Hercules & Love Affair (feat. John Grant)- "I Try to Talk to You"
In support of National Pride Month, for the entire month of June I will only post artists who Identify as somewhere on the LGBTQI Spectrum. We are loud, we are proud, and we deserve to be heard.
These are two incredible queer artists that I love. I've written about them both a few times before, but still love this song and video. There's something raw and beautiful about John Grant's hypnotic voice, and the way that Andy Butler creates the space for him to play in mesmerizing.
Hercules & Love Affair is a dance music project created by American DJ Andy Butler in 2004. Consisting of a rotating cast of performers and musicians, the band work within the genres of house music, disco, techno and nu-disco.
Originally based in New York City, now based in Ghent, Belgium, Hercules and Love Affair were founded following Butler's collaboration with Anohni to produce the song "Blind", which was a hit single. Initially signing to DFA Records, for their eponymous 2008 debut album, the band went on to record two more albums for Moshi Moshi, Blue Songs (2011) and The Feast of the Broken Heart (2014). Their fourth album Omnion was released in September 2017 by Atlantic Records.
Andrew Butler was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, and has described growing up in "a violent household without any role models". He developed an early love for Greek mythology, which later inspired him to name his band after the mythological hero of Hercules. Interested in music, he played the piano, and began composing classical pieces from the age of thirteen. Butler's interest switched to focus on dance music after buying a record by the band Yazoo. He went on to give his first DJ set aged fifteen, in a Denver leather bar run by a hostess called Chocolate Thunder Pussy; on that occasion, the club was raided by police, leading him to hide from them in the toilets. As he later related: "I started DJing because I needed to get out of the house. I was, like, 'Take me to the club or there's going to be a really ugly situation at home today!' I found a lot of freedom in the nightclub to express myself and not be judged as harshly as I was at home. I am a gay man and I grew up with a certain struggle and because of that, I have a story to tell."
The new Hercules cast is impeccable. John Grant was first into the fold and unearthed a new way for Andy to record. His sexy tomcat voice and lyrical ability for translating hardship into elegance lent themselves greatly to the new album and the collaboration ʻI Try To Talk To Youʼ is an album highlight, future single and uniquely Hercules.
It’s been an extraordinary journey for John Grant, from a point where he thought he would never make music again or escape a life of substance abuse to winning awards and accolades, collaborating with Sinead O’Connor, Rumer and Hercules & Love Affair and having his music featured in the award-winning film Weekend.
It’s a journey that’s taken him from Buchanan, Michigan to Parker, Colorado, studying languages in Germany and, after his band The Czars split up, basing himself in New York, London, Berlin and, most recently, Iceland, where the bulk of Pale Green Ghosts was recorded. It’s also been a journey from The Czars’ folk/country noir to the lush ‘70s FM alchemy of Queen Of Denmark to the astonishing fusion of sounds that lifts Pale Green Ghosts.
Clearly John Grant was a perfect fit for Hercules and Love Affair’s new venture. After finishing the last Hercules tour, in support of second album ‘Blue Songs’, Andy decamped to Vienna because “it was quite clear that this was a fundamentally European operation.” He found a tremendous old analogue studio in the city and began sketching his ideas down on tape. “I wanted ten minute tirades of 909s, nasty bass-lines, stormy, bleary-eyed sounds, fiery, rough, tough and ragged old school house productions that sounded almost techno. I didn’t want polite, I wanted aggressive.”
Techno and Electro specialists and classic house devotees appeared through mutual friends in Vienna in the form of Haze Factory. They had already served up a great remix of Butler and Shaun J Wright's "Forever More". The rough collision of techno and house had already convinced Andy to take them on for the new Hercules album. Industrial stalwart Mark Pistel, also joined in on production duties, as a perfect compliment with a noise based, sample oriented take on swinging 909 drums.
This aesthetic coupled with substantial tales of emotional triumph makes for something that does not happen in dance music very much anymore. Put actual songwriting into the mix, and you have the goal of Hercules 3.0: meaningful house music that IS pop music and can speak to the most musically adept of tastes. More now than ever it is about delivering something deeper to the hedonistic precept of Hercules & Love Affair. “I am fascinated by belief,” Andy says, “Maybe the nightclub isn’t just decadent and meaningless.” His words resonate and dare you to pay attention to the music that is being made.
So today I choose Hercules & Love Affair (ft. John Grant)’s “I Try To Talk To You”, (with an AMAZING video with Choreo by Ryan Heffington & staring Danny Dolan), as my Let me help me, please can be the strongest word, some days you just have to do it for yourself, song for a jump a little higher, remember the movement, roll through and find the fluidity Monday.