20 Questions - Teebs Talks New Album, Low End Theory, and Playing 'Street Fighter' with Flying Lotus
Next week, E S T A R A, the sophomore LP from extraordinarily talented visual artist and producer Teebs (a.k.a. Mtendere Mandowa) is set to land via Brainfeeder. Four years after his debut LP appeared and quickly became regarded as a classic, Teebs is returning with a similarly compelling second full-length, one which finds the SoCal artist more carefully developing his hazy jaunts through autumnal sonics while enlisting the help of Prefuse 73, Jonti, and others across E S T A R A's 12 tracks. In anticipation of the upcoming album, we tapped Teebs for a session of 20 Questions, and got the patient producer to discuss the challenges of making his new album, recount when he met Brainfeeder boss Flying Lotus for the first time, and tell us why—of all people—Dracula is his personal hero.
1. Where were you born?
Bronx, New York
2. What was the first album you ever purchased?
I remember buying Tha Alkaholiks feat. ODB "Hip-Hop Drunkies" single. My first album though, was probably something from Del or Cannibal Ox's The Cold Vein.
3. What was the last thing you Googled?
"Who owns McDonald's?"
4. When you're hungry, what is your go-to snack?
Leftovers, coffee, Jamba Juice, or any other kind of juice deal usually.
5. Name a track or artist that you think is criminally underrated.
6. At what hours are you usually making music?
9 a.m. - 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
7. Does your music and painting inform and affect each other?
Yes. Switching mediums is an amazing way to refresh the want to continue experimenting and searching while working. They also help each other by completing each other's sentences—I feel as though I split my expressions and ideas between those two practices a lot, and when they come together, the whole picture begins to unfold.
8. Is there a current visual artist whose work you find particularly inspiring?
9. What is the first Prefuse 73 track that blew you away?
The One Word Extinguisher LP is something else, but really, the break on "Another One Long Gone" is something out of this world.
10. What was your first impression when you met Flying Lotus?
"He's tall" was my first thought. The first real moment I remember was when we both killed each other with "shoryukens" in a heated game of Street Fighter. We realized how incredible that moment was, and had to leave the "Double KO" screen on for a while. That's when I knew that he was the kind of guy I would love to hang around outside the music stuff.
11. Did you intend to wait almost four years before releasing your second full-length?
LOL. No, it just happened that way.
12. What was the most challenging part about making E S T A R A?
Knowing which songs best fit the album.
13. If you could describe your new record in three words, they'd be...
It's finally here.
14. What possession have you owned for the longest?
My Alkaholics CD.
15. What's your ideal day off?
Noticing my phone is dead and not being anywhere near a charger.
16. What's the best part about living in the LA area?
Living near my friends.
17. Who is your personal hero and why?
Dracula. He gets to sleep for days, but still gets everything he needs to do done.
18. Are we alone in the universe or is there something or someone else out there?
19. What's your favorite memory of a night at Low End Theory?
First time ever playing a live set there. I opened for Ras G.
20. What's the first thing you'll do after answering these questions?
Look for something ridiculous to send to Thundercat.