What is a friend? To me it is someone who will stay with you no matter what you’re going through, who will share your happiness when you’re successful and will go through tough times with you, shoulder to shoulder. I have met many musicians since I’ve started this blog, but not a lot of them I could call friends. Botany Bay are definitely friends, ever since our first conversation we’ve kept in touch, shared ideas and even worked on some projects together. After releasing an EP last year, which some critics (including your truly) loved but some others met with inexplicable and unnecessary negativity Botany Bay disappeared from the radar, bringing lots of sadness and discouragement to my heart (y’know, – if they’re giving up, why should I bother, – that kind of thing). But then this summer they suddenly came back with a bang of a single and, as it turned out, tons of new and exciting ideas. We talked about all of this with band’s founder Stephan Kleinert.
tipkin – Hello! It was very nice to hear from you after such a long silence. Is Botany Bay back?
Stephan Kleinert – Yep, definitely. We were never gone completely, but it’s been a tough year, especially for me (see next question)…
t. – The last EP received some mixed reviews. Was the negativity for the critics the main reason for your hiatus or just general lack of interest? Have you learned anything from the experience?
S.K. – For the last EP, we had, for the first time ever, a promoter… who really was a nice guy, very sharp, cooperative, sympathetic and helpful. Unfortunately, he pitched us mainly in the Gothic/Dark Wave scene, because that’s where he is rooted… and that provoked the wrong guy to do the wrong thing for the wrong reason. But I don’t really see that as “negative critics” – I see just one sorry lad with inferiority issues who scorched us for not playing his kind of music.
But I won’t deny the fact that 2011 was a tough year for me. My parents both got critically ill, my day job turned from bad to worse, and my own health also took a complete downward plunge in the process. Luckily, all that has changed in the meantime. So, anyway, the main reason for the hiatus was, well, it just was all too much.
Did we learn something from the experience? Well, maybe we’ll add one or two verses to the live version of “How Much Can You Take” 😉 And no more promotions in places where we don’t belong.
t. – New single is awesome! Who came up with idea to make a video for it?
S.K. – Thank you Actually, that was me. As you might have noticed, we have a new line-up, and in the past few months, Botany Bay has turned into a real band, rather than a studio project with guest musicians. We’re very happy with this change, because it brings a whole new dynamic to our performance, and I wanted to show that. So the video shows Steffi [Stefanie Mühr] and me back in town, but it also shows our new permanent additions, Felix Klöckner (bass) and Marius Beylebens (guitars) making a big contribution to our music, and, perhaps most important of all, it shows us as a band enjoying playing their music. Which is what we are. So, in a sense, of all our videos, it’s the most honest to date.
t. – From our recent conversation I know that you are in the process of working on something different and very intriguing. Can you shed some light on your current project?
S.K. – Well, firstly we’re currently rehearsing in order to be fit for doing some gigs in the autumn and winter of 2012. Which was long overdue.
And secondly, we’re working on a new album along the way. Yep, a real, full-featured album, this time for real. And it’s definitely going to be a departure from what we did before.
Some time after all the 2011 shit was finally past, we realized that we really have nothing to lose. The PR was a non-starter, recognition is as low as always… so why bother trying to be everything to everyone when instead we can just do what we love to do? With No Excuse, we had somewhat neglected the more eclectic, imaginative and cinematic side of our music – and we’re going to explore those areas in-depth again. It’s really like finding ourselves again. We’re going to simply f*cking do what we really want to do. Obviously I don’t want to spoil the surprise here, especially since it’s going to take a long time until recording’s finished. All I can say is that we really have a beautiful concept and we’re getting lots and lots of energy out of it.
t. – Anything else you’d like to share?
S.K. – Oh yes: We’d like to express our deepest and heartfelt gratitude to all our fans who stayed with us over the years, as well as to all the new fans discovering our music and encouraging us to go on. It’s really great to have you!
Same to you, Botany Bay! After this interview took place I found out that Stephan’s father’s health has gotten worse. But here’s why they are true artists and my friends – instead of shutting down again, they responded with this beautiful song, dedicated to him. Let’s listen and hope that everything will be alright. Stay strong, Meine Freunde!