Yo! It is with pure pleasure that I bring to you this Botanika Presented! article. This growing Bass label and Dj Crew from Tel Aviv is responsible for some serious rattling vibrations in Israel and beyond. It was on the old Mad Decent blog that I first learned about NDV with the phenomenal track Scorchio off his Southbridge EP (track still up for grabs on MD here). Since then I’ve been on the hunt for more cool tracks from Nadav (NDV) which led me to discover of the label he runs with Amir Egozy. Botanika music direction is something to admire. Intelligent electronic dance music at its finest, it has strong roots in Electronica and visionary grasp on the future of sound. From the funky world bass of NDV and the heavy atmospheric basscapes of Bunny on Acid, to the genre-defying music of Sabbo and the unlimited steppers of Kalbata, Botanika thrives for quality and coherence of sound. Botanika’s roaster also includes Onili, Cohen, Markey Funk, and Lady Moon.
In this post you will find an interview I did with NDV and Egozy, a bunch of their releases, a selection of exclusive tracks for our loyal GB family and links to more Botanika goodness. I highly recommend that you read through the interview as it gives a nice look inside the Botanika crew, bass music and dubstep in Israel, and upcoming works by the label.
GB: When and how did botanika come about?
NDV: we started collaborating as long ago as 2000 – I had a midweek club night, called SheLeG, and Egozy was one of the regular guests. Later on we started collaborating formally at a short running club called Sofabeat.
EGZ: When Sofabeat closed around Summer 2004, we wanted to continue this loosely-genred/quality-based musical partnership, and came up with the Botanika concept, as a headline for our open-minded/forward-looking musical agenda, sometime in 2005, and begun airing our Botanika FM radioshow on 106FM. We then started doing parties ourselves, as well as joint DJ sets under the Botanika name in various other situations (like DJiing alongside Diplo in his 3 visits to Israel between 2005 and 2008), in a time which also coincided with the early waves of dubstep and the rise of all sorts of musical mutations with strong bass elements, though both of us also kept doing individual DJ gigs covering an even wider musical spectrum (Nadav has been doing the KZ-radio radioshow for many years, while I’m also the resident and musical manager of the Shesek lounge, now past it’s 10 year mark).
In 2008 we begun doing concrete steps into turning Botanika into a label, which was an idea we’ve been kicking around for a long while, and our first release was out in March 2009.
GB: Who are the core members and what do they do?
NDV: The core of Botanika is Amir Egozy and myself. We DJ as Botanika, we do the A&R for the label, we share the administrative nitty gritty, and the limited PR duties.. I also release music on the label as half of Polar Pair and as NDV.
We also have a third member, the wonderful graphic supervisor, Idit Frenkel. Except for giving us the good looks, she’s also a super house&disco DJ, and operating a popular blog in Hebrew dedicated to quality house music, tapud.co.il.
GB: What’s your musical background? what are some musical genres you were producing in the past?
EGZ – Other than being a big music fan all of my life, I have no formal music background whatsoever, and I don’t produce music either. 100% DJ.
NDV – I’m coming from a rather diverse background. I was a kid in the 80’s, and fell in love with electronic music, and got into synthesizers and drum machines as a teenager. I served my obligatory army service at the army radio station, where I opened up to much more music – rock, indie, pop, jazz, soul & funk..
As a producer I hate making the same thing again, and hate leaving out most of the music I like, so I made tracks that range from house to hip hop to dubstep to disco and various other genre hybrids.
GB: Do you release any physical copies of your music?
EGZ – Our first 4 releases were vinyl and digital, but it was quite hard to keep up on a long distance relationship with the distribution and shops, and the huge expenses forced us to quit for the time being, though it’s something we’re considering coming back to. We just need to find the right settings.
GB: Israelis love their trance and house fast and explosive, how is bass music received in the culture?
NDV: I think that the trance and hard house is no longer the dominant sound here. It’s a bit of a dated stereotype.. A club like The Block was very influential in pushing the nostalgic soulful house agenda, and many Israeli producers (Guy Gerber, Chaim) are very successful globally with a deeper techno-house sound.
As for Bass music, obviously, the harder end is very popular with the kids, but that’s not different to other worldwide scenes I guess..
GB: Give us the scoop on Dubstep is israel, is it catching up ? The few Israeli dubstep artists that I know, such as BORGORE and Shekel, make extremely heavy tracks, are they gaining any popularity in Israel?
EGZ: Borgore is very popular because of his unique and quite hardcore music, becoming a sort of local hero for the younger generation, and in a certain sense he has crossed dubstep elements into a crowd that comes from backgrounds ranging from punk and heavy metal through hip-hop and dubstep. But there are many other dubstep DJs and producers in Israel, most of them playing a range which goes beyond the genre itself, depends on who and where. Some have a more hip hop background, others connect it to more electro stuff, while a guy like Kalbata, probably the first Israeli making dubstep related material to gain recognition outside of Israel (Ninja We Ninja etc’), comes from an Electro-Breaks-UK Garage-Dancehall background (as in the UK soundsystem culture lineage).
