Mr International is the label operated by Hercules and Love Affair’s main man Andy Butler. Having released the frankly epic single ‘Creature’ last year by his Hercules cohort Kim Ann Foxman the label now has it’s sights set on brining back quality house and club music, complete with risks, sleaze and attitude back to the dance-floor.
I called Andy Up just prior to a trip to Moscow, and after I think he tried to deflect my call by pretending to be French (he may have forgotten I was calling) I got down to the business of finding out what exactly makes him Mr International.
Hey Andy, what was the idea behind starting the label?
In all honesty, I felt like so much house music has lost its subtlety. In the last couple of years especially, you know the raw elements and the beauty. When kids were first making house, they really had to experiment with these new cheap machines and they starting creating new sounds. Almost like really cold disco, and with that rawness as it developed a certain subtlety that was injected by guys like Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles.
And that’s lost now?
In the past couple of years technology has gotten to the point where people forget about the basic elements that made house music so good I the first place. The sustained string lines for example that can create this ambiance across a whole warehouse. [Now] Its all about this brash, overproduced production that to me is more in line with Lady GaGa, then it is with house music.
So what is Mr International’s kind of house music?
I wanted to return to somewhere where house music can be subdued, seductive, subtle. The big three S’. It doesn’t have to be this over top thing. These DJ’s who have made disgusting monster tracks, these guys like David Guetta – no subtlety whatsoever. It’s totally tasteless to me.
So you don’t like the Swedish house mafia then?
Haha exactly. Great example. I mean there is a place for it all, it wasn’t always nice. It wasn’t always cute and pretty. Detroit has had it’s nasty moments! But generally that is not the kind of music that inspired me. More the musical, deep and moody house music. Lil Louie Vega productions, or the Murk Brothers, Todd Terry – I mean he had a really rough edge to him, a bit of a hip-hop flavour but he knew how to take things deep.
They just knew how to do things tastefully. It just got to a point where it was just stupid, like rock stars. I just imagine Tiesto with his hands in the air (hum’s a Tiesto break down). So for me Mr International is just an opportunity for me to push my kind of house music. You know if you are a new DJ, you might not get Mr International. I don’t really care. I don’t have much of a problem with it. It’s really more about creating music that’s sophisticated and more…
The music you want to DJ?
Yeah, stuff I actually want to put out and play out. You know I’m in change of the label, I run the label, I take care of everything. And so I guess to call the shots you’ve got to be the filter . I am writing a lot of the music in the first place – the Creature track featured Kim Ann Foxman – she bought some raw ideas, but it’s more just about wanting to create DJ tracks that that me and my friends who are into these classic house sounds, with the deep vibes, would be into.
Something that captures that essence?
Yeah, that spirit. The one where you lose your head. I don’t mean like today, when Benny Benassi drops some over the top thing. I find it just really annoying with DJ’s who can play classy and deep, and they make this crap. [Mentions some big US DJ’s with certain pedigree]. It’s all about the ego and this rock star thing – no one knew what Little Louie Vega looks like, or Todd Terry. Nowadays it’s like they want to make their own magazines about themselves. The whole ethos is completely different.
Published April 21, 2011.