Having set the pace with the recent 80’s electro-house single ‘Controller’ ft. Farris Badwan, Hercules & Love Affair switch down a gear on their new single release “Omnion” ft. Sharon Van Etten – out today – also the title track of the act’s forthcoming fourth studio album, scheduled for release on September 1st via Big Beat Records. “Omnion” is a triumphant sliver of tuneful electronica, premiering this morning on Pitchfork.
Available for streaming and downloading now, “Omnion” features sublime vocals from New York singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten and is, according to Hercules front man Andy Butler, an ode to “a childlike dialogue with a higher entity voiced through the filter of a broken adult male.” The pair met when Butler remixed Van Etten’s ‘Not Myself,’ her heart wrenching response to the Orlando Pulse Club massacre.
Says Butler, “I feel so blessed to have had Sharon Van Etten sing ‘Omnion.’ She is an artist of incredible depth and authenticity and her voice is so inviting yet truly has a mystery about it. Those qualities rendered a beautiful interpretation of a song that is ultimately an appeal to the divine for help and healing. With such a generous spirit and kindness about her, she was a joy to work with.”
Omnion’s credo – a message of faith and tolerance as a response to our troubling times – was one that resonated strongly with Van Etten: “This song is so vulnerable, but strong. Coming to terms with identity and finding community… It’s a very important time to share in that sentiment. I really appreciate Andy reaching out to collaborate. His heart beats in his songs.”
“Sometimes songs are born out of an intense moment that has nothing to do with club music,” explains Butler, “I’m not just a ‘head’ (read techno-head, house-head, disco-head)….I’ve always been just as touched by, say, Sinead O’Connor accompanied only by a guitar, singing an intensely spirited message.”
“Omnion” has already seen remixes from Joe Goddard – as featured in MixMag’s latest Big Tunes – and British electronic pioneers Ultramarine.
Alongside the track, Hercules & Love Affair also announce the pre-order for the forthcoming Omnion LP, first introduced by way of the formidable single – “Controller,” featuring vocals from The Horrors’ Faris Badwan. The seamy, pulsing track was marked by an equally seductive video directed by Rei Nadal, lauded by V Magazine as following “the Hercules & Love Affairtradition of lavish visuals… equal parts creepy and fabulous.”
Renowned for an exuberant stage show and Andy Butler‘s knack for elegant and timely productions, Hercules & Love Affairhave again hit the zeitgeist with eleven songs that sparkle with faith and tolerance. In contrast to “Controller” and “Omnion,” upbeat industrial disco stomper “Rejoice” takes things back to the dance floor. The track features Hercules regular Rouge Mary, who also joins Hamed Sinno of Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila, in exchanging Arabic verses on the graceful album standout “Are You Certain?”
Helping Butler realize this new dynamic on Omnion is the world class cast of singers including Badwan, Van Etten, the Arab World’s most influential indie band Mashrou’ Leila, Icelandic sister act Sísý Ey, frequent collaborators Rouge Mary andGustaph, and Butler himself on the intensely personal electro ballad “Fools Wear Crowns.”
“A few years back,” Butler explains, “I was in the grip of a brutal drug addiction that saw me overdosed in hospital every weekend. I was really decimated.” After having had “a massive, massive relationship” with drugs and clubs since his youth,ButIer has now been clean for four years and “Omnion” is rich with his re-immersion in the wider world, in all its ugliness and beauty.
Raised in Denver, Colorado where he cut his teeth as a teenage DJ, Butler escaped to New York, and forged Hercules & Love Affair as an outlet for his songs. From the retro-futurist Paradise Garage grooves of an eponymous 2008 debut (with longtime friend ANOHNI on the classic, “Blind”), through the thoughtful elegiac songwriting of 2011’s Blue Songs, to the bumping, grittier pulse of 2014’s The Feast of the Broken Heart, Butler has again nailed a body of work that bridges the dance floor with those listening at home. Omnion moves his game up a notch, and reflects his current “hypersensitivity to things going on… personally and in the world.”
Of this consciousness, Butler explains, “Sometimes the dance floor represents a decision to avoid dialogue with the wider world, to commune with people but not really talk. But, humans need to challenge themselves and step it up.” He continues, “Not that everything has to be so serious, but this Hercules record is.”
Hercules are taking their visually spectacular new stage show – “A Feast for the Eyes” Creative Review – to venues and festivals throughout the summer, with an autumn headline tour to be announced soon.
June 25th – Block9, Glastonbury Festival, Pilton (UK) [Hercules Soundsystem]
July 8th – Tauron Nowamuzyka, Katowice (Poland)
July 14th – Obonjan Festival, Otok (Croatia)
July 15th – Melt Festival, Berlin (Germany)
July 22nd – Tramlines Festival, Sheffield (UK) [Andy Butler DJ set]
August 11th – Houghton Festival, Kings Lynn (UK)
August 13th – Boomtown Festival, Winchester [UK] (Andy Butler DJ set)
August 25th – Rock en Seine, Paris (France)
August 27th – Stephenson Works, Newcastle (UK)
September 1st – Into the Great Wide Open, Vlieland (Netherlands)
September 9th – Festival No. 6, Portmeirion (Wales)
September 16th – Kutxa Kultur Festival, San Sebastian (Spain)
October 19th – ADE at Paradiso, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
November 10th– Metropop Festival, Lausanne (Switzerland)