Stephan’s move diminished the distance between him and Laura to a mere one hundred kilometres. After taking some time to settle down and familiarising himself with his new work, it was time to complete “Grounded”.
It took Laura and Stephan one more month to iron out the last remaining issues in “Grounded”. At the end of May, roughly five years of work were finally completed, as they held the first pre-master of “Grounded” in their hands.
To shorten the wait for the official release of “Grounded”, Laura and Stephan recorded a new single, “Voices”, in August 2007, as well as producing a new video clip. “Voices” featured, for the first time, a duet between the two, as well as hard rock and electronica elements. Written by Stephan and Laura with lyrics by Bettina Böhme (who is the then-girlfriend who actually introduced Stephan to Laura, in case you’re still following), „Voices“ was a major success on the (now defunct) Swiss community blog starfrosch.ch and charted #3 on (now defunct) podparade.de.
The release event of “Grounded” (including an acoustic live set) finally took place on October 6th, 2007, at the „Kulturfenster“ in Heidelberg, to standing ovations.
At the same time, the album became available for ordering and free download on jamendo.com and archive.org.
By July 2009, the complete album had been downloaded over 20.000 times from both platforms. Additionally, individual tracks were downloaded over 15000 times from Jamendo and last.fm. Combined with the CD sales and hard-to-track downloads from other sites, and considering that “Tales Of The Bitter Seed” sold a meager 120 copies, “Grounded” has – so far –been a resounding success for Botany Bay.
Just one more Botany Bay gig took place at the Be Bop in Aachen, before the harsh reality of two demanding fulltime jobs and no sponsorship from any big rich record company put a stop to Laura and Stephan’s ambitious plans to do more live gigs in order to promote “Grounded”.
By the middle of 2008, Botany Bay began composing and recording again, this time with an altogether new approach.
While “Grounded” had been mostly Stephan’s concept and creation, the new tracks were much more of a co-operation, with Laura doing her fair share of song writing and playing.
Two new singles, “Inhale” and “The Real World” were released via last.fm and Botany Bay’s blog.
Workload and other obstacles nonwithstanding, Laura and Stephan realized that the time had finally come to go out and get their music heard. So in March 2009 they took a break from recording and started touring the Cologne/Aachen/Bonn area.
Realizing that they looked somewhat lost amidst racks of keyboards, computers and sequencers, in July 2009, Laura and Stephan teamed up with guitarist Wolfgang Springob, playing old and new material to ever-growing audiences, including one gig as the winners of the Free! Music! Contest! in Wiesbaden.
Their last 2009 concert took place at the Blue Shell Club in Cologne, where they played to an audience of over 300 people – a dramatic change considering their beginnings as an absolute insider tip. A live video of Botany Bay performing “Inhale” at the Blue Shell was released later in 2009.
But not all was well.
Throughout 2009, tensions had been growing between Laura and Stephan. Eventually, the stress of organizing live gigs, several failed attempts to procure a professional management and the gargantuan expenditure of time (remember, both still had to work full time in order to make music in the little spare time that was left) aggravated their growing personal differences until the point where it was to late.
In December 2009, Laura left Botany Bay by mutual agreement. Together with Wolfgang Springob and several new guest musicians, Stephan continued working on the already recorded tracks and demos for the planned 3rd album, releasing the programatically titled mini album „Stupid Summer Dreams“ in March 2010. With many songs mirroring the personal problems and differences of the then ex-duo, „Stupid Summer Dreams“ remains one of Botany Bay’s darkest musicial offerings to date.