Another Talk with Harvey Gold: A new era, a new album, and the process of "capturing life"
Updated: Nov 19
Few producers are as revered in the underground scene as Harvey Gold. Hailing from Norway, the producer has proven himself a vital force in the modern rap landscape, with a soulful style and intricate touch best exercised in 2022’s The Gold Vein. One year later, Gold is preparing for the release of As It Unfolds, perhaps his most personal effort to date.
Prone to switching up his sound, As It Unfolds is another artistic evolution for Gold. Though the producer has developed a signature style, he is certain that fans will not be able to predict his sound this time around. “It’s my most genuine attempt at capturing life,” he said. “It’s weird, beautiful, groovy and made to be played as one long piece. There are chaotic parts but it’s generally mellow … This time, I think I stay more true to the genres I sampled. Instead of turning 𝑥 into beats, I’ve been jamming with the original songs, and let them evolve into something new.”
Unlike The Gold Vein and the Genre Time series, the new LP will not have the same emphasis on guest features. Instead, the majority of As It Unfolds is handled by Gold alone, with 21 out of 30 tracks being solo cuts. “There are so many talented artists that I love working with, but when I work with fewer, things get more focussed. I get to connect more with the artists I work with.”
Diving deeper into his creative process, the new album is his most eclectic to date. Often praised for his fusion of styles – most notably in the Genre Time series – Gold claims that As It Unfolds outdoes even those projects. He said: “You have passionate folk beats, goofy ass Fatboy Slim type brass band flips, some chaotic messy prog rock beats. ‘Exile’ is a tribute to the producer Exile, doing my take on his style, and ‘70’ is straight up a tribute to late drummer genius Tony Allen … If people want to refer to them as beats, that's cool – I love and owe everything to hip hop. But as I said earlier; this time I completely removed the thought of ‘Can people rap over this?’ from my mind.”
The album comes at a crucial point in Gold’s life. Dropping on 16th November, its release will mark his 30th birthday, as well as the 10 year anniversary of the Harvey Gold name. He said: “My life is not exciting but I find a lot of beauty in it, and music is the best way to express things that might sound dull in a conversation.”
Of all the tracks on the album, the closer, ‘Aestivation’, ties most clearly into this theme of change. He described it as “a song I feel like I've needed to make since 2015, where I entered hibernation and never really woke up … I feel like I'm announcing that I've finally woken up and feel ready to really embrace music the way I've wanted to. More freedom, less worry about listeners, returning to life a little bit, remembering why I loved music in the first place.”
Although Gold has cut back on the guest appearances, a myriad of artists were still involved in the creation of his latest work. From longtime friends such as Nyan Tun and Asani Hard to dream collaborators like Quelle Chris, a range of talents appear on the record. Gold said:
“Earlier this year, I was working on this ‘not an album’ project, a project people could sign up for. The goal was to send whatever beat I've made to people on the list, and then have them do something weird or something that was unusual for them … This is where work on ‘The Ones’ with Dell Nellson started. I just really loved the verse he sent in. I'm a fan of his work. So I wanted to make it into a full proper song. As for Quelle Chris … Working with him has been a life goal of mine, and the beat just felt perfect for him. So I reached out to Dell and asked if he was a Quelle Chris fan as well, which of course he was.”
The most prominent guest on the project is rapper Paradox King. “There’s few people I enjoy working with more,” Gold said. “His writing really resonates with me, his delivery is fucking perfect, and he has a creative vision.”
He went on: “Mo Iqbal mixed and mastered [‘The Ones’] with Dell and Quelle. Guy's insanely talented and actually offered to help with the full album. Doing the full thing was too impractical with my deadlines and whatever but how could I refuse to get help for such an important song? Genuinely appreciate it, Mo.”
Going into the album, the producer was determined not to have a complete plan. “A huge part of the album was improvisation,” he said. “Of course, I always try out new things, and I went into songs knowing I was inspired by something, but most of it just happens … I went into every beat with very clear inspirations in mind. I went out looking for inspiration and sat down when that was at the forefront of my mind. Like ‘Garden River’ – that song is something I made after just being out exploring for a while, seeing a beautiful place that led me to the words ‘garden river’ for some reason. Then I got home and started working on the song I wanted to be a result of that tiny, otherwise irrelevant experience. Even if it was all subconscious, I wanted to sit down knowing that a specific experience was driving my inspiration and creativity at that moment.”
Over the course of our interview, Gold spoke with uncertainty about the purpose of the new LP. On some occasions, he spoke of the record as an aimless experiment, and other times, he described it as a deeply personal odyssey. By the end of our conversation, however, he was confident in what As It Unfolds means to him:
“This whole album has been a journey trying to rediscover what I love about music, and why I made it. And by the end, I found that.”