Hercules & Love Affair have always known how to tear the roof off a festival dance tent but their new live set-up takes things to a whole new level. Hercules main man Andy Butler’s love of classic disco and house remains central but his growing affection for tougher-edged techno sounds and moody ‘80s synth-pop only adds to the band’s appeal.
For 2017, there are new and astounding live visuals from a host of artists, created across various mediums, and commissioned by video director supremo David Wilson, that augments arguably one of electronic music’s finest live performances. “It’s all being reworked,” says Butler gleefully, “Not only is there a different visual language but we’ve sonically injected new life into everything, reworking the dynamics.”
From his teenage years, DJing at underground leather nights in his native Denver, to his escape to New York, home to the original wild gay nightworld that gave birth to rave, to inventing Hercules & Love Affair as an outlet for his songs, music was always at the heart of Butler’s universe. Throughout three albums – the retro-futurist Paradise-Garage grooves of the eponymous 2008 debut, the thoughtful elegiac songwriting of 2011’s ‘Blue Songs’, and the bumping, grittier pulse of 2014’s ‘The Feast of the Broken Heart’ – Hercules & Love Affair have nailed a body of work that bridges the dance floor and the home listening experience. Butler’s songs are unique creatures, capable of swaying clubs but also boasting a punctilious attention to orchestration and lyrical bite. This perfectionism began with his opening shot, the 2008 classic ‘Blind’, featuring his friend Antony “ANOHNI” Hegarty on vocals, and continued through later material with John Grant and Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke.
In the live arena Butler ensures there’s no shortfall in vocal talent. Indeed one review in The Guardian had the headline ‘Who Needs Guest Stars With Vocalists This Good?’. Andy’s also dived wholeheartedly into the music of his early teens, whilst exploring the record stores of his new home in Belgium. “I pick up 20 records at a time in Ghent,” Andy enthuses, “New Beat from the ‘80s, acid gems from ’88, Detroit-sounding techno, recently I’ve been aesthetically interested in early 80s electronic dance – Cabaret Voltaire, Front 242, Telex and lots of noisier older music.” All this has flavoured his fourth album and adds a fresh dimension to the Hercules & Love Affair sound. Details of the new album to be announced soon.
Butler and the band are hitting the road, toned, trained and ready to perform a vibrant new show exploring those extremes which Andy Butler is so keen on. There has never been a better time to catch them.