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

“When I went to make the record, I was interested in the words Classical and classic; classic dance music; a canon of dance. I looked to the past thirty years and pinpointed the music that was classic. That got coupled and paired with all this classical imagery. Call it Classical Grease,” he snickers. “There were all these long-named bands in the ‘70s – Crown Heights Affair and Love Unlimited Orchestra. Similarly, I thought Hercules And Love Affair had a nice ring to it. It’s referencing the mythological character Hercules, the one who’d traveled with Jason & the Argonauts. I just wanted to come up with a name that was evocative of that and rooted in the same story and meant to be something bigger.”

Benefiting greatly from his past occupation as a noteworthy participant in the thriving ‘90s Denver dance scene, Butler seemed destined to carved out his own retro-fashioned niche. Wholly appreciative of the trendy cross-pollinated bicoastal sounds other contemporaries shared, he then tried to combine these styles in a fascinatingly vogue manner while serving as a teen DJ living just east of the Rocky Mountains.

“It was like West Coast rave and the warehouse scene relating to Chicago and Minneapolis merging. They all had interesting nightlife,” he recalls. “Denver attracted West Coast DJ’s like (revered house legend) Doc Martin. Chicago’s house music scene came through. We were perfectly situated.”

Butler’s ever-changing aggregate of touring members provided flexibility in the past, but he believes future creative endeavors may be done with a stabilized lineup. He thinks some people will stay, others leave, though he’s not specific. But he insists there’ll be a freedom in terms of players and music itself. Such autonomy draws parallels with distinguished drum ‘n bass assemblage Roni Size & Reprazent, whose peerless ’97 album, New Forms, was a monumental achievement perhaps only one ‘jungle’ step removed from Hercules’ less funky Love Affair. In fact, Butler confesses having a soft spot for analogous Bristol-based trip-hop combos such as Massive Attack and Portishead.

Whether playing orchestral director on horn-speckled Philly soul-derived instrumental, “Hercules Theme,” or lending his monotone half-spoken come-hither baritone to alluring reverie, “This Is My Love,” Butler’s constantly in charge of Hercules And Love Affair’s sizzling eponymous entree. But he’s not afraid to shine the spotlight on an equally impressive array of comrades. On top of those mentioned, it’d be difficult to dismiss co-producer Tim Goldsworthy, another New York City immigrant, brought onboard as drum programmer. A renowned British DJ, Goldsworthy has lent his percussive skills to (DFA Records co-founder) James Murphy’s awesome LCD Soundsystem projects as well as James Lavelle’s alien cinematic crew UNKLE.