A few years ago there were maybe 2-3 crews doing dubstep events, and now it’s way beyond that. You get nights which go to the heavier-wobble-distortion side, while others connect it with deeper beats, hip hop, UK funky, post-dubstep and the likes, and sometimes you get the whole range on one night. Probably even the guys most associated with a certain vibe here are still relatively quite open-minded and varied in their selection, as it’s such a small place after all, so the different sub-scenes cross paths and influences with the others frequently.
GB: What’s in store for the rest of 2011? What are some upcoming releases?
NDV: We’re currently brewing a few new releases for early 2012, as 2011 was quite busy for us.. we’re gonna do a couple of beats-related releases and also expand on the 130-ish bpm-bass side of our spectrum..
Here are the goods, check out the most recent releases by the label starting with the latest one by Cohen. You can find the rest of the releases’ notes on the soundcloud page of each one. To get lost in the sound of Botanika, click on the thumbler link to auto-stream on random. You will find it next to the facebook icon on the top right corner of this site.
DJ Egozy has a weekly radio show called Botanika FM on Kol Hakampus in Israel that streams online and is archived on their site. It is always a showcase of recent tunes and a blend of styles such as electro/house/techno/bass/reggae/dub/2step and you name it. Here’s the most recent recording: http://www.botanika.co.il/Music/BFM_29092011_256.mp3 // check out the blog for the archives http://www.botanika.co.il/author/egozy/
“After our recent Bunny on Acid & NDV bass-related releases, we’re taking a small turn back to the beats. We’re happy to welcome into the Botanika roster the talented Michael Cohen, with his debut solo release (and our 12th), consisting of two slices of infectious instrumental hip-hop…”
“Rounding off a triplet of releases for Botanika, Jerusalem’s Bunny on Acid delivers us a 3-track EP of his most sensual and heartfelt statements so far. Kicking off with the claps-based rhythmatism of the A Scratch on the Heart title track, a deep and bouncy affair that will keep any dancefloor hypnotized, the EP delves into even deeper musical territories, bringing to the fore strong sentiments of longing and heartbreak…”
“Algoriddmic is NDV’s third solo EP on Botanika, the follow up to his previous EP, Logariddmic. These two EP’s were conceived around the alchemy of bass-heavy synthesized sounds with Afro and Latin beats; of western scientific formulas with the voodoo of tribal beats. But the results go way beyond any experimental lab-fare…”
“Oxygen is Bunny On Acid’s second release on Botanika and in many ways, it’s a sequel to 2010’s Snow. The title track is an intense drum machine workout, fusing a driving sub-bass melody with a pad that sounds like polluted air wafting through a dystopian metropolis…”
“NDV (Nadav Ravid), half of Polar Pair and half of the Botanika label/DJ crew, is starting 2011 with a bang.
The flood of releases includes two remixes for Maddslinky and Tawiah’s torch song, Further Away, one by Polar Pair and another as an NDV solo affair…”
“Bunny On Acid (Izik Finley) is a 25 years old DJ/Producer from Jerusalem. He started his musical path at the age of 15, playing bass guitar in several local acts, and later stinting as a computer games music producer. Though he was already playing around with a bit of D’n’B productions for a while, it was only a after a revelatory visit to DMZ at Brixton’s Mass, that Izik created the Bunny On Acid moniker, influenced by the dubstep movement and the FlyLo-like fringes of the hip-hop world…”
“Bass lovers better pay attention, as the 4th release on Tel-Aviv’s young Botanika label is one hell of a double smasher. On the A-side, Oh Gosh is an instant classic, dripping late night soul sentiments into the 2-step-garage/dubstep continuum, backed by a mean bassline rumbling beneath it. The short vocal samples come courtesy of Tel-Aviv’s pop-tastic songstress Onili…”
Kalbata – Oh Gosh by Botanika
“South Bridge is a big, shiny scaffold, connecting the southern hemisphere continents, namely Africa and South America, with an imaginary spot in London. It’s linking the London heritage of heavy bass, broken beats & UK funky with Afro-Latin rhythms and percussion – from afro-techno beats to acidic cumbia…”
This feature won’t be complete without some giveaways. The tracks we have chosen will cause sweet tingles in your ear and a warm feeling in your (scratched) heart! For DJing or home-listening, these tracks perfectly reflect the flavorful and satisfying Electronic sound of Botanika!
NDV – Night&Day // BALUT010 – NDV – Algoriddmic 16/May/2011 // 320kbps
Bunny on Acid – Scratch on the heart // BALUT011- Bunny on Acid – A Scratch on the Heart 30/May/2011 // 320kbps
Link to our bandcamp: