Tenderhost craft textured pieces of jazz-rock which are nothing short of transformative.
Be it a smoky Soho basement bar, a black and white flick from cinemas golden age or, like, an ultra-fancy coffee advert, there is a sense of otherness to the group’s inaugural EP, The Tin, which was shared with the world at the tail-end of April.
It’s an EP of juxtapositions from Gabriel Levy (formerly of short-lived but much-loved outfit Sistertalk), and The Tin sees the artist’s intimate, confrontational speakpieces adorned with magnificently lush orchestral arrangements. Tracks like ‘After A Good While’ pull you close with a gossamer delicacy, before building to a rousing crescendo as the private and the personal play cat and mouse with sonic grandiosity.
Check out the full release here and let it playlist candlelit dinners, bubble baths and poignant moments of introspection for years to come.
Sistertalk only graced us with one much-loved single in 2019, how does the Gabriel who we hear through Tenderhost differ from the person who fronted Sistertalk?
With Sistertalk I felt I had to play into a certain narrative. It was definitely more of a character-driven project, which was fun but in the end just not sustainable for me. I felt that I lost who I was, which ended up effecting my writing and overall creative outlook; so when I decided to take some time away it was to refocus and recalibrate, and out the other end came Tenderhost. Tenderhost is a far more accurate representation of who I am now, someone more confident in sharing the things I once internalised.
How did the lineup of musicians come together to form the new project?
It took a while to get the band together actually. We all met either gigging round London, or recommendations from friends. Safe to say we came out alright, I’m hugely lucky to work with them.
The new EP confronts coming to terms with your own company, is there an alternate universe where l*ckdown didn’t take place, and Tenderhost has a wildly different sound?
A lot of these songs were actually written pre-covid, just as a means of coming to terms with what I was feeling. They definitely could be about lockdown, but in 2019 before it all kicked off I was having a hard time with leaving the house and overall social anxiety. I didn’t know that what I was writing would form the basis for Tenderhost, it was just an exercise. Lockdown just gave me the time to sit down and figure out what I was working towards.
‘The Descent’, in particular, skirts a line between creeping intimacy and vast John Barry-esque orchestral sounds. At which point in the EP’s creation were these tracks elevated with the full band treatment?
From the beginning! I write and arrange everything before we get into the studio.
Green Man festival feels like a perfect setting for Tenderhost, which other artists on the lineup are you planning to catch?
Beverly Glenn-Copeland, Arab Strap, Low, Black Country New Road, Dry Cleaning and of course Michael Kiwanuka.’
What else can we look forward to from you in 2022?
More music, for sure.
photo credit: Jody Evans