On Sunday night, Botzy stopped by The Local Show to talk about the newest installment of the Best Love Is Free series, a compilation that has been assembled for the past four years and given away for free to the public. The release show for The Best Love Is Free Vol. 4 will be Saturday, February 9 at the Fine Line with performances by Cecil Otter, Later Babes, I, Colossus and Sophia Eris of The Chalice.
Listen back to Sunday night’s episode of The Local Show
David Campbell: What made you decide that this was something that just had to be done?
Botzy: Well, I’m not from here so when I moved here, I kind of very quickly gained an appreciation for the scene and what the Twin Cities have to offer. Being a benefit of many of those things, this is my way of giving back. Honestly, this is the one thing that I do just to try and give back to the community.
Campbell: Why do you feel like a compilation like this is important to the local community?
Botzy: We live in a city where people are definite fans of music. They’re not a stranger to getting a free CD and actually listening to it in the car. Actually, it is hard — the technical side of it — and organizing it is a bit difficult, but obtaining the music is not the difficult task.
Campbell: You were telling me that you got over 500 submissions for this year’s compilation alone. How much time do you put into assembling each volume, and do you do it alone?
Botzy: We probably put in three to four weeks of the selection process, and I do not do it alone. I have a good committee behind me. We have Crista Bell who works with Stophouse and Doomtree on and off. We’ve got Matt Raskin of the band Sheeped. We’ve got Adam J. Dunn who is a local heavy-hitter in the video realm, and we’ve got Molly Waseka. She’s the regional director of RAW, so she was involved very well with a lot of different musicians. We kind of just picked the most cohesive compilation CD we can provide.
Campbell: One thing that’s interesting about this is that although there is a lot of hip-hop on it, it’s not exclusively a hip-hop compilation. You’ve got stuff from all sorts of all corners of the music world. Why did you decide to do that as opposed to straight ahead hip-hop?
Botzy: It comes from talking with people around the scene and just going to shows. It’s not pigeonholed like that or at least how I once thought it was or kind of observed it. Right now, you’ve got people playing with indie electro pop bands that are just straight hip-hop. There’s definitely cross-over.
Campbell: There’s no money in this. No money taken. No money spent. The tracks are donated and then you give it away.
Botzy: Absolutely. We definitely won’t ever sell it. There’s money involved for the logistics of making nine videos or pressing 3,000 copies of the CD. There’s not really money gained. This isn’t done for the financial aspect of it.
Campbell: Why is it important for you to make it free? Just to make it as accessible as it could be to anyone who would have an interest in maybe learning about the artists on the compilation?
Botzy: Absolutely. It’s important that you may grab the CD because of one name that’s attached to it. But then you leave and walk away and you’ve found three new artists. You’ve got to make as few barriers between music and the people as possible.
Campbell: Discovery. It’s an important thing in your world. I think 15 to 22 tracks this year are from the Twin Cities or Minnesota. But a handful are from other places in the country. This is how it’s been on all the Best Love Is Free compilations, right?
Botzy: Yeah. Last year was very Northwest heavy. There was a certain sound that matched the vibe of the compilation CD. But this year, 15 out of 22 tracks are from the Twin Cities. And then we’ve got some from Portland, Chicago and all around the country.
Campbell: But submissions from 41 different states?
Botzy: Yeah. 550 plus.
Campbell: Who didn’t submit?
Botzy: I don’t know. I should probably look that up. I think Hawaii might be one.
Campbell: Why is it important for you to have people from all over the country as opposed to just focusing on the community that you’re in?
Botzy: A large portion of this is getting your music heard in other areas that are otherwise unattainable. So working with people in Seattle and Portland – it’s a mutual beneficial situation where their music’s getting spread in Minneapolis and then I might send that artist who’s featured on the compilation 300 CDs free to hand over in their region. So it’s all about cross-over and creating new opportunities between artists and fans.
Campbell: New for the last two years is the video series. Or just this year?
Botzy: Last year and this year. But really refined this year.
Campbell: You’ve got a handful of videos that you’ve released each week preceding the release of the compilation featuring the likes of Bomba de Luz, Sophia Eris, La Manchita and the Audio Perm guys. All of those are up at the website as well. And they are sort of an extension of the compilation. None of the artists in this year’s series featured – some have been in the past. Why did you decide to add that component?
Botzy: Videos can help an emerging artist a lot. And they may not have the financial backing to work with a talented director like Adam J. Dunn, but we provide these opportunities. So now, Sophia Eris has something phenomenal and special to put in her press package. Again, it’s another avenue to show fans new artists.
The Best Love is Free, Vol. 4 will be released on Saturday, February 9 at the Fine Line with performances by Cecil Otter, Later Babes, I, Colossus, and Sophia Eris.