Botnek talks new EP ‘Connecting?’ [Interview]
Canadian electro duo Botnek is known for their high energy music and tongue-in-cheek artist persona — a combination which catapulted their scathing remix of The Chainsmokers’ viral hit “Selfie” to popularity levels close to the original track’s and inspired “Clickbait,” the first single off their forthcoming EP Connecting?
“Clickbait” was announced on April Fool’s Day via a message with the click-baity subject line “Donald Trump Threatens Canadian DJs Botnek With Deportation Over Crazy Statement,” and no actual content in the announcement itself. The single is a commentary on the single-driven, quickly consumed nature of dance music in its current state, and an admission of Botnek’s own participation in it. Furthermore, Connecting? is Botnek’s first foray into creating an EP as a musical concept which is greater than the sum of its parts, rather than a compilation of disjointed works.
“Clickbait” is a meme, and Botnek is in on the joke. The EP, however, is a sober observation: Connecting? is Botnek’s assessment of the relationship between our societal dependence on technology, and how it has affected the state of electronic music today. We sat down with Botnek to learn more about the EP and their plans for the future.
Why did you choose to introduce your EP in this way?
Clickbait articles flood our social media feeds these days. We hate them, but decided to have fun using their formula (flashy image + headline combo) when releasing our own track on April Fools day, effectively pointing out exactly what we’re all falling for. Trust me, our EP is not at all about these kinds of gimmicks, we just thought it’d be a funny way to grab your attention and curiosity so we could start the bigger conversation about the EP.
What is this EP concept and why is it important to you?
The concept came to us as we were finalizing the instrumentals to these records and realized that none of the songs were really about anything. I mean, that describes instrumental dance music in general, including some of our past releases. We decided to stop continuing that and ask ourselves what story we wanted the music to start.
As a bedroom producer, I spend a lot of time behind screens, and that got me thinking about how I connect with people in 2016 — my friends, other DJs, our fans — everyone. There’s never a situation where I’m not without my phone, and that means I’m within arms reach to the rest of the world. Is that distracting me, or helping me staying more connected? I think that answer changes a lot for me, and I bet other people feel this way too. That’s why we decided to title our EP: Connecting?
How has technology affected your relationships with your fans? Has it helped or has it been difficult to separate energy devoted to self-promotion from creative energy?
Things like twitter and snapchat are great because I get to interact with a fan. It’s crazy and awesome that nowadays there can be no barriers between an artist and their fans. So in that regard it’s incredible, but on the other side, it’s almost like too much to take in at times. For me, that phone buzzing in the studio couldn’t be more distracting. It’s a total interruption to my creative energy. So, always being connected can be too much. I fantasize about going “off the grid” — no internet, no cell phone, and just getting back to making music without thinking about live snapping the whole process!
Has connecting with your friends become easier or more difficult with the pervasiveness of technology? When do you feel the most connected to those around you?
I’m the guy at the bar checking Instagram when waiting for friends . It’s definitely harder for me to keep fully engaged when my phones sitting inches from my hands. But I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. There’s a lot of scenarios that have gotten easier thanks to the internet and smart phones. I just watched an episode of Seinfeld and laughed thinking that their entire problem could’ve been resolved by Jerry just texting Kramer.
This EP concept addresses implications of the pervasiveness of technology, which no one yet knows the answer to. What other questions about the world we live in have influenced you as an artist?
That’s a good question. I really wanna know why reeses cups are so damn delicious.
But in all seriousness, that’s the point of us doing this EP. We’re starting a conversation with ourselves, you, our friends, and fans. Hopefully we figure out a thing or two by the time it all comes out!