Mtendere is publicly known as Teebs. He resides in Chino Hills, California, and at one point lived with Flying Lotus. Teebs composes music, rides his skateboard, and is a visual artist. I got the chance to have Teebs answer about my questions about his career, journey, and music after seeing him perform at the Glasslands Gallery in Brooklyn. Take a look. -Abby
–How did you get the name Teebs?
Just a nickname a girl gave me…I had so many silly ones and this one just kind of stuck with me.
–Talk about the gear you use. I was amazed that at the end of your set you walked away with just a sticker-plastered sp404 in a shoe box under your arm.
Ha…yeah…the sp404 is a beast of a toy. It’s just a sampler, but its size and its effects are perfect for what I like to do. I have another [sp 404] I hope to finally get fixed and running.
–You skateboard. Does being a skateboarder affect your music? How does one affect or feed into the other, if at all?
Well, music has sort of crushed my skating time down a lot, but now that I have no shows for a bit, I plan on rolling around a lot more. I think the feeling of skating and controlling your own little universe fits with making tunes. It’s a freedom you don’t get too often and most people that skate understand that…and most musicians I am lucky to call friends understand also. Pure creation.
–What is your creative process? Do you mind explaining a little bit about how you make your music?
The process is different all the time, but I usually always use the same gear – records to sample, borrowed equipment like synths and recorders, my sp404, and my computer.
–Any plans on moving to BK? What did you think of playing at Glasslands?
Well, sadly all I saw was the venue and a few surrounding blocks that night of the show, so no plans on moving in yet. I do plan on visiting in January for a week or so though. We’ll see how it goes from there. And Glasslands was a great spot; I liked the atmosphere of the place.
–Did you do anything else fun in BK when you were here? Its amazing, right? Any good food you tried?
Nope. I don’t think I even ate Brooklyn food. January damn it…
–Do you think we are in a music revolution?
Yeah I would say so. I think every 10 or so years has its story, and I think 10 years from now we’ll be able to look back and see what made up this time.
–What do you think of the direction that music is taking these days? Do you consider yourself part of the music revolution that is happening right now?
I think people are gaining freedom to make whatever they want. With the Internet being around, it’s becoming a lot easier for people to hear new ideas. Yeah I guess I’m in it; I think we all are, just taking different roles to keep it going.
–Do you have a goal (it can be in regards to anything!)?
Yeah, not to let my childhood self down.
–Who influences you? Like when you need inspiration, who do you spend time with? Who do you want to be around?
That’s a good question. Usually its by myself. I try to avoid people and spend time outside or with music. Other times it’s with a few close friends who don’t worry about the music so much – friends that just skate or like to eat at new places haha.
–What have you been listening to these days?
Knxwledge, Tame Impala, Yuck, Dungen, Can, Dr. Dog, the new Deerhunter, annnd Samiyam stuff.
–Any new collaborations you would like to try or dream about?
Want to get some stuff done with Samiyam. We talk about it a lot but yeaaaah, hopefully soon.
–How did you link up with Flying Lotus?
Lotus gave me his number at one point, and I called to arrange a meeting. I passed him some music and later came over to his place and played video games or watched a movie or something. That happened a few more times, and then I ended up moving into his apartment complex as a next door neighbor rooming with Samiyam.
–What genre do you consider yourself a part of or a specific wave of music?
No idea on a genre wave, but I do know that a lot of the guys I converse with (that make music) all call it beat music. That’s what I consider it…or how I like to look at it. We make beat music.