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Richard Kylea Cowie (born 19 January 1979), better known by his stage name Wiley, is perhaps the most prolific British producer, rapper and recording artist to emerge in the last twenty years. He has made pioneering music in the fields of jungle, drum & bass and UK garage, but is best known as the originator and Godfather of Grime, the uniquely British take on rap music which roared out of east London in the early noughties. Since then he has straddled the mainstream and the underground, irritated and amazed people in equal measure and carved out a unique career path which he has more or less had to make up as he has  gone along.

Wiley's earliest recordings date back to 1997, when he featured on pirate radio rapping over jungle beats. In 2000, Wiley joined with "The Hit Squad" garage crew with school friends DJ Target and MC Maxwell D. They achieved some success on the UKG scene but then decided to combine with rival crew Pay As U Go to become a "super crew," containing the Ladies Hit Squad members plus DJ Slimzee and MC's Major Ace and Plague. God's Gift, Flow Dan and Riko joined soon after. In 2002 the collective achieved a top 40 hit with "Champagne Dance"

Soon after, the crew disintegrated due to individual members having differing ideas of the direction the crew should take. Wiley went on to form the Roll Deep collective, which included Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder as MCs. Wiley’s vision saw him stripping the generic melodies and sickly harmonies out of garage music and developing the drums and basslines. For a while there was no name for the genre he did more than anyone to create, but eventually the label "grime" was the one that stuck.  From 2001, Wiley produced a slew of instrumental singles on his WileyKat Record label, the best known being "Eskimo", "Avalanche" and "Ice Rink". The underground notoriety he achieved led to his being offered a recording deal with the legendary XL Recordings.

In 2004, Wiley released his debut album, 'Treddin' on Thin Ice' with his new label. Singles from the album included, "Wot Do U Call It?" which mocked the various names given to his music, and "Pies”, which showed his humorous side. Reviews such as in Pitchfork Media made comparisons between Wiley and his previous labelmate Dizzee Rascal, who had achieved success with Boy in Da Corner the previous year. Alexis Petridis of The Guardian noted the "comically polarised" fanbase Wiley had accrued; "At one extreme, its sonic experimentation has attracted the kind of people who run music blogs... [where] lengthy essays are posted on issues as the differentiation between Humean and Kantian views of motivation in the lyrics of Bonnie Prince Billy. At the other extreme, it is favoured by inner city teens who appear to communicate entirely in an impenetrable mix of street slang and patois."

During this period, Wiley occasionally referred to his music as "Eski", short for 'Eskibeat' – the name he initially gave to grime. He also released mixtapes under the name "Eskiboy". He explained his choice of name for his music and the continuing theme in his song and album titles such as 'Treddin' on Thin Ice', partly because he likes the wintertime, but mainly meaning cold in spirit. "Sometimes I just feel cold hearted. I felt cold at that time, towards my family, towards everyone. That's why I used those names.”

Many of Wiley's early vinyl releases, such as 'Eskimo', were released under the alias "Wiley Kat", this name was derived from a character in the cartoon Thundercats. However, the 'Kat' is never officially used by Wiley anymore, only being mentioned loosely in some of his songs.

In 2006, Wiley released his second album 'Da 2nd Phaze' on the Boy Better Know label. The album consists of 20 tracks that had been put together by Wiley from the past three years of work, including exclusive bonus tracks from God’s Gift, Alex Mills and More Fire Crew, the latter signaling the end of the Wiley-Lethal Bizzle feud.

This was followed in by Wiley's third album, 'Playtime is Over'  on Big Dada Records, which combined artistic control for Wiley with a full scale release on a recognised label. Wiley was thrilled at the opportunity to be allowed to make a grime record as he saw it, and he formed a relationship with the label that outlasted any other he’s had in the industry.

In May 2008, Wiley found mainstream chart success with the hit single, "Wearing My Rolex". The instrumentation (such as the slower, house style beat and lack of sub bass) caused some unrest within the Grime scene, as Wiley had publicly vowed that he would never leave grime music to break into the mainstream. In the same month, Wiley released his fourth album entitled Grime Wave, which was described by The Times as a "very pre-Rolex album. With its roots firmly based in the harsh, bass-heavy rhythms of the scene".  

This album was followed by See Clear Now, in October 2008 which included the mainstream hits "Wearing My Rolex", "Cash In My Pocket" and "Summertime". This album took Wiley in a mainstream direction. Despite its success, Wiley has disowned the album as he was "very angry" with the label, Asylum, about the production and also unhappy about his management at the time.

Now on his own label, Wiley went on to make another album, Race Against Time. This was released eight months after his previous album in June 2009, on Eskibeat Recordings and again he had much more creative control, if little time and few resources to organise the release effectively. The album includes the 2009 hit "Too Many Man", featuring Boy Better Know.

In 2010 Wiley released 11 Zip Files for free download on his Twitter page, containing over 200 tracks of old and unreleased music, including tracks from the forthcoming album 'The Elusive'. The following year, Wiley announced his return to the Big Dada label, and the release of '100% Publishing' . The album is perhaps best remembered for “Numbers In Action” and its innovative video, for which Wiley won a Video Music Award. 

