Chango voodoo

Local indie act Botanica Chango plays a record-release at the Irenic on November 4

Josh “Chango Chango” Becker: “We picked the brain of a certain person, but that person left, but they left a little of ‘the brain.’”
  • Josh “Chango Chango” Becker: “We picked the brain of a certain person, but that person left, but they left a little of ‘the brain.’”

Josh Becker (aka Chango Chango) from the group Botanica Chango sums up his band’s sound as being “voodoo pop.” What is voodoo pop? Well, let’s examine “BB and the Beat,” currently available on the band’s Brit EP, and soon to be available on their vinyl debut Britney. A dirty bassline sets the pace but is soon juxtaposed with pristine harmonies and hazy effects, before the song builds to a soaring climax. It’s trippy enough even without the video — which ups the dosage by following local legend Gary Wilson walking a dog before the scene descends into a psychedelic green-screen free for all.

Yes, “voodoo pop” works for this crew.

"BB and the Beat"

...by Botanica Chango

...by Botanica Chango

“It’s been a year and a half that I’d say we’ve been jamming, maybe a little bit under that,” Becker told the Reader. “We had a lot of good bar nights, a lot of good jokes, and everybody just really vibed and needed an outlet. Music has been in the past of a lot of the people in the band and so it made sense to really just start rocking and also rolling.”

The band took shape in clumps as members of Hills Like Elephants (Sean Davenport and Michael Alan Hams) and A Scribe Amidst the Lions (Bobby Roquero) joined forces to form the core group. There were even some early casualties.

“Well it wasn’t really the same sound from the beginning,” Becker explained. “We picked the brain of a certain person, but that person left, but they left a little of ‘the brain.’ The sound has developed through the different influences of space, tequila, drums...stuff like that. It’s kind of taking on its own little thing right now. [At the onset] it was like a beast that was really cramming for a test, and finals were coming up. Now, we’re starting to see it kind of open up. It’s a lot calmer. It was the same idea in terms of make awesome stuff and keep making it.”

The group shares a name with a market on El Cajon Boulevard near I-805. “I’ve been to Botanica Chango twice,” Becker explained. “I like it. I’m into it. I stayed there about 45 minutes both times. What happened was, my girlfriend actually went there without me, and told the lady in the store what was going on. ‘My boyfriend’s band is using your store name as their band name.’ She seemed a little bit confused. We don’t have any direct ties with them at the moment. We wouldn’t want to infringe anything, just take care of everybody and make everybody happy while we play the jams.”

Past Event

Botanica Chango and Gary Wilson

  • Wednesday, November 4, 2015, 8 p.m.
  • Irenic, 3090 Polk Avenue, San Diego
  • $10 - $12

“Chango” is an African storm god that can represent many different things. It seems fitting that the band members (as was the case with the Ramones) have adopted their own Chango names, such as the aforementioned “Chango Chango,” and also “Chango Macho” and “Chango Papa.” Perhaps most intriguing is the dog featured in the “BB and the Beat” video, “Chango Rabies.” If you see that pup at the vinyl-release show, check twice before petting.

Botanica Chango play their record-release show at the Irenic on November 4.

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