Tenderhost is a new six-piece jazz-rock band, formed under the leadership of Gabriel Levy who had previously gained prominence as the lead in the now-defunct: Sistertalk. After delivering an impressive debut EP The Tin (read our review here) the group are returning to dazzle us once again starting with a new single Plod Along Phenomenon. We caught up with the band to find out a little bit more as they set off to gain a well-deserved larger fan base.
Give us a potted history of the band
Tenderhost was initially a bunch of material I had written in the wake of another project drawing to a close. Had no intention to release it, just fancied writing an album, to be honest. Thought it might come in handy as an acting portfolio for something or another…so that was definitely an achievement. Then covid hit and all the songs I’d written started to metamorphose into something new, somewhat aided by that intense period of nothingness and self-reflection.
Who inspired you to start making music
I grew up sharing a wall with a guitar teacher, so hearing him playing beautiful music through the brick was undoubtedly what drew me in. I hit 6/7 years old and went next door for a lesson and that was it. I used to charge the street 50p a head to come see me play after my lessons, absolute bargain if you ask me. Didn’t really start writing music until I was about 18 though. I thought I’d always be content as just a guitarist, but the more time I spent working in studios/gigging as a session player the more I felt the urge to have more of a say in the actual writing process.
And the one or maybe two records that inspired you artistically
Falso Brilhante by Elis Regina. The first time I heard Elis Regina I was in a bar in Paris with my other half. I went to the restroom and heard this insane voice on the PA. Think it’s the first time I’ve ever Shazammed something, we went back to the hotel and listened to her all night. It definitely gave me some newfound direction and has heavily inspired the writing I’ve done since in some way. It’s joyous, emotive, complex and beautifully performed.
If you’re trying to explain who you sound like to someone who’s never heard you, what do you say
Burt Bacharach takes Frank Zappa to the speakeasy and confesses some dark truths.
Tell us about your new single
Plod Along Phenomenon has existed in my wheelhouse for a while, and I probably demoed it at least twenty times before this version stuck. Once I decided what I wanted it to be about, the approach started to reveal itself. At the time, Seth Evans, Nathan Ridley (co-producers) and I were listening to a lot of Brazilian music, particularly albums such as Constucao by Chico Buarque and Missa Breve by Edu Lobo. A lot of the songs featured on these records have no real pop structure, rather the music acts purely as an accompaniment to the central narrative. It’s about struggling to deal with the monotony and mundanity of everyday life and through so, self-destructing.
What do you do outside of music when you need a break
I’m a sucker for a hand of cards.
Tell us how you write
I write and demo everything extensively before taking it into a rehearsal, then we flesh it out from there. Everyone picks up the form/structure very quickly – then we all chuck our ideas in the pan and see what happens. Always music first, no rhyme or reason – that’s just the way it is.
Tell us about your live show What would be your dream gig
It’s a very ambitious live show, lots of bells and whistles, lots going on. I hope it’ll only grow more so. We just want to play all the time, that’s probably the dream at this point.
What can we expect from you in the near future
We have something very special to share with you in January next year.
Tell us your favourite records that are rocking your headphones/tour bus / stereo
Martial Solal Big Band (Martial Solal) – The Treasury Shows Vol 23 (Duke Ellington) – Adams Apple (Rudy Van Gelder Edition) (Wayne Shorter) – Like a Ship (Without a Sail) (Pastor T.L Barrett & The Youth For Christ Choir – Floating Into The Night (Julee Cruise).
Check out the bands track Plod Along Phenomenon, below:
Find out more via the bands Facebook