Music by VICE

THUMP Mix: Harrison

Fresh off the release of his debut album, the Toronto producer delivers a funky soundtrack for your weekly poker night.

by Max Mertens
Oct 18 2016, 3:55pm

Art by Harry Gassel and Eric Hu.

Although he's yet to play a single show outside of Canada, Harrison (aka Harrison Robinson) is one of the most exciting young producers in Toronto right now. His 2016 debut album, Checkpoint Titanium, confidently balances retro-leaning synth stabs, glossy piano melodies, and collaborations with R&B singer-songwriter a l l i e, Fucked Up's Young Guv (aka Ben Cook), Last Gang labelmate Ryan Hemsworth, and more. Robinson's also no slouch when it comes to making unadulteratedly gleeful mixes, which see his playful edits of 2000s pop staples seamlessly tucked in-between French house and nu-disco.

When we spent some time with him at his home studio this past summer, the 21-year-old discussed his love of 80s American groups like D Train, Midnight Star, and the S.O.S. Band, praising their analog recording techniques. Not surprisingly, his 50-minute THUMP Mix is chock-full of buttery funk, soul, and lite jazz from the era, alongside a handful of more recent selections from Bicep, James Silk, and Kornél Kovács.

Stream the mix below, download it via WeTransfer, and read a brief Q&A with the producer where he explains why it's the perfect soundtrack for your weekly poker night.

THUMP: How has your life changed since Checkpoint Titanium came out the beginning of September?

Harrison: I'm playing a lot more, which is fun because I wanted to play a lot more, and I'm finally getting to. That, plus some people that I haven't talked to in awhile hit me up.

What's the perfect setting for listening to this mix?
It was originally going to be a mix for poker, because my friends and I used to get together and play poker, and we'd always listen to this old French house mix. It's sort of like a funky house poker mix.

Where do you record it?
In my house. It was a really nice day when I recorded it, I was chilling with my friend, vaping.

When we last talked you were trying to quit smoking, how's that going?
It's good. I've broken a few times though. I was doing really well and then I went to Ottawa the other day for a show and was like "I need some cigarettes."

There's a song by New York R&B singer and producer Kashif on here, who passed away recently. How did you get into his music?
He was the second guy that I sampled, D Train was the first, I found him just searching for music. Onra sampled him on a song called "Send Me Your Love." He has a really cool voice and he's really good at making that sort of funk stuff. And he was playing music his whole life until like a month ago when he died.

Tell me about "Outgoing," your song that closes the mix.
"Outgoing" is on an old beat tape that I have called When It Rains from Bandcamp. I really love that song, it was one that I used an MPC for.

What's your favourite moment on the mix?
I really like the intro. That song "Hey Lover," I had maybe 50 people ask me the name of that song because I used in Instagram videos and Vines, and people are like "What is that song?" And I never told anyone so I put it on the mix.

You just launched a new website featuring a playable video game, what was the inspiration for that?
When 56 Digital reached out to me with the idea to integrate a game within my website design, I was stoked. It's something I've been wanting to do for the past three years. We kicked around several ideas and ultimately landed on the classic 2D side-scroller.


Aisling Iris - Hey Lover (Original Mix) [Makin Moves]
Leon Lour - Purpose To Be
Evelyn King - If You Want My Lovin'
DEVolution - Gio (feat. Yeah Boy)
McFadden & Whitehead - Ain't No Stopping Us Now
Bicep - Vision of Love
Middle - Do You Get
James Silk - Can't Wait
Kashif - I Just Gotta Have You (Lover Turn Me On)
Midnight Star - Midas Touch
Hall & Oates - I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)
Roland Tings - Pala
Ashley Beedle, Lay-Far & Darren Morris - Slope
Knightlife - Don't Stop
John White - Victim (Instrumental Dub)
Kornél Kovács - Szikra
Harrison - Lotus
Con Funk Shun - Ms. Got-the-Body
The Jackson Sisters – I Believe In Miracles
California Executives - I Can't Forget You
Boeing - Dance To The Beat
Michael Franks - St. Elmo's Fire
Superior Movement - Wide Shot
Harrison - Outgoing

Checkpoint Titanium is out now on Last Gang Records, and check out Harrison's upcoming Canadian shows here.

Max Mertens is on Twitter.