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.
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.