In a recent interview with Bay Area music journalist Marke Biesche, Russell Butler speaks on the inspiration behind their debut album, The Home I'd Build For Myself And All My Friends, released November 15 via San Francisco label Left Hand Path: "The album attempts to set out an idealistic space for the community, a space to dream in this frantic, late capitalist system, and feel what freedom and transcendence would be like. What does it look like when everyone has a home? What does it look like when rapists are held accountable? What does it feel like if everyone had clean water to drink? What does it feel like for a woman or a transperson to walk freely down the street?"
In ten tracks across 60 minutes and two LPs, and featuring original artwork by Muzae Sesay, Butler presents a vision of an imagined future: "techno" in the truest sense, in its original sense. Wrought of hope and the spirit of resistance, The Home I'd Build For Myself And All My Friends recalls techno's emancipatory, Afro-futurist roots. Written in the aftermath of the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland in December 2016 and recorded with no overdubs, the album is infused with an immediacy, a viscerality, unmatched by its contemporaries.
Russell Butler is a non-binary experimental artist and DJ based in Oakland, California. Originally from Bermuda, Russell has developed a process of improvisation that draws from a rich cultural history rooted in their island and the black, queer diaspora.
For the past few years they have been making a brand of stripped down machine techno that has evolved rapidly with each successive release. Transplantation, evolution, and healing are themes in Russell’s music. They based their 2015 album, “God is Change”, on Octavia Butler’s Parable series of novels, in which these are central tenets of the philosophy that the books explore. Since its release “God is Change” has received major acclaim, with NPR naming it one of their top 10 favorite electronic albums of 2015. In 2016, Russell released “Visions of the Future” on Jacktone Records, which is a collection of improvised modular synthesizer sessions. A month later, Russell’s follow up to “God is Change”, “The First Step”, was released on Black Opal. “The First Step” is dedicated to the “…black, brown, trans, queer, and gay folks of Oakland” and posits that “…sometimes to resist oppression, all we must do is simply exist. That is the first step. Let us strive to walk without fear.”
Russell's newest record, “I'm Dropping Out of Life”, was released on January 30th via CGI Records and has already received praise from NPR, Fact, Thump, and The Fader, with early play by DJs like Nina Kraviz, Umfang, and Powder.
In February of 2017, Moog Music profiled Russell’s practice and life in Oakland via their new series, Sonic Origins.