When Hercules and Love Affair released their debut album in 2008, Andy Butler’s transformation of Antony Hegarty into a club diva on lead single ‘Blind’ was a stroke of genius, and the subsequent Frankie Knuckles remix reverberated on dancefloors for the best part of a year. Many wondered how he would follow up this triumph on the next album, but with the hat trick of Aerea Negrot, Kim Ann Foxman and Shaun J Wright (plus Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke on one track) he’s succeeded. On Blue Songs, Butler’s songwriting slips easily from jackin’ house to more introspective, end of the night moments. “It’s a varied album, with multiple genres including techno and Chicago house, right through to very beautifully orchestrated disco, to experimental to acoustic folk” says Wright on the phone from Milan, where they are currently stationed as part of their Funky Little Beats tour. “I would describe it as a journey and a creative vision that largely describes adolescence. It’s a fine album.”

Wright met Butler three years ago at an aftershow party in New York, where Butler was playing. After approaching him to initially express his admiration, the two got talking and eventually became friends. Hailing from Chicago, how much has Wright’s background brought to the album? “I used to go [clubbing] when I was younger, when I was underage, as I left Chicago when I was 18, but gay clubs like  The Generator played the most amazing classic house, vocal house, acid house…” On stage, their sound and aesthetic harks back to clubs like The Generator and the 80s New York club scene. Most importantly, they really appear to be enjoying themselves. “Each night seems to get better” says Wright.  “We started in Madrid which was really good, then Lisbon was really good, last night in Milan was really good… We have been able to use the touring we did before the release of the album as rehearsal because we all live in such far reaches of the planet, so with a big tour like this we only have a day or two of rehearsals before the show. We’ve been touring the same album for the last year so we just take a day or two to get back into the groove and take off.”

Each of the vocalists has their own solo duties, but this doesn’t seem to cause problems. “I think we’re given enough notice. Of course Aerea has her own shit going on, she does amazing live shows herself, Kim Ann is DJing, Andy is a very busy man… everyone has a pretty good schedule, but we’ve all made a commitment to be here.” Once Hercules and Love Affair commitments are over, what’s next for Wright? “I’m working on something right now for international release. This experience… it’s been a great training ground, and a great school to hone the craft.”  Will he stay within house music? “The possibilities are endless.  House music is my first love though, I will say that.”

Hercules and Love Affair play London’s Village Underground on March 11th and Glasgow’s Death Disco at The Arches on March 19th.

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