Q&A with German-based Marlon Bösherz (Botticelli Baby) - gypsy swing, blues, beat music from the Balkans and punk

"I’m sure music will stay. Music can’t die. Because, what is music? Music is sound, vibration, energy, speed, waves, the combination of things and people, so even if mankind is gone one day, there will still be sound in the Universe. And if the Universe is gone, something or someone will still be left making a noise."

Botticelli Baby: Let The Good Times Roll

Handmade Swing music with Punk attitude! Botticelli Baby develope an energetic & always-getting-anybody style away from mainstream. Built by many influences is the melange of Django Reinhardt’s Gypsy Jazz, the early 30s Hot Jazz, the bums of the Balkan and the dramatic of Blues! Botticelli Baby still don’t sound like a re-make of an old-times, greasy Jazz band. Botticelli Baby burns down the house with their snotty & professional show! The ensemble plays a ravishing mixture of gypsy swing, blues, beat music from the Balkans and punk. At every concert they have their passionate audiences freak out, they are able to follow every pace, and have the uncompromising demand to get people on the dance-floor.                           Botticelli Baby / Photo by © Nicole Kempa

Frontman is the singing double bass player Marlon Bösherz. The septet presents a snotty but professional show because everyone in the band is a savvy musician. Jazz can be party music, too, and Botticelli Baby is an excellent example. Ever since Botticelli Baby, a band from the Ruhr area (Germany), released their debut album “Junk” (2018 / Unique Records), the band has been able to look back on high energy, sold-out club concerts across Europe. At numerous clubs and festival grounds, Botticelli baby was able to provide an explosive mixture of all musical genres. “Junk” takes different beats and styles and mends them together in a blistering form, which Botticelli Baby is well known for. What can the audience expect? An ecstatic mood, sweat, a loud meditation.

Interview by Michael Limnios        Special Thanks: Ina Schulz (Unique Records)

How has the Jazz and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

When I got my first records – The Doors and a jazz compilation called Honkers and Bar Walkers – I was strangely addicted to these two styles of music and explored a lot 60s rock and jazz, early punk and different singer-songwriters. Doors were opened, and I couldn’t stop listening to many different styles of music which opened horizons of thoughts and feelings, music which allowed me to feel a new and different way about people. On my trips, I started to carry a guitar with me very early on. As I said, music opened doors, hearts and thoughts. Music changes everything.

How started the thought of name: Botticelli Baby? How do you describe band's philosophy and where does creative drive come from?

We sat around with some bottles of beer and thought about a name. With an Italian accent, a guy in the bar said “Botticelli Baby”. Why not? It has this Sandro Botticelli and this Baby and it’s a Bebop alliteration similarity. We listen to our guts, trust in our feelings and what comes out of a dialogue with other musicians. That’s how we find songs in the flair of the whole-life-describing song around us: somebody has an idea to express through music, and a song is the pinned down idea of this dialogue where everyone has their place and voice. Creative drive is an inner passion - the inner Hulk – and with too much inside, it needs to be released.

"Mainstream, Avant-garde, unknown new stuff, never-recorded jam sessions, and all times lost in the spirit of the everywhere song, were always part of people making music. So, the situation today is not ‘worse’ than it once was, but different, and we go on making music." (Photo: Marlon Bösherz on stage, Jazzfestival Saalfelden / Photo by © Michael Geißler)

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

We could write a book about the shit and beauty we saw on our tours… Alexander (trumpet) once broke his right arm, but we had a gig, so he played with his left hand and to hold his instrument he used a shoelace. He played the gig… We played at a very cool festival, where a power failure then forced us to play a capella, and we did. I laid down my bass and sang as loud as I could while the drums and the brass section kept on playing.

We played this concert in a famous Punk Club which was the place to play for a lot of bands during the upcoming Punk feelings in the early 80s. Alexander was kind of sick and went off stage during the concert to puke somewhere (…) he did that, came back on stage and played his solo. Last year we traveled around and played a concert in the mountains of Austria. We had a day off during the tour to calm down and relax. Someone said, “Hey, what about a short walk… maybe a session on a bench close to the hotel?” That was the beginning of a four or five hour hiking trip to the top of the mountain. I wore leather slippers and the others were in their everyday clothes… we weren’t prepared for such a trip. Trekking off-road, we reached the top and had sweet pancakes and a beer. I mean, we really had this Manager-good-for-team -building shit, just because we wanted to. The next concert was a little bit slower than usual. So, please, I don’t remember everything… Whenever you meet one of us: ask him for a story about the band.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I’m sure music will stay. Music can’t die. Because, what is music? Music is sound, vibration, energy, speed, waves, the combination of things and people, so even if mankind is gone one day, there will still be sound in the Universe. And if the Universe is gone, something or someone will still be left making a noise. Music! I have no fears for the future, because I don’t know what will come. That means I can change things now. It contains a million possibilities.

I think the quality of sound in the past – with its microphones and so on – feels very charming for us today, although it must have been the most current and best sound they had then. We’ve now reached a level where we can chose which charm we would like to have. But nothing will reach the quality and authenticity of a musician who tells his story true and beautiful. Yesterday, today, or tomorrow: it doesn’t matter. Mainstream, Avant-garde, unknown new stuff, never-recorded jam sessions, and all times lost in the spirit of the everywhere song, were always part of people making music. So, the situation today is not ‘worse’ than it once was, but different, and we go on making music.

"I’m happy for every person, animal, alien, planet or the United Union of the Stars wherever, which wants to listen to our music. I’m very happy about the very mixed audience we have the pleasure of playing for in all the different cities and countries. You can feel in the audience during our concerts. People have different feelings while dancing, swinging, escalating or feeling shocked. It’s very nice to feel that the audience feels it… WELCOME EVERYBODY!" (Photo: Marlon Bösherz of Botticelli Baby)

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

A jet service for bands to reach their gigs easily, comfortably, and relaxed. Maybe with high-speed helicopters. I mean, driving around with a band bus is very cool, but a jet or a high speed helicopter is much more star-baby-Botticelli-cool and much faster. So we could fly over Japan to Hong Kong to play there, and then go on and play in Athens, for example. And after Athens to Mongolia... I mean we could just play around the world. And I’d love to play on a spaceship one day. Wuhuuuuuuuu.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in music paths?

  • Music is life
  • On stage, you are both safe and unsafe at the same time: the stage is home
  • Trust yourself
  • It is possible to move people
  • When playing on stage and singing about feelings, I do nothing destructive: I transform more than I destroy. We have a beautiful job.

What is the impact of music on the racial and socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

I’m happy for every person, animal, alien, planet or the United Union of the Stars wherever, which wants to listen to our music. I’m very happy about the very mixed audience we have the pleasure of playing for in all the different cities and countries. You can feel in the audience during our concerts. People have different feelings while dancing, swinging, escalating or feeling shocked. It’s very nice to feel that the audience feels it… WELCOME EVERYBODY!

"We sat around with some bottles of beer and thought about a name. With an Italian accent, a guy in the bar said “Botticelli Baby”. Why not? It has this Sandro Botticelli and this Baby and it’s a Bebop alliteration similarity." (Botticelli Baby / Photo by © Andrea Kiesendahl)

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

-I’d like to start with a sparkling wine breakfast, some cigarettes and bread at Django’s caravan in 1935 close to Paris. We’d meet Stephan in a bar and jam around a little bit.

-Second option: One day Woodstock! Wuhuuuu

-Mozart: live concert. That would be amazing!

-Or a Bongo session in the Stone Age.

Botticelli Baby - Home

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