British producer Josh Butler just released his ‘Heroes of House’ series. The idea is to collaborate with some of the most important House music precursors and early influencers, in order to inspire and pay tribute to their legacy.
In this special ocassion we had the chance to talk with Josh, but also with House legend Marshall Jefferson and Tech-House partner Santé to discuss their recent release.
Electronic Groove: What is the vision behind the ‘Heroes of House’ series and what made you want to focus on the roots of the genre?
Josh Butler: The idea was born from a track I did last year called ‘Essence of House‘. The vocalist, Lono Brazil, was a close friend of Frankie Knuckles and started telling me stories about Chicago’s music scene back in the 70’s and 80’s. I loosely knew the background of House music but this gave me a huge inside look into the whole genre history . From then when I got in the studio with Marshall (Jefferson) things really kicked off.
Electronic Groove: What was it like working with one of the fathers of House music, Marshall Jefferson?
Josh Butler: At first I thought I’d be a bit nervous about getting in the studio but we instantly hit it off by nerding out over the Neve Preamps and the SSL desk. Marshall has a great ear for melody and harmonies and I’d say that my strong points are beats and grooves… Things came together really naturally, it’s definitely a studio session I will not be forgetting anytime soon. Big shout to Jon Craig at Castle Rock Studios for letting us take over for a few days 🙂
Electronic Groove: What is something you learned about Marshall Jefferson that you didn’t know before?
Josh Butler: He told me some pretty amazing stories since getting to know him, but something that always stuck with me is the fact that he had the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on retainer for 2 years back in the 90’s. Having a full symphony orchestra at your disposal shows the level of love that went into the more musical side of House music.
Electronic Groove: Can you tell us more about what you have planned for your label?
Josh Butler: The next two EP’s in the ‘Heroes of House’ series include tracks from Todd Terry, Darius Syrossian, Kerri Chandler and wAFF. Moving forward I’ll be releasing music from some possible future heroes, and tracks from less known producers that I’ve been heavily supporting over the last few years in my sets.
Josh Butler: Who was in charge of the Release Art? Looks very good. Can you explain a bit about the concept behind this and how it came about?
Josh Butler: The artwork is all done by Davi Comodo. As I called the project ‘Heroes of House’, it seemed like a fun idea to turn the producers into comic book style super heroes. I did some research online, discovered Davi’s work and was really impressed! He’s a huge fan of the project and it’s important for me to have someone who is passionate about the visual side of things, as I am of the music.
Electronic Groove: How did you approach writing the new music with Josh?
Marshall Jefferson: I’ve had a really tough time collaborating with others over the years. That’s because I hear the whole song finished before I even sit in front of a keyboard. With Josh, I let him get a string of ideas down, then I did my own, and then went back and forth to finish the track. I know it sounds simple but this has been impossible for me previously.
Electronic Groove: Did you learn anything from Josh regarding the next wave of house or the current state of dance music?
Marshall Jefferson: I don’t pay attention to anything regarding ‘waves’ or ‘trends’. It’s either good or bad, and good records make trends.
Electronic Groove: What do you miss most about the house scene from earlier years?
Marshall Jefferson: I miss that nobody really knew what it was, and I was able to define a lot of the sub-genres simply because I was first.
Electronic Groove: Josh released an EP on your Avotré label last year, is that how you guys first met?
Santé: I met Josh during a gig over in the UK, I don’t remember where but it clicked from the first second we met! Great attitude!
Electronic Groove: How did you come on board with the Origins project?
Santé: After we met we worked at my studio last summer he came up with the idea of starting his own label, then he asked me if we could release a collaboration on it. It’s a great concept and amazing to be on this label with such great house legends!
Electronic Groove: What was the collaborative process like?
Santé: Josh was playing in Berlin last summer and stayed a bit longer in the city, I showed him around on a bike tour. We ended up settling in my old studio in Kreuzberg. I played him some ideas, he came back with others and then we started working on the tune.
‘Heroes of House Part 1’ is already available, grab it here.
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