Once upon a time in a world that seems far, far away, the EDM community would gather together in the name of dance and with the spirit of peace, love, unity and respect around the world. The pandemic started as an inconvenience for ticket holders and artists ready to perform on the big stages, until the seriousness and dangerous ramifications became a reality. Wet Electric is one of the many iconic festivals that Relentless Beats puts on in the state of Arizona, but 2020 was postponed for safety of everyone involved.

The creative alternatives that became the new normal continues to bring the music to the masses. Botnek (Gordon and Erick) was ready to take the stage at Wet Electric, but with the uncertainty of what the future holds, what better time to sit down with the duo to get into what they are all about and how they are artists that integrate their unique tastes, styles, and technical expertise into some of the most versatile and loved music across the world.


Before Botnek was born, what was going on in your individual paths in the world of music?

Gordon: Botnek was born not long after I met Erick, back in 2008… 2009? Around then.  I came from being in bands, and being interested in a bunch of styles, but at the time I was just getting the heavy stuff like Justice, MSTRKRFT, Bloody Beetroots, etc. but also the disco house/funk sound of Chromeo and Treasure Fingers. And come to think of it, I was also still a little obsessed with Italo Disco around then too.

Erick: I was going to school for music production at the local community college when I met Gordon. I was trying to find ways to make a living in the music industry, whether it be in studio work, gaming, film; really anything as I didn’t really believe that I could make a living being a musician alone. I was a super IDM kid, listening to like.. Richard Devine and Telefon Tel Aviv and then supplementing that with guys like Sasha and Digweed and Hybrid. the big breaks music of the late 90’s-mid 00’s. It was really nice to break out of my comfort zone and use what I had learned trying to emulate groups like Hybrid or Telefon Tel Aviv but in something else that was super exciting. Going out to shows with G was the first time I had actually listened to electronic music out of the comfort of my bedroom and classroom.


How has your friendship influenced the music you create?

G: A lot actually.  Our friendship really started as just two guys who were into Ableton.  In our hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia, back then Ableton was on version 4 or 5, and there weren’t millions of YouTube tutorials. You basically had the Ableton manual, and a few online forums with scant information. We became friends over trying to learn how to use Ableton properly basically.

E: Def a lot! We were always excited to show each other what we had learned or new music that we had heard. It’s really a relationship of sharing both inspiration and knowledge. When we’re sharing these two things,  the music demonstrated that fun playful nature that was in the air. Botnek for me was an escape from what my life was at the time. It was enjoyable to not be so mindful about my deeeeeeeepest feelings. I just wanted to have fun!

You have hit a number of milestones in your career that so many producers aim for: international tours, signing with Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak, collaborations with EDM powerhouses like Zedd and 3lau and creating your own independent label, World Famous Headquarters.  What drives the decisions to pivot into different avenues of the music world (like your monthly radio show on Insomniac Radio)?

G: Well thank you! We’re often so obsessed with our next goals that, at least I, tend to underplay our past accomplishments. I remember our first goal was to have any DJ support our music. We used to go out to rap and top 40 dance parties in Halifax and give out burned CD-R’s to club owners and local DJs, and a few started playing our crappy demos at their nights. Man, at the time that felt like we had officially made it.  But that only took a few months, so then it was like, let’s get supported by international DJs! So our goals have always just always been the next step ahead. I will say there was a point about 4 or 5 years ago, I was flying home after a gig, or to another gig, and I was realizing that we had achieved everything we set out to do.  Get DJ support, be respected in that community, get signed to labels, quit our day jobs and play on big stages. There was no plan after that.  And that’s when we were like “Fuck it, let’s start a label!”  So everything really comes from the inevitable dissatisfaction after achieving the thing we JUST achieved I guess.

E: What G said. The goal post has always shifted towards something else that we thought was impossible for us to achieve. I can say with certainty that we have no plan until we are excited about something. Whatever our inspiration is at the time is where the boat goes.

Was there a moment over the 12 years of your friendship where you realized that you were going to be making a career out of making music together?

G: We were never that confident. It was always our dream from the beginning, but we never personally knew anyone that was in the music industry, and in our modest hometown we weren’t really encouraged to even try, since no one we knew was remotely even involved in music. It’s not like you can go onto the jobs section of the local classifieds and look under the “touring DJ” category!

E: Yeah there was never confidence in this being career for us. I can’t say I ever had a moment of like “wow this is forever.” I have had many moments where I realized I simply could not go back to a normal day job similar to what I was doing for a number of years before and during Botnek.


What was the most unique or memorable show you have ever played?

G: Every time we get asked a “most ___ of all time” question my brain nearly supernova’s.  Too many to begin to remember.  The time I crowd surfed and someone pulled my pants down and suddenly Im naked. The time we still made a flight even when we arrived at the airport 4 minutes before it was departing. The time we DJ’d in a tropical storm holding garbage bags over our heads. The time Steve Aoki caked me and it took days to wash that shit out of my hair. The time we almost never returned from South America. And that’s just what immediately comes to mind.  

I think the first “HOLY SHIT” moment was TomorrowLand. We had watched the streams and YouTube of so so so many of those sets, and then we were playing at like 2:30pm one year, and we had never seen a crowd like that in our lives. Easily 20 times bigger than any crowd we’d played to up until then. And I think it was also one of the first times using CD-J’s in our lives?  Equally stressful and exhilarating. Ya, that was a fun day.  

E: Yeah we always blank when put on the spot for this one. I also have to say Tomorrowland. We got a picture with friggin Carl Cox, met Sebastian Ingrosso, and played our biggest show. Seeing all these mega huge electronic music acts in the artist area all the while having this incessant voice in my head saying: “Why are you here?” There might have been an unhealthy amount of imposter syndrome continuing to plague (my) our mindsets haha. But it was a mind-boggling, amazing experience that I will cherish and attempt to remember during hard times.


What is something you love to hear from your fans?

G: I love it when they ask us to play our remix of “Selfie” from 6 years ago. No, actually, recently I’ve heard a couple fans say they “used to love us when they loved EDM” and then “your new sound has introduced us to House and Tech House and now we love that.”  I feel like the only artist that had this effect on me is Radiohead. I used to love their brit pop albums when I was a kid, and then their album KID A introduced me to IDM and ambient music when I was a teenager, and then that was all I wanted to listen to. It’s super cool to feel like you introduced someone to a whole genre of music they didn’t even realize they would love.

E: Literally anything positive makes me blush. Knowing our music has been a part of someones life in some way shape or form is what makes it feel special. I know there are a lot of musicians who make music “for themselves.” (Or I’ve read in other interviews) I can’t say I’m one of those people. I make music in an attempt to connect with people and knowing that something I was part of has connected with someone makes it all worth it.


Anything you want to say to your fans in the world?

G: As always thank you thank you thank you for the support. We’re so grateful, and always have lots we’re working on, so expect new WFHQ label releases coming this summer, some really really good ones actually. Up next for us is a single called “Ladybug”, which is a collab with GIANT, that just dropped May 15 on our label.  No shows for now, but the radio show has the latest and greatest that we’re into.  

E: Seriously. Thank you. Let us know what you’re thinking of the new music. Good/bad/sad whatever it is. I hope everyone is taking care of themselves and their loved ones the best they can! <3 Erick

Check out Botnek’s collab with GIANT that just dropped on May 15



More Botnek below
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