OTREBOR (BOTANIST): “As Long As I’m In The Band, There Will Be BOTANIST”


Critically lauded San Francisco Metal band Botanist are set to release their eleventh studio album entitled VIII: Selentrope on May 19th via Prophecy Productions. Botanist’s mastermind Otrebor took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about the upcoming album, having eleven records put out with Botanist, the longevity of the band, and more. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: Botanist’s eleventh studio album entitled VIII: Selentrope is set to be released on May 19th, what can you tell fans about the upcoming release?

Otrebor: It’s a concept album about plants that bloom in moonlight. The full experience is the CD/art book version, which contains the Moonflower album, which is an ambient companion disk meant to be played simultaneously with the main album. Of course, it can be enjoyed on its own, too! VIII: Selenotrope is a solo album, recorded by me only. The sound production is by Unisound AB, which brought the lunar ambiance to the forest to the next level.

MER: How was the writing and recording process having this being Botanist’s eleventh album?

Otrebor: Pretty inspired. I had been wanting to write an album about selenotropism since 2016. When I got Covid and a head start on everyone else’s quarantine in early March, 2020, it was time to get cracking. I didn’t intend any of the songs to be played live so I did up to four dulcimer parts per song, to experiment with what would happen.

MER: How would you compare this to Botanist’s previous ten albums?

Otrebor: The choirs play a much bigger role. All the vocals are more up front, thanks to Dan at Unisound, who wanted to make them even louder. I wanted no harsh vocal elements on this album, so there are none. Just whispers and choirs.

MER: Releasing eleven albums as a band is quite the milestone, how does it feel to have eleven albums under your belt?

Otrebor: We are always working on something. Not working on something feels weird. All of us have other bands and musical projects. You can already see how our group fits in to the scene in the San Francisco Bay Area, a scene that is making people notice.

MER: What do you see as plans for yourself and Botanist for 2023?

Otrebor: A few shows. And more recording! We have a deep vault of material in various stages of completion, including next year’s album.

MER: Who do you hope to tour with that you haven’t yet and why?

Otrebor: Ah, finances. My favorite Black Metal band maybe is The Ruins of Beverast. Perhaps that will be an attractive package to the world at some point.

MER: What has been the key to having the band maintain their longevity? 

Otrebor: As long as I’m in the band, there will be Botanist. The other people in the full band make the band better, but at the same time I don’t need them to have Botanist continue. All I need is me.

MER: Out of Botanist’s eleven albums, what is one you would suggest to a new fan and why?

Otrebor: 2017’s The Shape of He to Come. The first full-band effort (and on the list of albums for you to catch up on) — it’s got a very special, sacred and moving vibe to it that’s unique even within the singular Botanist sound.

MER: Since Botanist’s formation in 2009, what have been some of your favorite memories with the band?

Otrebor: Knowing tUMULt records would release I/II in 2009, and the unexpected giant press interest after the album was released in 2011. The big response to VI: Flora in 2014 Hearing a couple strangers / new bandmates in Southern California learn Botanist songs and play them with me in 2013. Playing Roadburn and touring Europe in 2015 Touring Europe again in 2017, the 2019 Japanese tour, holding the deluxe art book editions of Botanist albums released by Prophecy Production’s, imagining where the band will go with its new lineup, recordings, and all the recordings to come!


  • Matt Zaniboni

    Matthew is an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He started his passion for music journalism back in his college radio days serving as the Heavy Metal Director at WKKL out of Hyannis Massachusetts. During Matt’s tenure in radio, he has had time working for commercial stations in Boston Massachusetts such as WAAF, WZLX AND 98.5 The Sports Hub before landing with Metal Express Radio. Anytime you want to talk heavy Metal, hockey, Guiness, and dad life, Matt is your guy m/

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