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Calvin Harris threatens legal action over BBC Newsbeat report

By | Published on Friday 23 November 2012

Calvin Harris

Whether or not the live shows of many dance producers’ can be truly considered ‘live’ was a topic of much debate over the summer, after Deadmau5 discussed bringing electronic music to the stage with Rolling Stone and then published a blog post entitled “We all hit play”.

He wrote: “When it comes to ‘live’ performance of EDM [just pressing play is] about the most it seems you can do anyway. It’s not about performance art, it’s not about talent either (really it’s not) … I think given about one hour of instruction, anyone with minimal knowledge of Ableton, and music tech in general, could do what I’m doing at a Deadmau5 concert. Just like I think ANY DJ in the WORLD who can match a beat can do what ANYONE else (not going to mention any names) is doing on their EDM stages too”.

This week BBC Newsbeat went a step further and asked if it was OK for superstar DJ types to pre-mix their DJ sets, simply playing a CD they’ve brought with them for an hour or so while pretending to mix tracks live and occasionally gurning at the crowd.

Amongst the producers, DJs and journalists quizzed on the matter was Calvin Harris, who said: “DJing’s DJing, and making music’s completely different. I think, if you go to a club, there’s going to be a DJ there. So maybe you’re going to go to that club to see that DJ, and maybe it’s your favourite music. Personally I’m not expecting the DJ to ‘perform’ that music with all manner of things, it’s a club, you play tunes like any other DJ would, it’s all good, I don’t see the problem with it. There’s a lot of acts that are over developing it to the extent that it doesn’t work any more, you can’t dance to it. It’s like, you know, just play tracks. You know, you’re a DJ, it’s fine”.

He continued: “I used to perform with a band putting all sorts of work into a live show and I can tell you that the reaction was worse than it is when I’m DJing, because in a club you want to hear a produced piece of music, you want to hear the bass, you want to hear it as good as it can sound, so I think it’s not a problem”.

Now, none of that really answers the big question the BBC piece was asking (Harris is seemingly discussing whether electronic music producers should perform their own work or just DJ it), but in the context of the report many inferred that Harris was saying that it’s fine for DJ’s to pre-record their sets, and that it might be something he himself has done. His answer doesn’t quite fit, says Harris, because he wasn’t asked the question “Is it OK for DJs to pre-mix their sets?” but rather, “Is it OK for DJs to play records in their sets?” The answer, he claims, was then used out of context to support a different argument.

This all came out on Twitter earlier this week after the story was broadcast on Radio 1 and published on the BBC website. Initially Harris didn’t seem to realise quite how he had been represented in the report, and when a follower made a quip about it he responded: “Is it shocking to you that DJs play records in their DJ sets?! Get a fucking grip”.

But once he realised how his quote had been used, Harris fired off a long series of increasingly angry tweets, saying: “Find the audio where I say ‘it’s OK to pre-record a DJ set’ – it doesn’t fucking exist, and I don’t know ANY DJ that actually does that … Fucking raging with this Newsbeat guy. I remember the interview and his stupid fucking question ‘Is it OK for DJs to play records?’ Then he’ll change his question in the edit to ‘Is it OK to PRE-RECORD a DJ set?’ and use my answer to a DIFFERENT QUESTION?! … Fact is BBC Newsbeat pre-recorded my answers to a different set of questions. The guy wasn’t even wearing a fucking mic”.

Finally he tweeted that he was “looking into taking action [against] BBC Newsbeat for that libellous broadcast”.

As I understand it, when things like this happen, if enough people repeat the lie “Calvin Harris pre-records his DJ sets” on Twitter, the Director General of the BBC will have to resign. Tony Hall only got the job yesterday – come on guys, we got rid of Entwistle after 53 days, let’s gazump this dude in 53 hours!

You can read the full series of tweets from Harris here:

Calvin Harris on BBC Newsbeat DJ report

Calvin Harris accuses BBC Newsbeat of editing an interview to make it appear that he has no problem with DJs pre-recording their sets.

Storified by CMU · Thu, Nov 22 2012 10:01:38

Listen now to hear @CalvinHarris talking about "push button row". Should DJs play live, or ok for pre-recorded sets? Newsbeat
Drinking from the Bottle video shoot today!!!Calvin Harris
@CalvinHarris maybe you can press play on it?Louismccabe
Is it shocking to you that DJs play records in their DJ sets?! Get a fucking grip RT @louiskuhnmccabe maybe you can press play on it?Calvin Harris
Find the audio where i say "it’s ok to prerecord a DJ set" it doesn’t fucking exist, and i don’t know ANY DJ that actually does thatCalvin Harris
Fucking EXACTLY mate RT @djcraigw Why would any DJ pre-rec? The fun is getting into the set as you read the crowd and blow them away.Calvin Harris
Aye they actually have RT @cotneycoe BBC Newsbeat have mugged you right off hahaCalvin Harris
Fucking raging with this Newsbeat guy. I remember the interview and his stupid fucking question is it ok for DJs to play recordsCalvin Harris
Then he’ll change his question in the edit to is it ok to PRERECORD a DJ set and use my answer to a DIFFERENT QUESTION?!Calvin Harris
Changing my answer and questioning my integrity to suit your shit report @BBCNewsbeatCalvin Harris
I remember this guy from @BBCNewsbeat who did the interview, he actually apologised beforehand for not being prepared + knew nothingCalvin Harris
Then he’ll make ME look bad because HE’S shite, and play it on the biggest national radio station in the UK?! Right ok @BBCNewsbeatCalvin Harris
I would LOVE them to release the FULL AUDIO from that interview with HIS QUESTIONS included for some fucking context @BBCNewsbeatCalvin Harris
Release the audio @BBCNewsbeat and we will see exactly what was said, instead to stitching me up because u needed a bad guy in your "report"Calvin Harris
No i won’t fucking calm down! When i’ve got shitloads of messages slating me for something i didn’t say @BBCNewsbeatCalvin Harris
Next @BBCNewsbeat report: Should bands use strings on track at V Festival because they can’t afford an orchestra, we investigateCalvin Harris
OK that’s me done. Needed to respond because i had so many messages calling me out on some things that they had made up.Calvin Harris
Looking into taking action on @BBCNewsbeat for that libellous broadcastCalvin Harris