Russell E. L. Butler makes high energy, forward-thinking dance music as a way of exploring ancestry, establishing identity, and self-healing. The Oakland-based producer and DJ is openly gender nonconforming (using they/them pronouns) and performs techno to spark conversations about gender and queerness. Russell E. L. Butler is quickly becoming a vital fixture among California’s underground dance scene for their dynamic and deeply personal sets.
Butler drops their newest release via Ghostly International’s sister imprint Spectral Sound on February 1, a four-track EP simply titled Petty. Our first taste of the new music is “I Know I Am Petty,” a no-nonsense, stomper of a track that proves less is more. “The title, Petty, is a reminder to myself to reject the performance of respectability,” Butler told FACT Mag. “As a light-skinned, educated, able-bodied, black person that grew up in financial privilege, there is an expectation that people like me should be ‘safe’ black people to interact with.”
“Some of us can pass as white, some of us can code switch from one vernacular to another, depending on who we’re around, some of us can perform the expectations of white supremacy, in order to get ahead in this world. To me, Petty is a rejection of this performance.”
Watch Russell E. L. Butler talk on Sonic Origins, a video series “that seeks to unearth the underlying elements of artistic identity”.
Stream Russell’s 2017 EP I’m Dropping Out of Life.
Bump another Russell E. L. Butler joint, “The Home I’d Build For Myself and All My Friends”.