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Meet Steve Henao of Cosmic Botanica in Silver Lake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Steve Henao.

Steve, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
We all met in the Los Angeles music scene through our friend Raymond and friends which is a diverse community of musicians that play and love all types of really good music. In 2013 we all got together with our friends from the band, L.A. Bus Fair, who were sharing space with a local Ethiopian Church in Leimert Park, where we, Cosmic Botanic, would practice. Man, the spirits were channeling through us while creating music there! Unfortunately, it closed due to corporate real estate development gentrification and we were no longer welcomed there. We started to rehearse in different places but then life and its beautiful struggles happened.

In 2017, me- Steve Henao, Black Shakespeare & Andrew Markham decided we would take a crack at the band again. We put our resources together and went to record at 4th Street Recording Studio in Santa Monica to record our first album, “Craft”. It took us about 6-8 months to finalize, mix and master and it shows our broad range pretty good.

Since then we have toured Austin, Texas at SXSW, 2019, played locally at venues such as The Smell, 5 Star Bar, Blipsy Barcade, Viper Room and The Hi Hat and built a monthly show at Bon Vivant in Atwater Village and have released over 10 videos of our live performance along with music videos that we directed and produced on our YouTube channel. Now, in a pandemic and stay at home orders we have been still releasing music with the recording of our newest album, “Potions”, which was recorded early 2019 at “The Botanica Lab” studio before being quarantined and then mastered remotely. We create music that we enjoy and that has one common goal, to get everyone together on this unique cosmic journey, we call life.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Not even close to a smooth road. We had a few members fall due to many different reasons, life being a big part of them. We are not always all in agreement with decisions made but the best thing is that we can all talk about it and still be friends. We are like brothers from different mothers. Not always agreeing makes us appreciate and respect everyone’s perspective on whatever decision is being made.

During our tour to SXSW 2019, we had issues on costs, transportation, etc.. but we tried to make the best of it. None of us are rich or a trust fund baby, so the money we were putting in was from our own hard work and day jobs/careers in order to support this music we love. The struggle is real. We believe in our music so much, that we as a collective put our own money in order to make it work.

This is definitely a DIY band, which creates struggles. Some of the day players musicians out there just want to be paid and are not creatively invested in their projects, which is fine but it’s tough finding other musicians who are willing to spend their time co-creating art for the sake of expression and elevation not just for money. So, after some other members, we decided to see what the universe had in store for us and we feel we have found an excellent group of talented and inspired musicians who wanted to be a part of this.

Cosmic Botanica – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Cosmic Botanica is a Los Angeles collective of musicians & artists who create music at the Botanica Lab in Highland Park and various music venues along the West Coast. Inspired by 90’s underground hip hop break beats and heavily influenced by 60’s psychedelic music, such as The Animals; 70’s funk such as Sly and The Family Stone & Funkadelic. Cosmic Botanica takes listeners on a cosmic journey through space & time with their own funky-jazzy vibe and transforms their various musical Influences into a new listening and body-moving experience.

We are a community of musicians, producers creating and helping other musicians create music. We also are a community of musicians coming together to figure out marketing, concert bookings and strategies to help our music get out there on a bigger platform. We need to remember this is not a contest, but a community helping each other with the same common goal and get our message heard.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
The role of luck reminds of our song that we wrote about called “Auspicious Circumstances”.

“Life goes up and down and round
Like carousels

Everyone plays the clown
Some get lost and some get found
Most of us been torn down
But some get up and wear the crown

Parallel lives
Every man cries at least inside
Even the murderer with tattoo tears below his eyes

Laid my pride down and looked inside
A house of mirrors no windows
A house of horrors no victims
A three ring circus balancing on the line
No net below
Can you catch my feelings?

Peeping through the peephole, a freak show
The maestro waves his hands
Serendipity, she graces the land
Can you understand?

Oh, I’m faithful
So many blessings from my angels
The second chances, Oh how grateful

Look how graceful
Looking for the answers
Auspicious circumstances”

We are always grateful for all the chances of luck we get in life especially when they are second chances. This has played out by being together in 2013 than the band not doing anything and feeling a sense that we need to reconnect and make this happen. So, we did in 2017 and life and business has been flourishing within that.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Stefanie Manger, Aureliadamorephotography and Pirouz Ghayouri

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