty disco and California-cosmic-groove-pop purveyors of yore. Harvey is indeed a resurrector. “I like a bit of voodoo,” he says. “Mark, who runs the label, International Feel, has given me the freedom to do what I want, as far as 12-inch vinyl is concerned. I like to make something for the dance floor, for the clubs, something for people to wiggle around to, and then put an alternative track, something that’s maybe for the bar or the car or the boutique—spread it out a little bit, and that’s basically it.”