Electronic duo Botnek is a force to be reckoned with; their music is not made for song whispers nor string players. This is heavy electro with a twist of bounce and is sure to get you completely restless. Today EARMILK has the special privilege of providing our audience with a listen of Botnek's newest remix of Style of Eye's track, "Louder". Put this on repeat, repeat, repeat.
I got a hold of these two musicians, Gordan and Erick, before their recent performance in Vancouver to ask about their upcoming tour, new music, Montreal's culture, and more. The conversation that unfolded was short of spectacular as these two shared their dirty stories and memorable moments with me. Oh, and also check out the brand new "Grindhouse" video up on UKF!
EARMILK: First of all, you guys have just released a remix to coincide with this interview. Can you give this some context?
G: We have our new remix of Style of Eye's "Louder", which is out now on Beatport!
EM: Awesome! Botnek is also performing on Kill The Noise’s upcoming Majestic As Fuk Tour for essentially the whole month of November. What are you most looking forward to?
Gordan: Well we hung out with Jake in Vegas and I got to see the bus for the tour for the first time. It's good practice since when you have time off you focus on studio work, but when you're touring you can make really cool edits, find tracks that work well, and build a set.
G: I'm excited to hang out with Jake for a month because every time we see that guy we get into really philosophical conversations about the state of dance music. Jake is like a sponge for knowledge, he wants to learn everything.
Erick: That's what were going to be doing on tour with him since he has been in the scene for a long time. The bus is also really cool with a shower, bunks, full sized fridge, everything.
EM: Wait, so you guys have seen the bus for The Majestic As Fuk Tour?
G: Yeah, when I was in Vegas I visited their performance. I fucked up on my stage dive at The House of Blues since it was a really dark club.
E: We just did a bus tour, which reestablished our love for buses and never taking flights. It's going to be a whole month straight of being on a bus, we're super excited.
EM: This isn’t your first time touring with a big musician on a major trip, you also travelled with Steve Aoki in the past. What do you think is the biggest advantage with working with a popular musician while on the road?
G: Well the obvious point is that you get to play for crowds bigger than you usually would on your own and people get to learn about your music. Regarding Steve's Tour, we were only with him for 4-5 dates since he tried to bring so many artists with him. We played only the last few dates, but we got a lot of fans from that actually. I got to bro out with Waka Flacka, that was rad.
E: Did you hear he got arrested? He went through customs with a loaded handgun. *laughs*
EM: As a duo, do you find you two balance the work or find what each other is personally best at?
G: Erick does everything, I mostly just tan.
E: That's why he was in Vegas. I don't need to tan while I'm in Seattle.
G: We have very different work flows. Some tracks will be like 80% me and 20% Erick, occasionally vice versa. For DJ'ing we're always back to back. We learned together because we met before in a very small town so we were the only two dudes who had any interest in DJ'ing electronic music. The skill set is very much the same because we learned everything together by making tracks and demos all along the way.
E: That's why if anyone goes back into our discography they'll find ten million remixes and various things released, but you don't need to look for those.
EM: You two have put out a considerable amount of remixes for several artists, such as The Chainsmokers, Porter Robinson and Mat Zo. Do you notice any difference in attention that your remixes receive on Soundcloud compared with original productions?
G: When we do pop remixes they always go super viral.
E: The Chainsmokers remix was the right remix at the right time and everyone wanted to hear it.
G: I didn't even think it was going to do that well.
E: A week later after it came out it was number one.
G: We saw it go up to number four and at the time Hardwell, Martin Garrix, and some one else were the top 3. Then someone tweeted, "holy fuck! you guys are number 1" and we checked to see it number one overall on Beatport. And then we got drunk. It was number one on Beatport for two weeks! I know because my mom would text me every day telling me.
EM: I'm actually surprised you guys thought it wasn't going to do that well because it's one of my favourite remixes. I remember you two playing it at IleSoniq Festival this summer in Montreal.
G: That was probably one of my favourite shows we did all summer! The kids were super into our set. We didn't expect that many people to show up, but I've never seen so much energy in a crowd. We played anything we wanted.
E: Yeah, it was nice to be able to play the weirder stuff that we really enjoy playing. We don't always get to do that because some crowds don't really respond well to that music, but at IleSoniq we were playing some weird jams.
EM: Part of the reason you could play such a versatile set is because of Montreal's mentality. So you’re both from Halifax, Nova Scotia, but moved to Montreal. What drew you two to Montreal?
E: The French girls.
G: I always wanted to move to Montreal since I was young. The easiest way I can say it is that there was more of a music scene there. In Halifax we were the only producers, but when we got to Montreal there was so much more musicians in the scene. It was inspiring because there was so much more pressure, in order to get a gig was impossible. We had to push and learn to try harder to have our name out.
