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Queer Classic From 2008: Our Decade-Long Love Affair With 'Hercules and Love Affair'

Queer Classic From 2008: Our Decade-Long Love Affair With 'Hercules and Love Affair'

Our Decade-Long Love Affair With Hercules and Love Affair

We're highlighting 50 years of queer music classics this week, as seen in "Songs in the Key of Pride" in the June/July issue. Here, we're bringing it back to 2008 with Andy Butler on how his queer collective helped ignite a disco revival.

With their self-titled debut album, producer Andy Butler and singers Anohni, Nomi Ruiz, and Kim Ann Foxman -- collectively known as Hercules and Love Affair -- crafted the best Paradise Garage set you never heard. Here, Butler discusses the making of a modern club classic.

Related | 13 Trailblazing Queer Musicians Shaking Up Our Summer

What inspired you to put out a disco album in 2008?
I was in a phase of my life when I wasn't going out to clubs much, but rather spending my free time writing music and buying records -- my only nights out were when I was DJing. Looking back, those decisions to make something instead of be somewhere were really important. Making a life of music became a reality for me.

The album's highlight, "Blind," featuring Anohni, has become a queer touchstone. What inspired you to write and record that song?
I was in a moment of real self-reflection in my life, having wrestled with drug abuse, sexual abuse, and coming out while I was a teenager. I guess I was trying to put into words the hardships of childhood and how I thought when I became an adult it would all be figured out, yet there I was at the mercy of more complex emotional struggles and a lack of self-acceptance. I guess that struggle was something other queer people could relate to.

What does Hercules and Love Affair mean to you today?
It's a bit like reading an old diary. I can hear what I was passionate about at that moment in my life. But on some level, all of my albums feel like practice for what's to come, so I ultimately view it as a great and successful experiment.

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