Techno Tuesday: Josh Butler talks ORIGINS RCRDS, 90s influences and A&R
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
House music stalwart Josh Butler continually delivers remarkable sounds at some of the industry’s most renowned festivals and fabled venues. With releases on Green Velvet’s Cajual Records, Kerri Chandler’s Madtech, Noir Music and more, Butler ascended to legend status with the formation of his own label ORIGINS RCRDS in 2016.
Before blossoming into his current widespread acclaim, Butler initially hit his mark with his jaw dropping debut “Got A Feeling” on Chase and Status‘ MTA imprint in 2013. A DJ Mag award for “Best Breakthrough Producer” for their annual Best of British roundup followed suit, before a B2B tour alongside Bontan and an opening slot on none other than Nile Rogers and Chic’s U.K. tour.
Later came numerous Ibiza residencies, with summer-long gigs at Sankeys, Ibiza Rocks and Defected @ Eden. Between appearances at these legendary venues, Butler spent his summer spreading top notch House grooves at festivals including Glastonbury, SW4, Defected Croatia, Parklife, Secret Garden Party and across numerous U.S. and U.K. tours.
Add to the mix collaborations with Kerri Chandler and Darius Syrossian, remixes for heavyweights Carl Cox and Joris Voorn, and Butler is poised to continue his reign. As a culmination of his talent, Butler launched ORIGINS RCRDS in 2016 and recently celebrated the label’s first birthday at Sound in Los Angeles alongside Huxley.
We caught up with Butler and chatted about his experiences traveling around the globe, from where he draws inspiration and more.
Your label just turned one – congratulations! What are some label highlights from the past year that you’re proud of? And what are some ORIGINS RCRDS goals for 2017 and beyond?
Thank you! A couple of the main highlights for me were working with some real US house heroes, especially Marshall Jefferson and Kerri Chandler. My goal now is to help build some new up-and-coming artists that I believe are staying true to the authentic house sound that I love.
Also, the next big step is Origins events. I have my first US showcase this weekend at Sound, LA where Huxley will be joining me. Huxley’s records have been in my collection for years, so I’m really pleased to have him involved and do a b2b special towards the end of the night.
What inspired you to create your own label in the first place?
A big part of starting it was because I was being sent so much great music from people around me. There were so many unsigned tracks that I was playing in my sets but I couldn’t do anything else with them… starting the label has given me platform to help newer artists that I believe in. Another driving force behind it was getting to know the originators Marshall, Todd and Kerri. Hearing their stories from Chicago and New York in the late 70s, 80s and 90s fascinated me, so I wanted to incorporate my passion for the history of our music in to the new project.
In the form of that luscious piano melody, Kerri Chandler infiltrates jazz and soul into your recent collaboration “Can’t Deny.” Is it important for you to listen to music outside the House realm for inspiration? Why/ why not?
I think it’s really important to listen to other genres. When I’m not in clubs I rarely listen to House or Techno music, and this is where most of my inspiration comes from. When I’m traveling or chilling, I listen to a lot of 60’s dub reggae, artists such as King Tubby and Lee Scratch Perry. I’ve been exploring some of the 60’s/70’s Motown records recently too. Anything with soul, groove and personality catches my ear.
You’re currently amid the North American leg of a worldwide tour. What’s the biggest difference between playing in America versus playing anywhere else in the world?
I just landed in Miami for the second weekend of the tour. I’ve missed this city so much, so I’m pretty gutted I’m only hear for 1 night actually!
You know what, recently there are becoming less and less differences between America and the rest of the world. At first, I admit, I was a little unsure the new generation of clubbers in the US really understood my music but the last 2 years have proved me wrong. EDM seems to be becoming a thing of the past and people are digging deeper for those underground sounds…
This was another factor for me starting Origins Rcrds, as it is a vehicle to help share music from the House music greats to my fans, the younger generation of clubbers.
Between your recent remix of Carl Cox’ “I Want You” and your Heroes of House series, 90s House music seems integral to your sound. What is it about the era that captivates you?
I guess the main thing is that I grew up during the 90s so I have a kind of nostalgic connection to those type of sounds. As well as this, and like I mentioned before, it’s partly the history side of things that captives me. The stories and the evolution of this form of music really excited me.
In a very saturated house market that teeters on the edge of monotony, where are some places you as a veteran artist seek out inspiration to stand out from the pack?
Honestly, it’s not something that can be formulated or forced. I find inspiration from all kinds of things; a style of music, a country I have traveled to, people I have met, parties I have been to etc. Don’t get me wrong, I have sat in the studio for days sometimes when I haven’t been feeling inspired but it ends up being counter productive. I find just letting things flow naturally and not over-thinking the process is always best!