Shooting From The Hip: Hercules’ Love Affair Dances To The Top

—by , October 9, 2008

First, ancient Greek drama gave us Hercules, the courageous mortal-turned-God. And now, hundreds of centuries later, a non-ancestral Colorado-raised impresario using the same handle currently dominates America’s sullied dance floors. As the reluctant brainchild steadying Hercules And Love Affair’s self-titled debut (DFA Records), techno warrior Andrew Butler has risen out of the windswept Southwest plains to acquire exalted club status in the Big Apple.

Encouraged by a teacher to do notation, Butler began constructing Classical piano-based compositions at a formative stage. At age twelve, the green pre-teen maestro purportedly discovered electronic music through Yaz’s ’82 new wave/disco smash, “Situation.” Soulfully sung by compelling British singer, Alison Moyet, its sleek flashiness and debonair seduction totally inspired the young obsessive musical architect. He became doggedly determined to streamline “Situation’s” luxurious New Romantic synth-pop extravagance.

Butler surmises, “I was writing in an academic setting for personal fulfillment. But this is the first time I released music I wrote. The Classical pieces I wrote at age twelve are probably in my mother’s Denver storage bin. They were done in teen handwriting as dear, sweet romantic music.”

Before putting together Hercules And Love Affair, Butler gained a solid reputation as one of Denver’s most respected club DJ’s, experimenting with synthesizers and getting fully into dance music. Although he still enjoyed the nightlife, he temporarily shifted focus away from the discotheques and back towards classical arts during his tenure at Manhattan’s prestigious Sarah Lawrence College.

He adds, “I’ve also explored some minimalist art music in the past two years and I’m interested in that as well as softer music styles. Probably some of that will surface on record sooner or later.”

While living in New York City, Butler befriended Hawaiian-born jewelry designing acid house DJ Kim Ann Foxman (hostess of lesbian nightclub soiree Mad Clams at the Hole). Eventually, Antony Hegarty (of renowned transgendered glam mopers Antony & the Johnsons) and native New York singer Nomi Ruiz got acquainted and these colorful pals helped conceive Hercules And Love Affair. Butler swears he knew Foxman was “on the same page aesthetically” from the get go. And he quickly realized Nomi’s positively illuminating voice was a stunningly radiant asset uncannily reminiscent of Moyet’s crystalline alto.

Butler reflects, “Going into the studio with Antony, we both loved Alison Moyet and that type of angelic singing. There’s so much pain and so many Blues in there. Alison Moyet, Kate Bush, Elisabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins, and even Sinead O’Connor have strong female voices – a gutsy soulful quality. I was excited to work with Nomi. She delivers the words like a more traditional Rhythm & Blues diva.”

A large coterie of house music denizens sniffed out the 12” version of exotic electromagnetic mantra, “Classique #2,” prior to it being featured in long-play form. On it, Foxman infrequently inquires ‘do you really want me?’ in a recurring sultry soprano left floating inside the heavily cadenced beat-driven theatrics.

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