Ashley Tendekai performs psychedelic electronica as Flavolous, and also collaborates with a wide range of other musicians. He is much more than a musician though, being talented in photography, film and drawing. I caught up with him to find out more about his current work and plans for the future.
Tell me a little bit about yourself Ashley?
Ashley: So I’m based in North Derbyshire, in Chesterfield. I have a real deep, often distracting, fascination with creativity in all of its forms. I’m a firm believer that every single person, cat and dog has creativity built into their genetic wiring. So my interests tend to lean towards flexing of the creative muscle in filmmaking, photography, song writing and music production. I find working with others insightful, because of how other people’s creativity produces another context or perception of a theme, through alternative patterns of thought.
Me: It is interesting how differently people approach things, the same things even. Like music making and film. It’s that “I’d never have thought of it like that” moment when you see another person’s approach is so different to your own.
How do you cope with having all those diverse interests under one creative umbrella? Do you find you’re spread thinly across lots of ideas, or do you manage to keep all your projects going?
Ashley: Well I don’t know if I cope well, but at the stem of it all is music. I find visuals more interesting when they are attached to a piece of music. I find creating music or song writing is more fluent when I have an image to work with or a scene in my head. My very first artistic hobby was drawing so I guess that could also be where my interest in visuals came from. I think there is always a risk of spreading yourself thinly, but I manage these projects in a manner which my attention is always on one task at a time. So when I want to focus on filming, I’m very much engaged with the camera settings, the set design and my musical brain is switched off to the point where if I’m filming a live performance I wouldn’t be able to tell a good take from a bad one. I also think one of my strengths is managing processes and that’s where I acquire the ability to keep it together. It seems that pressure and deadlines are my best friend, I remember when I first started collaborating with Chaos LoL and for every project he suggested I demanded a deadline, otherwise it might have got buried without being assigned a priority.
Me: Deadlines scare me ha ha but they definitely help.
Ashley: Yeah but fear also brings out the best in us sometimes. The amount of times I’ve seen people perform remarkable music and say how scared they were prior to performing, creativity is fascinating.
So what are your current music projects?
Ashley: I’ve got an EP I made in the winter months of 2017 with a rather dark theme I hope to finish in time for this year’s winter. I also have a collaborative project with a Japan based musician I’m extremely excited about working on this half of the year. Aside from that, I have a number of remixes I’ve promised Natalie Smallwood and Scott Makepeace to construct from their original songs. Oh and I promised Cynthia’s Periscope some vocals for one of his piece’s as well as We Are Ux. So yeah I have a few current projects I’m slowly building ideas for at the minute. Next release will likely be an experiment (aka unfinished song), which will be a one synth competition entry uploaded to my Soundcloud this month.
How would you describe your music?
Ashley: I’d say it’s probably electronica of the psychedelic variety. My sound seems to be heavily influenced by electronic music with different genre combinations and a pinch of magic mushrooms. For example, Intro on the EMOM x YMNLT CD and my #ThisIsVibrous EP is a combination of hip hop and electronica, with hints of dubstep and baile funk coming in and out in various sections, with the end of that particular song being an electric piano, which is an underlying vibe throughout the track.
Me: Such a good track, and I can hear the hints of dubstep there for sure. There’s also something anti-dj, sections that you wouldn’t find it easy to dance to moulded into quite danceable pieces. It’s caught me out at a few of my nights as you know.
What would you say your musical influences are?
Ashley: Hahaha well I’ve seen many discussions on online production forums about the importance of accommodating the club or radio dj; however I’m always an advocate of the ‘my art my rules’ approach. I’d say these anti-dj sections are a combination of my dubstep kidulthood where the start of the song sounds like an entirely different song and the end is sometimes also this way. I mainly listen to guys like Herobust, Mr Carmack, Lapalux, Shigeto, but I’m also a massive fan of most things by Pharrell Williams, RZA, DJ Premier, Chase & Status.
Finally, where can we hear you play live Ashley, any interesting gigs coming up?
Ashley: I’ll be at Union MashUp in Hull on 29th March and a couple of days later on the 31st March I aim to attend Ambient Afternoon at the Northern Quarter Venue in Huddersfield, an absolutely lovely venue with an incredibly welcoming atmosphere. There are a number of festivals in summer to be confirmed which I’ve been invited to, but details for those will surface some point closer to summer.
Thanks for talking to Electronic North Ashley and looking forward to see you play in Hull!
Listen to, and buy, more Flavolous tracks here.
Photo by Ashley Tendekai