Hercules and Love Affair
Before he found a home in disco, Andy Butler DJ’d at a leather bar in Denver called Chocolate Thunder Pussy. He was 15 years old. Now he’s the ringleader of a rotating collective of singers, dancers and DJ’s called Hercules and Love Affair. The name came from a childhood interest in Greek mythology. “I just loved the notion that this myriad group of gods and goddesses could come down at any moment and interrupt your life or point you in a certain direction, or give you some kind of tool to use in order to help you achieve something.” And for a group that crosses every gender and orientation, Hercules, a powerful and outspoken bisexual, is a fitting hero.
But aside from his mission of including everyone in his invitation to the dance floor is the dance floor itself. While writing and recording music as an undergraduate at Sarah Lawrence, Butler was often told by teachers that his interest in disco was too frivolous to be taken seriously. But “the level of musicianship on a lot of disco records is super high. They never restricted themselves to one sound or another. Everything goes into disco. Latin rhythms, classical music, jazz… you can do all of it. So, for people to say that dance music is not legitimate, to me, is so preposterous. So I do have, in some ways, an agenda.”
So far his agenda has included writing and performing with artists like Nomi, Kim Ann, and most famously, Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, as in “Blind,” rated best song of 2008 by Pitchfork. If you’ve never been to a Hercules show, expect to dance all night and have a really good time. You can see them next at Electric Zoo in NY on September 6th.