Botany Bay’s music constitues a mix of world music, electronica and alternative pop and rock, augmented with classical arrangements, jazz-influenced experiments and often interspersed with a melancholic mood.
Botany Bay was formed in 1996 by Stephan Kleinert, then member and producer of the experimental rock/pop collective Ubik Paint.
From 2006 to 2009, Botany Bay consisted mainly of Stephan Kleinert (instruments, programming) and Laura Dietrich (lead vocals, keyboards), aided by an ever-changing cast of guest musicians.
In June 2007, Laura and Stephan finished recording the second album “Grounded”, which they had recorded in a period of over four years and with the help of numerous guest musicians. Although “Grounded” doesn’t tell a continuous story, it is a concept album in the sense that all tracks are connected to each other thematically and/or musically.
The all-acoustic live premiere of “Grounded” took place at the “Kulturfenster” in Heidelberg in October 2007. Since the release of “Grounded” under a creative commons licence, Botany Bay regularly occupy top ranks in german internet charts such as podparade, starfrosch and free music charts, as well as being played in numerous podcasts. However, “traditional” media have ignored Botany Bay up to now.
After the release of “Grounded”, the new tracks “Voices”, “Inhale” and “The Real World” were made available on the internet via the band’s homepage and last.fm, with “Voices” being a major hit on the french free music podcast au bout du fil.
Also in 2007, Botany Bay’s first album, “Tales Of The Bitter Seed” (originally released in June 1997 with singer Katrin Schmidt), was made available as free download on the internet.
Although originally conceived as a studio only project, 2009 saw Botany Bay, aided by guitarist Wolfgang Springob, touring the Cologne-Bonn-Aachen area, drawing bigger and bigger audiences. A new EP, “I’ll send a postcard when I’m there”, containing the post-“Grounded” singles and material from the forthcoming new album, was also released.
Shortly after Botany Bay’s touring activities peaked at the Blue Shell in Cologne in December 2009 (where Botany Bay played to an audience of over 300, to standing ovations), the band announced on their homepage and band blog that Laura had left the project due to personal differences. The programatically titled “Stupid Summer Dreams”, a mini-album containing the already recorded tracks for the planned 3rd album was released in February 2010.
Along with a new single – “How Much Can You Take?”, b/with “Oh Robbie” – Botany Bay introduced their new lead singer, Stefanie Mühr in May 2010. Botany Bay are currently recording new material and hope to hit the stage again in the second half of 2010.
The solo project of The Secret Life Of Sofia’s Eric Schwortz, joined onstage by Steven Q and Dan D for the rare live show. The first two recordings made available under this name were covers of songs by Man in Gray and Low. A 5 song demo ep was made available in July 2007.