Harry Stafford and Marco Butcher have never actually met in the flesh. But they are punk soul brothers from the same muddy musical pond. Connecting with one another during a year of ‘lockdown hell’, their exchange of ideas and talk of musical influences inadvertently led to their collaboration.
As innovative juices began to boil, the frenetic exchange of digital files culminated in ‘Bone Architecture’, a 12-track album that both of them had been itching to make. This superb collection includes reworked older material, brand-new compositions and even a dirty blues version of the Pink Floyd classic ‘Arnold Layne’. Ahead of the album, the duo present lead single ‘There’s Someone Tryin To Get In’ with video created by Stafford.
“For me, this record is a blast of energy with a cool raw groove that I have been itching to express for a while and, with Marco Butcher, I found the perfect collaborator to express it. His garage punk soul music, fused with jazz and swing was the tonic I needed after the doldrums of the last year and a half. The songs we put together fell into place like puzzle pieces in a fuzzed up sonic soundscape,” says Harry Stafford.
Best known as founder, guitarist and vocalist of Manchester post-punk gothic rockers Inca Babies, Harry’s two most recent solo albums (‘Guitar Shaped Hammers’ and ‘Gothic Urban Blues’) reflect a cooler, less frenetic vibe, leaning on piano, trumpets and blues guitar. All this made him the perfect collaborator to set words and lyrics to Marco’s sonic backdrop.
Originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Marco Butcher now lives in Winston Salem, North Carolina. A prolific recording artist, he has recently released music with his various acts: The Jam Messengers, Chicken Snake, and The Jesus and The Groupies. Centred around the American underground of blues, jazz, rockabilly, and screaming punk blues, he has collaborated with Hugo Race, as well as members of Tex and the Horseheads, Pussy Galore, Gumball, The Gories, Gibson Brothers, Jerry Teel, The Oblivians and The Workdogs.
‘Bone Architecture’ is a collection of songs that is raw and, at times, an unforgiving forage into urban punk blues with fuzzed up jazz and garage trash rock. Here, Harry and Marco’s styles have clashed magnificently into a powerful record that crosses a multitude of genres but with a dirty blues makeover.
“There’s something about collaborating that is pure magic to me, cause you’re not sharing ideas at the same time and you’re in the moment. There’s something about the not knowing what the other will bring . . the surprise factor. The fact that music is very elastic and not always the way ya listen to it in your mind but something else, something cooler, greater,” says Marco Butcher.
“I guess mutual respect has a lot to do it too, sharing the same type of ideas about music and life… For a period of time, Inca Babies ‘This Train’ was my bandstand music when I was crossing a very dark and dangerous lifestyle, when I decided NOT to die. This album was the one I listened to the most.”
Marco’s tracks were recorded at his Boombox Studio in Winston Salem, then shipped by a well-known bulk file sender to Manchester, where Harry laid down vocals, piano and any instrumental tomfoolery he saw fit at Black Lagoon Records. On four occasions, the files also flew to London for supremo trumpet player Kevin Davy to lay some jazz tones into the mix. After the engineering, agonising, production and debates, they were finally mastered by Marco.
As of August 6, ‘There’s Someone Tryin To Get In’ will be available everywhere online, including Spotify and Apple Music. The ‘Bone Architecture’ LP will be released on September 3 via Black Lagoon Records, both digitally and on CD. CDs can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp and the Louder than War shop.
Harry Stafford – vocals, piano, guitar
Marco Butcher – drums, percussion, bass, sax, guitars, vibraphone
Kevin Davy – horns
Written by Harry Stafford and Marco Butcher
Produced and Mastered by Marco Butcher at Boombox Studio
Catalogue no. BLRCD0055