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The Butler Calls
His first album answered the question: can Antony Hegarty do disco? Now Andy Butler is back with the second LP from his Hercules And Love Affair project. He talks about the record’s genesis and explains why Sinéad O’Connor is one of his greatest inspirations.
Paul Nolan, 31 Mar 2011
Having initially been unable to reach him, I finally contact Hercules and Love Affair’s Andy Butler on his landline phone in his hometown of Denver. The DJ and producer had left his mobile phone in a taxi the previous night and been unable to retrieve it. If the person who found it is a dance fan, they’ve presumably hit the jackpot.
“There aren’t actually too many big name people in there,” notes Butler. “I mean, you have Lady Miss Kier from Deee-Lite, so you’d have to be a super hardcore dance aficionado to
Butler is on the promotional trail for Hercules’ superb second album, Blue Songs. Given the title of the record, would he describe it as a more melancholy offering?
“Well, a different emotional landscape has been painted,” considers Butler. “It’s not exactly sadder or more melancholy, although it does deal with the less cheery aspects of life at times. There are some moments of attitude on the dancier songs, which have a kind of defiance. It’s not necessarily the cheeriest of dance music, and I guess on the slower numbers, they have a sort of sadder, more mellow tone. But I wanted it to be serenity-inducing, as opposed to melancholic.”
Butler was delighted by the warm worldwide reception granted his self-titled first album, and remembers the group’s Electric Picnic performance as a high point of the tour.
“We played right before Sinéad O’Connor, who is a musical hero of mine,” recalls Andy. “I played for a crowd of about 4,000 and it was one of the first times I realised, ‘God, this music really has reached all of these people, and they can sing along with some of the songs.’ That was one of the first times truly in my life, where things were suspended and I just found myself in pure enjoyment onstage. And afterwards I got to see Sinéad O’Connor perform all of these amazing songs, and I’d never seen her perform live, so for me it was a d ouble whammy. It was a very emotional, special day.”
Although Hercules are now signed to Moshi Moshi, Hercules’ first album was released by James Murphy’s DFA imprint. In his capacity as producer, Murphy and his musical partner Tim Goldsworthy were invited to spend an afternoon writing with Britney Spears, although the collaboration came to nought. Has Butler himself ever received any similarly unlikely requests as a producer?