Reworking hard house is no trauma for Josh Butler

Josh Butler

One of the hottest properties within the house scene, Josh Butler, has remixed Trauma’s Higher for the first release in Untidy’s UX series. Johnny Dangerous catches up with him to talk about getting involved in the project and how the Untidy sound is making an impression within the house scene.

You’re no stranger to music having numerous productions and having remixed for the likes of Ellie Goulding, Fatboy Slim and Carl Cox to name a few. How did you get into making music?

I discovered music production through a Playstation game called Music ha ha. I became really intrigued so got myself a version of Cubase and Reason and started to take it more seriously.

How would you describe what you make?

I draw influences from all over the place so I would say it can vary from more soulful sound vocal house right up to the more dance floor focused Hard House inspired stuff.

You’ve been lucky enough to play some amazing events from Glastonbury and the Defected parties in Ibiza to the Secret Garden parties here. How did this long journey begin?

My music has given me the opportunity to travel to all four corners of the world and share my sound, its pretty bizarre on reflection! The journey began after getting a record signed to Chase & States’ label MTA. That was a big break for me and when I started to do music full time.

You have been lucky enough to be able to play your music to actual crowds in actual clubs during lockdown. Has it been more difficult to break new music during the pandemic?

Yeah very coincidentally the country that I grew up in, New Zealand, was one of the first to recover from Corona virus. So we have been able to enjoy the summer here and have some festivals. Breaking music is so much different now, things were definitely easier when everyone was playing weekly but for the time being its mostly done online.

You warmed up for Nile Rodgers and Chic… how did that come about?

It came about because Bontan and I were doing our Be True tour, which was about celebrating the roots of house music. Nile and Chic were touring the UK at the same time and a mutual friend of ours and introduced us and floated the idea of us doing the support sets for their shows. With Disco being the origin of House music it worked really well and Nile loved the idea. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

This isn’t the first time you have remixed a classic. You reworked Carl Cox’s rave anthem I Want You (Forever) and now hard house classic ‘Higher’ by Trauma… how do stamp your mark on a track… what makes it a Josh Butler remix?

There isn’t really an easy answer to this. I will listen to the remix parts that the artist or label give me and I’ll choose the parts that excite me. I’ll then just start to jam and play around with ideas, seeing how I can work them into my own arrangements. 

Do you find reworking a record from another genre more challenging than making an original production?

Sometimes writing original music can take time if the ideas stop flowing. I find with a remix, even from another genre, the process can be really quick. Especially if its a track with Trauma – Higher, I used to stop about at Tidy Weekends to that tune!

How do you see the house world encompassing the fresh sound emerging from Untidy Trax?

I would like to think it will be well received. I’ve been playing some of the tracks from Sam’s new album already, love it!

You’ve been established for a long time now, what would you say is your biggest achievement to date?

There are a lot of achievements that I’m proud of but one of the biggest is my Radio 1 Essential Mix.

Your remix of ‘Higher’ has been welcomed by the hard house community… can we expect to hear more from you on Untidy Trax?

That’s good to hear!! I still play about making some Hard House stuff so never say never…

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