I have been catching up with D.J. Dick Butcher…
who talks to be about his association with Superdry. AudiØ1 is the ‘sounds of Superdry’ and songs he has curated for the album. Butcher works closely with the brand and D.J.s at in-store parties. It is with pride and passion he talks about the album and why music and retail are interlinked. I ask about the process of collating the songs and working with Julian Dunkerton (Superdry’s founder).
Butcher talks about taking AudiØ1 on the road and how the club-scene differs between nations. He talks about the artists included on the Superdry album and what he has planned for the future; the acts he is inspired by and whether he thinks other retail brands should learn from Superdry’s musical ethos.
You can find/purchase the album here.
Hi, Dick. How are you? How has your week been? For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Dick Butcher and I’m a D.J. – and have been pretty much all my working life. I play out and, also, look after the music profiling for brands like Superdry.
If you’ve ever been into a Superdry store, then you would have heard my work – as I’ve been providing the soundtrack for them for a few yews.
I love D.J.-ing. Don’t tell anyone, but I would it for free and I never happier than when I’m making bazar noises in the studio.
AudiØ1 is out now. What was the reason behind Superdry releasing an album and how did you get involved?
Both Superdry and I have always believed in the importance of music in creating an atmosphere whether shopping or in a club.
I was asked to get involved about three years ago to help create a soundtrack with great tunes, full of energy.
It seemed to be a natural progression to offer this to our customers.
Julian Dunkerton is Superdry’s founder. How did he come to contact you and did you both work on the music together?
It was Jules who first contacted me regarding the store’s music – as he like what he heard when he saw me D.J.-ing and, again, he was very much involved in choosing the tracklist on the album.
What is your previous experience with Superdry and how did you come to select the music that goes onto the album?
As well as working with the in-store playlists; I also D.J. at most of the Superdry parties.
When choosing the tracks on the AudiØ1 album; Jules and I really wanted it to reflect, not only the brand but, also, the personality and story behind the brand.
How important is music to the retail/buying experience – and Superdry especially?
It’s only recently become widely acknowledged that music can change perceptions. Renowned academics like Professor Charles Spence (of Oxford University) are studying the effects of this.
However, D.J.’s, bar owners and shopkeepers have known this for many years.
From the very start of Superdry; music has and will remain at the forefront of its customers’ experience.
You have been a D.J. for many years and worked all over the world. Does the music and club scene different vastly between nations or is there a common thread that you recognise from your travels?
There used to be a big difference.
The U.K. ruled the airwaves – but not so much anymore.
The Internet has opened the door to more of a global music community. You can now check out what the world is listening to just by logging into Spotify – which, I think, is a really cool thing.
I believe there is a tour for the new album. What will that involve?
Indeed there is and it’s already underway.
We’re off around the U.K. and a couple of European cities booked so far – with more dates still being added.
As well as most of the cities that are already on the tour, we’re going to play in the local Superdry store in the afternoon – and then move on to the club in the evening; playing tracks from AudiØ1 and some other tunes we love.
The D.J.s on the tour include Lisa Unique and myself – plus some very special guests (to be announced later).
Is there a piece of music from the album that stands out and you knew HAD to be included?
Yep, loads, but if I had to single one out, without any doubt, it would have to be Stay Here by Fred V & Grafix.
Love those guys.
Can you talk about the kind of artists featured and how you came to work with them?
When choosing the tracks, the process constantly evolves. Just when I think I’ve nailed it I’m sent another batch of tracks and I have to change my mind again.
The mission was simple: to look for tracks that completely summed up the in-store experience. We love energy, we love tracks with gravitas; we chose tracks that come from the school of Dance music – or the influences of it.
Our inclusion of Toots and the Maytals is an obvious provenance to the Drum ‘n’ Bass tracks on the album. The House tracks in their different guises all have that feeling of energy – complex and good times; whether they are new or old.
It has been a complete honour to be involved in this process: I have loved every moment; even when I have been pulling my hair out.
Do you think AudiØ1 will inspire other brands to try the same thing? What is it you want to achieve from this album in terms of legacy?
I hope they do, of course: it’s always nice to be the first.
Who were the artists you grew up listening to and were inspired by?
At the age of fifteen, I started D.J.-ing for the sole reason of my love for music.
Like most fifteen-year-olds, I was obsessed, but not only one particular genre – from ’60s to Psychedelia to African Jazz – spending all the little cash I had on vinyl.
My inspirational artists are a bit of a cliché I’m afraid to say: David Bowie, Prince; Sly and Robbie, Marvin Gaye; Kraftwerk and Talking Heads.
It just goes on and on…
Can you give us the names of any new artists you recommend we check out?
Alkalino is not that new but completely under-exposed.
He is oh so funky and, talking of funky… mr jukes.
I’ve fallen in love with their latest album.
Fouk is cool, too.
If you had to select the three albums that have meant the most to you; which would they be and why?
Leftfield – Leftism
Just a fuck*ng great album which I played endlessly when it was first out.
Prince – Purple Rain
I love this album.
So cool, so sexy – and the songwriting is the work of a genius.
I was heartbroken when he died
Late Night Tales – Bonobo
Bonobo is the King of Chill – and I love to chill.
What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?
I think the best advice I could give to anybody starting out would be to just keep going: believe in what you do and don’t give up.
Do what you love and the rest will follow.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Stay Here by Fred V & Grafix
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