With roots in the My Hollow Drum collective, Dublab, and Low End Theory, Mtendere Mandowa, or Teebs, is positioned at the beating heart of a thriving Los Angeles’ music community. In the past decade, he’s released multiple split albums and collaborative EPs with the likes of Daedelus and Jeremiah Jae, plus three albums on Brainfeeder, beginning with Ardour, a deliciously delicate classic in the label’s canon. To mark the record’s 10th anniversary, Mandowa recently shared a special edition reissue with artwork by himself.
Born in The Bronx, New York, Mandowa was raised by parents from Malawi and Barbados, who relocated the family to the cozy surroundings of Los Angeles’ Chino Hills. Mandowa had always been a keen skateboarder, but the calmer surroundings of America’s west coast cultivated his interest in art and music, and he began making beats at the age of 16. When some early demos prompted interest from Flying Lotus, he began to write a billowing brand of beautifully off-kilter hip-hop that captured Mandowa’s sadness at losing his father. This became Ardour, and he was only 23 when the album landed.
Mandowa’s work since then has been equally compelling. Estara, released in 2014, delivered the same shape-shifting sonic canvasses but this time without the sadness of losing a loved one. In 2019, he released Anicca, his latest solo album, capturing the simple beauties of family life. Layered and endlessly lush, the Teebs’ catalog is a well of blissfully warm textures and expansive electronics that make you feel relaxed, curious, and perplexed at the same time.
Recorded one evening in December, Mandowa’s EDMjunkies podcast has the same effect. He’s filled it with some of his favorite records of today, plus some unreleased gems from those around him. In a moment of global chaos, with Christmas approaching and the pandemic ongoing, Mandowa delivers 60 minutes of calm and tranquility. It’s like a warm hug before the holidays begin.
01. What have you been up to recently?
Readjusting to this year’s life at home. Spending a lot of time helping my four-year-old daughter with Zoom classes and social distancing. Personally, I’ve spent most of the year painting and making demos, and in the last month trying out animal crossing.
02. How have you been finding the lockdown period?
A really bad blend of enjoyable and difficult times.
03. Has it been difficult not being able to tour?
At first it was really hard. I’d just finished my new album, Anicca, and was looking forward to bringing the music out to people again. Also, financially, touring is everything around a new release and it was scheduled for March through July. I ended up getting commercial work that softened the blow earlier this year, but I can only imagine how things would have been if this opportunity hadn’t come up!
04. What music have you been listening to?
Sudan Archives, Liv.e, Ahmad Jamal, Fatima, Burna Boy, Nissi, Anna Wise, Ebo Taylor, Grant Green, EyeDress, Jwords, DJ Lag, and whatever is in this mix really.
05. You’ve just celebrated the 10th anniversary of Ardour. How do you reflect on that record, and that period of your life?
In some ways that time reminds me of the chaos this year brought. I was broken from everything happening around me, but also grateful for what music was bringing me spiritually.
06. Where did you record this podcast?
Between midnight and 5 a.m. in headphones, next to my wife crashing from a long workday!
07. What can the listener expect with the mix?
08. How did you go about choosing the tracks that you’ve included?
There should always be time to dive into calmness.
09. What have you got planned for 2021?
A few art shows and more music collaborations and maybe some releases, plus living with a five-year-old instead of a four-year-old. Listening to the new Madlib record sometime in January.
EDMjunkies has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel to listen offline, or subscribe to EDMjunkies+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.
Full EDMjunkies+ Members can download the podcast below. If you’re not an EDMjunkies+ member, you can read more about it and subscribe here.
01. Laraaji “The Dance 1” (Virgin Records Ltd.)
02. Dimm Grimm “Pacific Draft” feat. Teebs (Unreleased)
03. Deem Spencer “The Bright Side” (Deem Spencer & the Flower Shop)
04. Nosaj Thing “Opal” (LuckyMe)
05. Oneohtrix Point Never “Chrome Country” (Warp Records)
06. Liv.e “I Been Livin” (In Real Life Music under exclusive license to AWAL Recordings America)
07. Arrangement “Coconut Mango” (Arrangement Entertainment Group)
08. Express Rising “Ice Stopped” (Numero Group)
09. Yuk “Sirklz” (Unreleased)
10. Kuniyuki Takahashi “Asia” (Music From Memory)
11. Yuk “Palawan” (Leaving Records)
12. Duval Timothy “Ball” (Carrying Colour)
13. Shida Shahabi “Pretty Plums” (FatCat Records)
14. The Sweet Enoughs “Dream Puppy” (Wondercore Island & Dreamlake International Visions)
15. Visible Cloaks “Wheel” (RVNG Intl.)
16. Dinner Party “First Responders” (Sound Of Crenshaw/EMPIRE)
17. 4×4 Traktor “Don’t Wana Stop Now” (Self-Released)
18. Tirzah “Affection” (Domino Recording Co Ltd.)
19. Marcelina “The Motions” (Self-Released)