Initially finding inspiration in the classic 90s era of rap, flavolous (aka Ashley Tendekai) has seen his sound move on that that genesis over the last few years, taking an occasionally experimental, sometimes ambient, but always melodic approach to electronically inspired sounds. With his Aberrations EP due for release in the next few months, and a very special remix under his belt, we caught up with him to find out more and him and his music.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s the story behind flavolous and how would you describe your sound?
Flavolous started out as a rap/hip hop act heavily influenced by the 90s era of New York rappers. Somewhere down the line that curiosity to venture into beat production manifested from watching a few friends around me doing it at University.
I’ve spent that last six years or so exploring production and I think the sound finally coming out is a somewhat psychedelic electronic type of nonsense – ha ha! I don’t know if it can be defined further – I like hearing unexpected things in music so it’s something I try to add to my own productions.
What motivates you and inspires your music, aesthetic and vibe?
I think curiosity is what inspires me the most. Music production of today is so boundless in its creativity. People make kick drums from their own heartbeats, synth sounds from hoovers and other household noises. The endless exploration of infinite possibilities is what’s keeping me going at the minute.
I use Reason to produce and I’ve ventured into modular territory albeit in the box and somewhat unconventional in the sense that I’ve been using CV routing to warp and modulate resampling (kind of like modular granular synthesis to an extent)…results have been trippy!
The vibe definitely comes from trying to build an image in my head, so this may be a scene that only exists in my mind and I’d be normally be trying to sculpt the music for it, so the drums are usually a key player in defining how the vibe culminates.
An example of this would be in my song Aberration II from my soon to be released EP. I basically imagined robots having a bit of a mad dance-off, so the synths and the drums in particular reflect that, the glitches and stutters add to the robotic vibe in that context.
Were you into specific bands or musicians when you were younger? Do you think they have any influence on the music you make today?
Funnily enough my musical taste was incredibly open when I was younger. I used to just listen to radio mostly and didn’t really have a favourite. Though certain electronic songs always stuck out for me, and I enjoyed them a bit more than the average chart tune. Basement Jaxx certainly made an impression before I started writing songs with tunes like Where’s Your Head At and Plug It In.
Once I got into rap I was listening to a lot of Eminem, Lloyd Banks, Ludacris and a lot of the older Wu Tang solo releases. I think definitely there is some subconscious influence. I think my sound tends to lean towards the heavier less pop friendly sounds, those are simply the sounds I get excited about hearing.
We’re loving the dark tones of your remix of Rachel K Collier’s Poison – how did the remix come about?
So a friend of mine Sebastian DeWay who is also a music producer wanted my opinion on a project he was working on, and it was a remix of Poison for Rachel K Collier, so I was curious to find out a bit more about the original song, that’s how I ran into the opportunity to get access to the stems and see if I could build something.
I found the song structure of the original really inspiring, I had a lot of ideas but the one I developed into the current remix was the one that gathered the momentum quickest. Naturally I listen to a lot of darker music, so it resonated really well with me and I was able to finish it off fairly quickly for submission.
There’s a very dense and intricate feel to your own music – how easy do you find it to recreate that in a live setting?
Well that’s the thing I’ve found very difficult in a room full of people who aren’t familiar with my sound. The density in a live setting is something I don’t try to recreate because there’s only a limited amount of sounds a crowd can digest.
Hearing something for the first time some of the details are lost in the wall of sound coming out of big PAs. It’s still something I am thinking about in terms of execution, at the minute my live gigs are an utter glitch fest … lots of mangling, warping and distorting things because heavy sounds are fun to hear on big speakers, right?
What’s up next for flavolous? Any upcoming gigs, new releases on the horizon, other projects?
I’ve been travelling all over the country attending the EMOM (Electronic Music Open Mics) put on by Martin Christie and Co. for the last 10 months, so I’m having a mini break from gigs right now. My remaining ones for the year are in October I’ve got one in Hull on the 14th and on the same date I’ll be performing at Sonophilia 2018 which is a 10 day celebration of sound taking place in Lincoln City. Events there range from live music, sound art and Industry talks, to art installations and poetry.
On the 28th of October I’ll playing at the Hockley Hustle Festival in Nottingham on a live arts and electronic music stage (Synaesthesia Stage) at the City Arts venue, which I’m very excited about being part of! Music wise I have quite a few releases coming out very soon hopefully going to get some visuals sorted out for the releases. There’s the Aberrations EP which I’ve just finished and awaiting release, hopefully that comes out before the end of October.
I’ve also got another remix I’ve been meaning to put together visuals for, for some time now. I just felt like it wouldn’t be right putting out without the visuals because they would complement the context of the piece so well. I think overall l I’ll be taking the gig break as an opportunity to finish off lots of stuff I’ve enjoyed performing live over the last few months. Expect many a release in the coming months on Bandcamp and a few other platforms!
Photo by Gavin Morrow aka Grey Frequency