EM: How has the electronic music scene evolved and expanded in this city?
E: It's always been really big, but it spreads out over different kinds of electronic music. There's Piknic Electronik of course, which has been going on for quite a while.
G: Montreal's scene is very consistent and very supportive of artists that come from there.
EM: Do you think the bilingual aspect of Montreal advances or slows this cities culture?
G: It gives the city it's own flavour, without making it better or worse. It's just a part of the culture. The French artists stick more to the French crowd too though. You'll see advertisements for Francophone singers; it's a very self supporting community.
EM: Since you're both Canadian artists, do you notice a difference when you play Canadian cities as opposed to American cities or other cities in the world?
G: I think a lot of people don't associate us with our nationality because in America the response is always huge.
E: We play up our Canadian-ness on Twitter and Facebook, but in the end people are there to hear good music. If they like your music and they go to see you perform, the vibe will be good. We're playing tonight in Vancouver and I expect it to be awesome.
Series of Quick Questions.
EM: What is your proudest accomplishment as Botnek?
G: It would have to be getting the support of the people who inspired us originally. Just having the respect of your peers, I mean we got into this because we wanted to impress the musicians who inspired us and now it feels like we're fully connected to that world.
E: Yeah man, we met The Crystal Method last week! The first album I ever listened to was The Crystal Method's Vegas and that's what got me in to electronic music.
EM: Favourite collaboration you’ve been involved with?
G: We had a lot of fun working with 3LAU on "Vikings". Actually the Snails collaboration was pretty rad too, we made that in a couple of days. We always play it out and people love it so that's a success. Plus we love Fred, he's a little Botnek-like copy cat. *laughs*
EM: Last show attended, but did not perform at?
G: Well I'm going to Porter Robinson tomorrow in New York! I cannot wait to hear him live since I'm a huge fan of Worlds.
EM: Longest set ever played?
E: Pacha, New York. We DJ'ed for two hours and no one came and stopped us. We kept playing for nearly three hours until someone asked us if we were done? But nobody came next to set up.
G: The longest run ever in one day was in Waterloo, Ontario. We played three separate sets: one was a hour and a half opening set, another two hour headlining set, and then an after hours four hour set. The after hours set was probably the most fun because no one knew we were Botnek so we played what ever we wanted.
E: The cities outside of Toronto definitely know how to party. It's just collage towns and collage towns are wild. Like London Ontario for instance.
EM: After seeing you two perform this summer at IleSoniq, what was one of your highlights from that festival?
G: The second day Kill The Noise was playing and we hung out with him all day. Jake was really pumped and wanted to do an After party with Kill The Noise, Zeds Dead, and Torro Torro so I called the owner of Belmont. It was a really quite night and when we got to the club there was nine people there. So we all tweeted about the event and at the end of our set the venue was at capacity and there was a line around the block.
EM: Weapon of choice in post-apocalyptic world?
E: A Flashlight.
G: My USB key, it has a flashlight, swiss army knife, and pen attached.
E: And music! In case you have to play a DJ set in a zombie apocalypse.
EM: What type of milk do you two usually drink?
E: Chocolate milk!
G: I don't drink any milk man, milk is yucky. My mom wants me to drink more milk, but I don't like it at all.
EM: *Laughs* Well, thanks Gordan and Erick for taking the time to speak with me today. It's been an awesome interview and I can't wait to hear this mix.
You can see this energetic duo below as they take part in Kill The Noise's Majestic As Fuk Tour and embark on a thirty day road trip across all of America.
Oct 29 – Omaha, NE
Oct 30 – Iowa City, IA
Oct 31 – St Louis, MO
Nov 1 – Seattle, WA
Nov 3 – Urbana, IL
Nov 4 – Bloomington, IN
Nov 5 – Ann Arbor, MI
Nov 6 – Columbus, OH
Nov 7 – Cleveland, OH
Nov 8 – Rochester, NY
Nov 9 – Clifton Park, NY
Nov 11 – Buffalo, NY
Nov 14 – Las Vegas, NV
Nov 17 – Providence, RI
Nov 18 – New Haven, CT
Nov 19 – Boston, MA
Nov 20 – Washington, DC
Nov 21 – Philadelphia, PA
Nov 22 – Raleigh, NC
Nov 23 – Asheville
Nov 24 – Chattanooga, TN
Nov 25 – Nashville, TN
Nov 26 – Knoxville, TN
Nov 28 – Birmingham, AL
Nov 29 – Atlanta, GA