Calvin Harris: Kylie-Approved

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"Was it Isaac Hayes? Giorgio Moroder? I can't remember..." As you might expect, 23-year-old DJ/producer Calvin Harris is catching a bit of flack for calling his debut album I Created Disco. And, on the phone during his first UK tour, he nervously racks his brain trying to name the person who actually invented the genre. "[The title] is a bit of a lie," he confesses sheepishly. "It definitely wasn't me!"

With its hyperbolic title, I Created Disco suggests an overblown DJ-artist album, full of useless breakdowns and tired samples, drowning in its own pretension. Instead, what you'll find is a smart and very self-aware record that takes on lame stereotypes and teases them out using the same pop formulas that have suited Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem, and early Basement Jaxx. "Maybe I'm just boring and crap at making music, which is why every song sounds the same!" jokes Harris, who hails from Glasgow. "All of the songs were done before I could even dream of getting a record deal. When I finally signed a deal they said, 'Okay, where's the album?' and I was like 'Oh, I've got enough songs for an album, I'll just put them all on a CD. I spent maybe three or four years writing songs in my free time."

It's very obvious that I Created Disco was written in Harris' spare time, not because it sounds lazy, but because it sounds like he had fun making it, as if each track is him throwing a party for himself. A perfect example is "Girls," the record's first single, which hinges on a disco-funk sample of a man detailing his favorite kinds of girls (black girls, white girls, Asian girls)–eventually you realize that he likes them all. "It's a fictional theme," laughs Harris. "I don't get all the girls. And as with most of my songs, the lyrics are secondary. It's more about the music than any sort of truth in lyrics."

Apparently, this pop sensibility is paying off, since Kylie Minogue–herself not a stickler for lyrics–recently recruited Harris to produce music for her upcoming album. "They just phoned me up and said, 'Hey, do you want to do some songs with Kylie?' Two weeks later we were working on them, which was all very bizarre. We wrote about six songs, and apparently they pulled them from a massive list of hundreds of tracks, so fingers crossed that they make it on the album."