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We Need More Artists Like Botnek [A Different Kind of an Interview]

Photo Credit: www.billboard.com

Photo Credit: www.billboard.com

When I was in Las Vegas the other week for EDC, I got the opportunity to interview Botnek. Usually how these artist interviews go is like this: I come into some back trailer, ask 5-10 publicist suggested or reviewed questions, take a picture and then leave. So when I was invited to a bar in Caesars Palace to have a happy hour get together with the duo, I was excited. That being said I should have anticipated my experience with Botnek to be a little different considering their music is well, constantly evolving into something at the very least, a little different than the usual. So I learned a few key points about life, the industry, what is coming next for the Canadians and overall, that we all need to be a little more like Botnek.

The Arrival

Upon arriving to the underwater themed lounge, I think to myself that this is what the setting of Bioshock looked like before it went all dark and magical and such. I then promptly proceed to make an ass out of myself by scooting up close to a guy, who I assumed was on Botnek’s media team to ask if they were doing a private interview or just casually chatting at the moment. That guy, I came to realize like 45 minutes later was actually Pierce Fulton. If you are reading this Pierce, I am sorry, I like your music, you were pleasant and smelled good. So once who I would come to find out was Pierce let me know that it was just informal conversation, I scooted away from him and over to Eric and Gordon. I introduced myself and had that fun moment with Eric that you have with people when you find out you in fact have the same name. So that was a small victory. BOOM, ice broken, things were going well.

pierce

Over the next hour or so, myself, Eric and Gordon, and two guys from the Carolina’s just casually chatted. We shared stories about life and the industry and I found out seemingly everyone from Canada knows each other. Since this was not a formal Q&A format I thought I would break down this article into a few different sections based on what we discussed.

Stories about Other DJ’s

So to start with the idea that all DJ’s from Canada know each other, Eric was talking about Snails and his incredible ability to party at an ancient roman level of hedonism. That is when it clicked for me that I know a few guys on the Kannibalen team, which is based out of Montreal. So I brought up Black Tiger Sex Machine. As it turns out BTSM and Botnek have some history that might surprise you. A few years ago when both of the groups were in their infancy of international success, Marc Andre Chagnon from BTSM actually interviewed Botnek on Montreal’s public access television. The entire experience sounds like it was pretty bizarre and overall a little weird, but it begs the question of why doesn’t American public access TV have this level of savagery. I get it PBS, you’re educational but like there are only so many Holocaust Documentaries I can watch before starting to enter a dark, dark place. Why can’t we have Dillon Francis interview Porter Robinson?

At some point in the conversation, Madeon came up. I think it is safe to say that anyone who is familiar with his music knows that the young Frenchman is a prodigy with sound design. Well as it turns out Madeon is better at anything you value in your life as well. Madeon not only is a musical savant but an extremely skilled magician. I am happy magic got brought up in the conversation, so we were able to throw some shade at Criss Angel. I really do not like Criss Angel and I was happy to hear Botnek agreed with my negative sentiments. I digress though. Madeon is a magician. When the topic first came up I was a bit skeptical…but no like he is actually a magician. When he was only 15, he had sold tricks to incredible famous magicians. Of course, NDA’s got in the way of Botnek finding out exactly who he sold tricks too, but none the less, Madeon was at the level of professional magician at age 15. I was still smoking weed out of tinfoil and trying to get my older brother to buy me beer at 15. Madeon also apparently is a master at writing code. He apparently could not find a game he wanted on the app store, so he just created it himself from memory, so he could play whenever he wanted.

Personal Stories from On Tour

A lot of us have this image of what it is like to be a touring DJ. Living the life of luxury, traveling to exotic locations, and of course raking in the big bucks. That being said, while that might be the experience of the superstar 1% of the DJ community the rest, it is nothing really even close to that. Botnek helped me understand just how ridiculous things could get on tour when you are just getting by while doing what you love.

Eric at one point had to take a greyhound bus from one stop to another, and in the process met some incredibly colorful characters. The focus of the story was a gentlemen he was sitting next to for the trip. This man had just recently been released from state prison and was taking the bus home. Eric ended up drinking a bottle of whiskey with him while getting the grim details of life locked up and was able to get a few key pieces of knowledge out of the man without getting stabbed. I want to say he was locked up for murder, but I honestly cannot remember if that was fact or something we joked about.

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Another lovely story again took place in Montreal. They had just played a show and were going out to one of the town’s notoriously liberal strip clubs with Snails. This was his first visit to a full nude bar and Botnek made sure to make it as memorable as possible. I won’t go into the graphic details but it sounds like that is for sure a night that neither they nor Snails will soon forget.

Music

Of course we also talked about music. Botnek is one of the leaders in sound design experimentation at the moment. They are consistently coming out with original tracks as well as remixes that are pushing the scene forward. They have been featuring a ton of previews on their Soundcloud, including ‘Losing My Mind’. This track is a departure from their usual hard electro drops. It blends bass, electro, future and garage elements all into one big old orgie of excellence.

So I was curious exactly where their motivation came from to produce the kind of music they do. One word continually kept coming up with Gordon…Distortion. He painted a clear picture of him sitting alone in a dark room, with only the light of the computer illuminating his face. The gnarliest, most aggressive music pumping out of the speakers, but his face is calm. If not a touch bored. He is slowly tweaking pieces of the track and adding more distortion here or there to finally achieve the sound he has so patiently been waiting for. Ed Banger’s SebastiAn was discussed as a sort of distortion role model. There were some seriously clear similarities.

That is what was so cool about this conversation with Botnek, I could see two common day dudes. Two guys who I could sit and have a metaphorical beer with (as I do not drink) and just discuss our common interest…music. I could feel the energy they put into their work, and understood how much they love doing what they do. It is not for the money, it is for trying to create something that at the end of the day they can be proud of, and of course watch other people lose their minds too.

Botnek played their set out at the 7-Up Stage at EDC up against Above & Beyond, Excision, and Axwell /\ Ingrosso. So easily like the most insane contenders in the business in their respective genres. I stopped by Stage 7 for a bit before heading on to Above & Beyond and saw a sizable crowd losing their minds to some insanely forward thinking music. It was a cool moment in my trip where I realized that these were just everyday guys, killing the game. Maybe not in terms of money or super stardom, but entirely in terms of happiness and originality. We need more artists like Botnek, artists who are down to earth in every way possible except in their ability to raise to the bar. As when this happens all of dance music benefits.

We also talked about how old press photos can absolutely haunt you as google images never forgets. So I took the liberty of finding this gem.

botnek

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