Listening to New York-based Hercules and Love Affair is like taking a musical journey through the highs and lows of disco. Although they're keeping this signature sound for their second album (out in January), they've updated it with thumping house influences.
We talked with front man Andy Butler about the Hercules sound, Chanel, and why they want their shows to be total mayhem.
You guys have been traveling all over. How's it been? We went everywhere from Moscow to Spain to Russia; we were really hitting the pavement. People just get so crazy about the sound from the new album. We love it when it's total madness.
What's an example? Germany was probably my favorite memory because one of the singers brought a girl up from the stage who was way into the music. The girl just sat there onstage in total shock; it was so great. I was half-enjoying it and also half-terrified that the girl was going to knock over all our synthesizers, she was so excited.
How did this new album happen? A while ago, I was commissioned to write some music for Chanel. In the back of my mind, I've always wanted to work with Aerea Negrot, who's an awesome singer and would be perfect for Chanel. I basically had to track her down in Berlin and then we recorded what is now the album opener for the new record. It's called "Painted Eyes," and it's a really elegant, beautiful song that's perfect for makeup.
How has your sound changed since you first started? We used to be this live, wonky-sounding, total spectacle. It was basically all of us running around the world and orchestrating these live things and trying them out on new people. It was cool, but it never achieved this club feeling that I loved when I was a kid. Now, it's more akin to house music and focused on the electronic. We still use the strings, and they're the disco element of horns. They're played with tricked out, heavy hitting, club-oriented beats. We're moving away from that 1970's sound to something more like, 1987.
What can we expect from today's show with Hot Chip in Central Park?Since it's a shorter set, we're going to be doing all our home runs and banging out from beginning to end. We love to do live club shows because we can go into all aspects of the Hercules sound. Basically, expect good beats.
Who else should NYLON readers listen to right now? In Flagranti- they do these rough, cut-up, interesting edits of things that rework old stuff into new material. It's very much a blur what they do; its just bizarre and beyond fun to dance to... Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band Records- it's perfect music. For me, it's comparable to ABBA; there are just some records in my mind that are pure perfection... [and] my favorite remixer right now is called KiNK- he's from Bulgaria and just awesome. Yep, that's about it.