Last Year’s Fuji Rock Festival was brought to an emphatic close by The Music, playing together for the final time in Japan. Many people would have thought this was the last time we would see frontman Robert Harvey here but fast-forward 10 months and he has a new album, set to return to the stage in Naeba once again with his new project, The D.O.T.
The D.O.T is a collaboration with Mike Skinner, the man behind the genre-busting act The Streets, which breathed new life into the urban music scene in The UK some ten years ago. Now both older and wiser, the improbable duo have put together a feel-good album drawing on their variety of influences, perfectly pitched for the summer festival season. Ahead of the show, Robert kindly joined the dots for us on his recent antics.
Robert, we met briefly at Fuji Rock last year when you and the rest of The Music signed our charity t-shirt raising money for earthquake relief – thanks for that! How was the festival last year? It must have been emotional?
I do remember signing the shirt! I hope it helped raise money for the relief… It was emotional last year. I couldn’t have wished for a more perfect end to 10 great years with The Music though. Japan was the place that really understood our sound and stayed with us throughout our journey. We felt like we owed it to our fans in Japan to play one more time.
You are probably sick of answering this question, but your new project The D.O.T is an unlikely collaboration. For those who don’t know the story, what brought you together?
Myself and Mike have been friendly for 10 years as we have had the same management for that time. Mike sent me an email asking me to come and jam over a few beats he had created. Obviously, I jumped at the chance and within the first session it was clear we worked well together. Since then it has just felt right.
Do you see The D.O.T as a departure from your past or a continuation? How have fans of The Music reacted?
Personally I was ready for a change. Mentally we grow and I will always look back on the memories of The Music with a warm heart. But asking someone to stay the same after 10 years when their body and mind is screaming out for something new, it isn’t right. So I’d see The D.O.T as something new and fresh for both myself and Mike. Obviously I’d like fans of The Music to like it, but it’s very different and change doesn’t suit everyone at the same time.
You must obviously share musical influences, but being from such different musical backgrounds have you ever clashed over anything?
Clashing will always happen in a creative environment to some extent. The key is to remain open to trying as much as possible and leaving your ego at the door of the studio.
When you were producing the record was it a case of you taking care of the lyrics and Mike the beats or was it more collaborative?
We very much write together on all areas and even write with friends. Mike usually handles the beats and production. I sing and play instruments. Lyrics come from both of us. It’s very much open to the best idea. Usually it’s as you said, Mike does the beat I do the singing, but it is quite free and flexible.
This will be the first time The D.O.T hits Japan, what can the festival-goers expect from you guys?
We are hoping you like what you hear. It will be me and Mike on stage with machines/mics/keyboards/guitars and having fun.
What new challenges does touring the new act bring?
I guess people may have expectations. That may work against us. All we ask is that people give us a chance and listen with an open mind.
In your experience, what is the one unique thing about Fuji Rock Festival?
It is a place that encourages a friendly attitude towards music and it feels like everyone is there to share a moment. Life is special and beautiful and I’m reminded constantly of that fact every time I enter the festival.
The D.O.T play at Fuji Rock Festival on Saturday 28th July. Make sure you join us at at the festival this year (27th – 29th July 2012).
Weekend ticket: ¥ 42,800 (tax included)
Day ticket: ¥ 17,800 (limited to 10,000 for each day)
For more information and details on how to buy tickets, please visit the official Fuji Rock Festival website
Words: Mark Birtles
Translation: Iona Nagata