Artist Focus: Abel

If you savour house music with a pedigree, then you should follow this man’s music. Steve Butler has driven more motorway miles and DJed more club nights and festivals than is humanely possible, it seems. From honing his craft through initial nights in London back in the 80s to rubbing shoulders with pretty much all of House Music’s greats along his journey, Steve is now in a time and space to uplift the culture and pass forward his years’ of accrued wisdom. Abel, his outstanding house project, is contributing its forthcoming new album, ‘Cosmic Law’.

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Born and raised in London, Steve’s relationship with House Music was fostered through his catching the ‘collectors’ bug’. Then, through progressing to his first residency, Raid at Limelights in London’s West End. This was back in ‘88, but within two years, he’d soon be playing at an array of big-name nights including Back to Basics, Moneypennies, Ministry of Sound, Venus, Sanky Soap, Splendid, Full Circle, Arena and more. But as his name and unbounded energy had clearly ‘crushed it’ in the UK, he seized opportunities to take his talent overseas and went on to beguile crowds in Ibiza, France and Greece. Italy’s Milan, Turin, Verona and Rome were hot favourites, and he also extended his reach as far as Australia and the US. The early 90s saw crowds in Newcastle captivated by Steve’s sets at Shindig and Sugarshack before he moved to the city’s Choice. He’d then deliver a full season of Soul Heaven and Southport Weekender nights at Ibiza’s Pinup club where he’d play alongside a multitude of key players. Little Louie Vega, Kenny Dope Gonzalez, MAW, Kerri Chandler, Phil Asher, Timmy Regisford, Barbara Tucker and Byron Stingily were just some. Through a hugely successful ten years of Cool Note and a string of other residencies, Steve had the Newcastle scene locked down, and he’d subsequently take the Cool Note brand across the UK.

It was through his regular slots at the legendary Southport Weekender and its Croatian sister event, Suncebeat, where he’d ride out over 20 years of outstanding appearances. It’s also at Suncebeat where he’d meet Atjazz, his label manager and mentor. “His influence was pivotal in my transition to a deeper sound, which previously focused on a purely Soulful House vibe”, reminisced Steve.

As a producer, Steve began in 1992 with Future Vision, whose single ‘Release The Keys/Unlock The Dub’ was followed by a string of Denko releases. His production skills were shaped by working with Ann-Marie Smith, Lance Ellington, DJ Professor and The 49ers, as well as through collaborations with Jo Mills, Rich Thair and A New Funky Generation. 2017 saw the birth of Abel, Steve’s sophisticated, forward-thinking production ensemble, contributing the ‘Rough or Smooth’ LP through Atjazz Record Company that same year.

As Steve takes the Abel moniker to higher levels of songwriting and production, the new album, ‘Cosmic Law’, conveys Deep House and Latin energies and influences, complemented by superb live instrumentation and hugely talented vocalists. Add the production and musicianship capabilities of Atjazz, whose eponymous-named Atjazz Record Company provides a loving home and springboard to this amazing project, and the new album is here! ‘Cosmic Law’ can now be experienced through all leading streaming and download sites.

Photos by Ade Smilez