Interview: Hercules and Love Affair's Andy Butler on His Sidetracked Mix and Hercules' New Record
You'd never know it from his press photos, but Andy Butler is a big softy. The world knows him as the head and heart of DFA giants Hercules and Love Affair, but he's also recognizable for his penetrating stare and imposing physique--and you'd imagine him to be a curt, monosyllabic beast.
He'd have reason to be less than friendly these days. Butler recently cancelled Hercules and Love Affair's Coachella appearance, and with its members splintering off into separate groups, there are whispers, growing louder by the day, that this band is no more. But Hercules and Love Affair was never really a band in the first place, and Butler is a DJ first and foremost--which brings him to Hammerstein Ballroom this Friday, July 3 for Firecracker with Victor Calderone and Steve Lawler. Reason enough to get him on the phone from San Francisco, where he's recently relocated and happily, effusively spoke with us about writing the new Hercules & Love Affair album, his forthcoming mix CD Sidetracked for super-serious techno label Renaissance Records, and disco edits.
You know I have to ask about the state of Hercules and Love Affair. You guys cancelled your Coachella appearance, and everybody is slowly starting to form their own little subgroups (Jessica 6/Deep Red, Midnight Magic). What's going on?
[laughs] The situation is, for the next record, I'm involving a whole handful of new artists, and that's how it was going to be, always. There are a lot of artists I want to work with. Kim-Ann [Foxman], [vocalist] Nomi [Ruiz], all the kids that were working with me on the first record and the tours, they've started doing their own stuff. Nomi has her band, [bassist] Andrew [Raposo] and [keyboardist] Morgan [Wiley] have their own band...
So it was more of a press misconception? Like, this solo project that happened to have a live touring band got cast more as a band when it wasn't?
Yeah. I mean, these are guest artists. Like, someone like Kim-Ann [Foxman] is potentially ever-present; she and I have a long friendship and a long-standing creative collaboration. The other artists like Antony and Nomi both have solo careers, and when they went into it, they knew they had solo careers and that they would be doing their own thing. So basically, the vocalists are Kim-Ann and a whole new batch of people that I've worked with at various points...I'm co-producing with a new producer. The whole scenery has changed.
By the end of last year, Hercules and Love Affair was the poster child for disco's comeback. Entertainment Weekly called "Blind" the #2 single of 2008. Have those kinds of things have affected your thinking about this next album?
To be totally honest, I take all those things into account. I think about those kinds of things. I'd be lying if I said, "Oh, y'know, sophomore album, I'm not thinking about what anyone's thinking!" But truth be told, I write what I write, and I have to embrace that and leave people their own expectations. There are some pieces of music that'll be coming out on my next record that aren't dance music.
So get ready, America!
[laughs] They're songs, y'know? I'm more just kind of interested in writing songs. And I think on the first record people thought there was a kind of schizophrenia going on, and there might be even more of that this time around. When I DJ, I know there are kids that come hoping to hear only obscure disco, or ALL this-or-that, classic house or whatever. But that's why you go hear a DJ. You're not going out to put money in a jukebox! [laughs]
There was defiance in there, in case you didn't catch that! [laughs]