The dance music world is full of characters, and Bülent Gürler aka Butch is definitely one. A talented producer, exploratory selector and a jovial presence behind the decks, the man from Mainz is a strong proponent of the ‘work hard, play hard’ philosophy, and has been testing its limits for nearly twenty years after first receiving a set of decks as a young boy. Now a fully grown man with a two-decade long obsession with the best house and techno tunes, Butch is gearing up to play at The Social Festival in Maidstone, one of several highlights in a massive summer schedule. Ever the calm presence in an increasingly crazy industry, we thought we’d slow things down for a moment as we went In Conversation with one of the busiest DJs around.
Hi Butch, how’s the summer been so far?
2017 has been the best summer of my life, thanks for asking!
You play at The Social Festival in September, on a lineup that also includes Carl Cox, The Martinez Brothers, Black Coffee and more. If you were to choose two artists from the bill to play back to back, what’d be the most exciting combination?
I’d choose Jackmaster and Apollonia, so that I can teach them something, haha!
The Social Festival will celebrate its fifth year when you play in September. Thinking back to your childhood for a moment, if you’re arranging a birthday for five year old Butch, what’s the day’s entertainment?
Do you remember Snoop Doggy Dogg’s “Gz and Hustlas” from the Doggystyle LP? It starts off with the substitute teacher asking these young children in class what they want to be when they grow up. When he asks little Snoop, Snoop just says: “I wanna be a motherfucking hustler. You better aks somebody!” Well, as a 5-year old I’d have wanted a 90s rapper style party.
What has been your most memorable birthday party?
It was spent studying for a chemistry exam that I had the next day with some really boring chemistry book. I turned 15 that day.
I’ve read that you were twelve when you first got a set of turntables. Do you remember any of the records that came with them?
Honestly, I can’t remember off the top of my head. I started off with some break-beat records, just learning how to scratch and beat-juggle and all that good stuff.
You’re one of the lucky few producers to have jumped into Ricardo Villalobos’ weird and wonderful world to collaborate on some music. How did you find working with the Perlon favourite?
It was a blast, of course! His studio is legendary and working with him was magical. We just made tune after tune for hours on end. It’s basically always like that every time we get into a studio together.
When is the right time to play Butric “Up”?
A good DJ knows exactly when to play that tune. But it’s a delicate act, like sex. Sometimes sex starts off slowly and gently, but then it turns into something rougher, nastier and more intense. That’s like playing a set. You can’t usually start off a set with “Up”. But sometimes a set just develops that way and everyone at the party wants to get nasty. Then you know it’s the right time.
You’ve also produced with Virginia and Hohberg among other collaborations. How different is your working mode when you join with another producer?
It’s a different process every time, some collaborate with you in the studio, others like being by themselves so we send files back and forth. I like being by myself in the studio, making music all day, I really do. But sometimes it’s also great to have people come round and make music together. I need both, I guess, but the main difference is obviously listening to the other person and their ideas. In a collaboration, you try to make something you wouldn’t have done on your own, otherwise why bother? So you need to listen and trust that together you can make something great.
Which DJs on the scene at the moment are the most inspiring?
Ricardo, simply because he takes risks more than most DJs and that inspires me. Plus, he has more fun than most young cats I know.
Let’s finish on the birthday theme again; let’s say it’s my birthday and you’ve been told I want a record that I won’t have heard before but will fall in love with - what’s your best shot at success?
Igor Stravinsky - “Three Pieces for String Quartet”, of course, haha!
Butch plays at the elrow Town London Closing Ceremony on Sunday 20th August, ahead of a busy month in September. Heading to Portugal for the BPM Festival that runs from Thursday 14th to Sunday 18th September, he’ll then arrive in Maidstone for The Social Festival at the end of the month, returning to UK shores on Boxing Day for a spell at The Warehouse Project as a guest of Solardo.
Photo courtesy of Butch