|Every once in awhile, an artist comes along with a fresh and organic approach to music that we can’t help but to stop and appreciate. Reuben Butchart is one of those artists. His new album ‘Golden Boy’ is currently paving it’s own path of classical and soul-tinged pop through America and we had a chance to catch up with him to talk about the album and his thoughts on music at the moment.|
Electroqueer: Hello Reuben – Thanks for taking the time to speak to us. We are totally loving ‘Golden Boy’ at the moment. How are you feeling about finally being able to let the world listen to this record?
Reuben Butchart: I’m thrilled. When you’ve been working on a CD for a while and you’ve listened to it over and over again, it’s nice that it’s out of my hands. There’s a new opportunity to approach the work through the ears of new listeners.
EQ: How would you describe your sound? We think it’s a fresh and organic approach to the music that’s out now.
RB: I spend a lot of time thinking about the music scene right now — as you say — and then I end up doing what I do best. On the one hand, my sound is definitely influenced by classic soul, from Motown through the 70’s. On the other, I’m also influenced by singer-songwriters in my midst. Looking at things from a bird’s eye view, it seems that there is a movement toward soul music, toward authentic music. Luckily, I happen to be in alignment with that. I’ve also been really interested in the relationship between classical music and pop. I think many people are today too.
EQ: Our favourite track is definitely, ‘Belle Of The Ball’ – How did this song come about?
RB: Firstly, thanks for loving that song. I was improvising on the piano and developed the intro. It was sounding to me like a little minuet or a waltz — the type you learn as a beginning piano student. I was such a student as a little kid. So, I leaned back into some childhood memories. And, I envisioned myself as that little kid playing piano with my family around me. The idea of a waltz brought to mind grand dances and ball gowns. The closest thing our family came to that was our grandmothers and aunts dolling up my sister in finely stitched dresses of their own making. My sister is the only girl in a sea of boys. So, I remembered all that and the pressure I imagined my sister must have felt having to be the everyone’s little princess.
EQ: You recently had a CD release party in NYC – how did the public react to the record? How was the night overall?
RB: The night was great. I felt so much warmth and joy from friends and fans in the audience. People seem to really like ‘Golden Boy’.
EQ: You are somewhat of a bi-coastal person just like us! How does living and growing up on the opposite ends of America have an influence on your music?
|RB: I’ve spent equal amounts of time in San Francisco and New York. I love California. The nature especially. That’s what my song ‘Northern California’ is all about. And, I love New York too. It’s so different from SF. Both are magical places. San Francisco is like fairy dust and New York – the dark arts. Sweet and Sour. I love both sides. I’m Gemini. And, I guess I’ll always love the memory of innocence that San Francisco represents. And, I’ll always love the frantic 24-hour-a-day energy and edgy-ness of New York.|
EQ: Any plans to launch your music in the UK and Europe?
RB: Would love to do it. So, far the responses from friends and fans from UK and Europe have all come to me via MySpace. Soon, folks will be able to get ‘Golden Boy’ from iTunes once that’s all set up. I’d love to tour Europe… I just have to work out how that’s done.
EQ: As an out artist, we are curious as to your thoughts on if it’s easier nowadays to be gay and in the public eye.
RB: I have mixed feelings. I feel like gays are gaining acceptance in mainstream media, which is good. But, I feel like there are specific types that are accepted, which is bad. Like…interior decorator or fashion expert, good. Romantic lead, bad. I’d like to see true diversity in the media. We’ll get there I’m sure.
EQ: Tell us about working with Antony of Antony and the Johnstons. Your duet with him is stunning.
RB: Antony and I have been friends for a number or years. At one point he asked me to play piano in his band Antony & The Johnsons. He and some of the other musicians from that circle encouraged me to get my own music out there. I have received a lot of support for my work… which is amazing. "All There is to Tell," the duet with Antony, came organically. It’s basically a transcription of a dream. And, in the dream I was standing on the shore of a violently surging river — standing there with another figure who was alternately my own sister and Antony. So, it made sense to have Antony sing with me.
EQ: So…what on your iPod at the moment?
RB: It changes so much. And, I like random play… or whatever it’s called. This morning I was listening to ‘Joan As Police Woman’. That’s the name of the project fronted by my friend Joan Wasser. And, I was also listening to Marvin Gaye. I listen to a lot of old stuff. I also have phases of getting obsessed with really popular indie artists. At the moment I’m intrigued by Andrew Bird.
EQ: OK – we ask everyone this question…what is your definition of the word, ‘Electroqueer’. What do you think of being part of the EQ roster of appreciated artists?
RB: At first I thought it was a blog about queer folks who made electro music. So, I was kinda confused that you guys would be interested in me. Now, I take it that you are electric — in the sense of e[lectric]mail — and that you’ll blog about any music that is interesting to the queer community and beyond. Plus, EQ could also mean EQ. You know what I mean? I am very happy to be a part of this mix.