There was a time when, before "I Will Survive and "Y.M.C.A, disco was a culture centred as much on artistry as excess. Though the bitter taste remains for many, Brooklyn-based collective Hercules and Love Affair are looking to evoke the fonder memories of the genre. "I think now enough time has passed where people can think, Wow, there was substance, there was musicality, and a lot of amazingly talented people behind the production, says founder/DJ/producer Andrew Butler. "People can now approach it without cringing or being reminded of its demise.
With their brilliant self-titled debut, Butler and his cast of collaborators looked not to revive disco, but integrate it into a collection of influences that fulfilled a grand vision fit for clubs everywhere. "Once it became clear that I was making an album, I said, I want to make dance music, but also make it song-oriented, the producer says.
Help came from his singing crew, which includes Nomi Ruiz, Kim Ann Foxman, and renowned cabaret balladeer Antony Hegarty (minus the Johnsons), who steals the show with his offbeat, downy voice. "They were all amazing, and let me push them in certain directions, yknow, try one voice on one song, and another voice on another song, and swap them.
As for that conspicuous name, its all part of the disco ethos. "I grew up really fascinated with Greek mythology. After I had a body of songs I thought, What should I name this? And there is one myth about Hercules that shows the strongest man at his most vulnerable, at the mercy of a broken heart over a love affair. I thought this was poignant and pretty, so I named the whole project that. I think theres that romantic sense to the music, a longing, and a bit of melancholy and a bit of rapture, and feel its very suitable.