Jez Butler: biography

The Twelve Hour Foundation duo performing o synthesizers with video backdrop at South Street, Reading

Born in Grimsby in 1965, Jez Butler grew up in Cleethorpes, N.E Lincolnshire. He has lived in Bristol since 1984.

1982 – 1984: sixth form experiments

Having acquired a Sequential Circuits Pro One synth (with help and encouragement from his father), Jez formed his first, bedroom band Invisible Lines of Tension with friend Dave Wright. An eclectic mix of influences included avant-garde electronica, post-punk ‘agit pop’…and funk.

1988 – 1999: The Groove Farm and beyond

Following a stint in a college band, Jez joined the Groove Farm on drums in September 1988. The next two years were spent playing around the UK, and releasing a few EPs and an album Plug which became a John Peel favourite.

The band split in 1990, paving the way for Beatnik Filmstars and Girlboy Girl. He played with both bands before joining Cake, with friends Howard and Deb (ex-Flatmates).

Jez now decided to plough his own musical furrow, recording three incidental-music-inspired tracks as Vision On, aided by finger style-guitarist Karl Taylor and The Groove Farm’s Rupert on bass. The project was shelved while he added drums and organ to ex-Sarah Records outfit Tramway, recording Madrid-based Siesta Records’ first single  and a subsequent album. He also teamed up with a couple of ex-Groove Farmers and The Beatniks’ John Austin to form Airbomb Repeater, a surf instrumental band.

Eventually, the Vision On ep – Who’s Afraid of DeWolfe – came out on Mobstar Records in 1995. Japanese musician/producer Cornelius imported around two hundred copies and, by proxy, introduced Jez to Mike Alway who promptly licensed the Vision On tracks, including one (albeit credited to Tomorrow’s World) on his seminal Songs for the Jet Set album.

Jez continued to record for Mike, contributing the odd track here and there to albums released on the if…, èl and Reverie labels, involving a vocal session with French chef-cum-sports-commentator Louis Philippe.

2000 – 2011: if…, Reverie and The Sound of Chartreuse

The beginning of the new millennium saw Jez form a production duo with John Austin. In January 2000, they created their first full length album: Songs For the Jet Set 2000, with contributions from Milky’s Shazna, Angie Tillett (Death By Chocolate) and ’70s teen idol and soundtrack composer Simon Turner.

Since then, Jez has written, recorded and produced under various names and with numerous collaborators. See all recordings to date.

2011 onwards

Boum Studio

Having worked at the University of Bristol for 23 years – the latter half as a web trainer and consultant – Jez decided to go solo, mixing music and web design interests. Boum Studio took  off in August 2011 with the recording of a 24-track double album by singer and  author Peter Hawkins. Various  solo artists’ projects followed, ranging from the recording and arranging of  individual tracks, to full CD production, including mastering and artwork .

In May 2012, Jez took part in a  Bristol schools film project, coaching and supervising groups of children in writing, arranging and recording a soundtrack.  The premiere took place at Bristol’s Orpheus Cinema, the following month.

The Twelve Hour Foundation and production music

The Twelve Hour FoundationDespite having written and produced many albums, Jez had never released a bona fide solo project. In 2013 – inspired by a walk at Brean Down – he decided to record an instrumental album inspired by the work of John Baker, a pioneering composer employed by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop during the ’60s and ’70s.

The Lighter Side of Concrete was released in October 2013.  Intended purely as a studio project, there were requests for live performances.  Jez’s partner Polly, who had assisted in various ways with the album, agreed to join him to form The Twelve Hour Foundation who delivered their first live performance in December 2013.

In addition to his work with the band, Jez has recorded jingles, themes and incidental music for film, television, promotional videos, theatre, radio, and music libraries. For more information, see recordings to date.