Less than six months later, he released his third album with Big Dada, 'Evolve Or Be Extinct' , including skits set in taxi cabs and at immigration as well as lighthearted bangers like “Boom Blast” and “I’m Skanking” alongside harder material such as “Scar”. Soon after the record’s release Wiley began leaking grime freestyles over grime beats and releasing them for free via Twitter. This collection was released chronologically with the names "Step 1", "Step 2" and so on. After "Step 10", all of the freestyles were compiled and released as a mixtape titled It's All Fun and Games Till, Vol. 1. Alongside working on his "Step" freestyles, various other promo songs were released. Wiley carried on with his "Step" freestyles, releasing Vol. 2 of It's All Fun and Games Till.

In June 2012, Wiley released his summer single "Heatwave", featuring Ms D and produced by Rymez. On 5 August 2012, "Heatwave" peaked at number 1 on the UK Singles Chart, making this Wiley's first solo number 1, selling an impressive 114,000 copies. His next single, announced in late August, titled "Can You Hear Me" featuring Skepta, JME and Ms D, was released in October 2012. The song was renamed to "Can You Hear Me (Ayayaya)".

Alongside a series of harder-edged releases on Big Dada, Wiley devoted much of 2013 to the promotion of his Warner album, ‘The Ascent’, inclduing his infamous appearance at Glastonbury that summer, culminating in his all-time classic Tweet: “Fuck them and their farm.” On 11 October 2013, a petition was presented to Tower Hamlets' mayor Lutfur Rahman signed by over 2,000 Wiley fans, requesting that a monument to the artist be erected in Bow. On 19 October 2013, Wiley was awarded 'Best Male' at the MOBO Award's 18th Anniversary. 

Wiley remains one of the biggest characters and wildest talents in British music. Whether helping younger artists break through (Dizzee, Chipmunk, Tinchy), offloading hundreds of unreleashed tracks on Twitter, rowing with detractors or doling out private insights on the web – he is always in the studio. Ultimately a workaholic, he’s the kind of artist one can imagine making groundbreaking, avant-garde music well into his old age. A true maverick and an artist in the truest sense of the word, we’re lucky to have Wiley. We should make the most of it. But he probably won’t let us.

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Richard Kylea Cowie (born 19 January 1979), better known by his stage name Wiley, is perhaps the most prolific British producer, rapper and recording artist to emerge in the last twenty years. He has made pioneering music in the fields of jungle, drum & bass and UK garage, but is best known as the originator and Godfather of Grime, the uniquely British take on rap music which roared out of east London in the early noughties. Since then he has straddled the mainstream and the underground, irritated and amazed people in equal measure and carved out a unique career path which he has more or less had to make up as he has  gone along.

Wiley's earliest recordings date back to 1997, when he featured on pirate radio rapping over jungle beats. In 2000, Wiley joined with "The Hit Squad" garage crew with school friends DJ Target and MC Maxwell D. They achieved some success on the UKG scene but then decided to combine with rival crew Pay As U Go to become a "super crew," containing the Ladies Hit Squad members plus DJ Slimzee and MC's Major Ace and Plague. God's Gift, Flow Dan and Riko joined soon after. In 2002 the collective achieved a top 40 hit with "Champagne Dance"

Soon after, the crew disintegrated due to individual members having differing ideas of the direction the crew should take. Wiley went on to form the Roll Deep collective, which included Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder as MCs. Wiley’s vision saw him stripping the generic melodies and sickly harmonies out of garage music and developing the drums and basslines. For a while there was no name for the genre he did more than anyone to create, but eventually the label "grime" was the one that stuck.  From 2001, Wiley produced a slew of instrumental singles on his WileyKat Record label, the best known being "Eskimo", "Avalanche" and "Ice Rink". The underground notoriety he achieved led to his being offered a recording deal with the legendary XL Recordings.

In 2004, Wiley released his debut album, 'Treddin' on Thin Ice' with his new label. Singles from the album included, "Wot Do U Call It?" which mocked the various names given to his music, and "Pies”, which showed his humorous side. Reviews such as in Pitchfork Media made comparisons between Wiley and his previous labelmate Dizzee Rascal, who had achieved success with Boy in Da Corner the previous year. Alexis Petridis of The Guardian noted the "comically polarised" fanbase Wiley had accrued; "At one extreme, its sonic experimentation has attracted the kind of people who run music blogs... [where] lengthy essays are posted on issues as the differentiation between Humean and Kantian views of motivation in the lyrics of Bonnie Prince Billy. At the other extreme, it is favoured by inner city teens who appear to communicate entirely in an impenetrable mix of street slang and patois."

During this period, Wiley occasionally referred to his music as "Eski", short for 'Eskibeat' – the name he initially gave to grime. He also released mixtapes under the name "Eskiboy". He explained his choice of name for his music and the continuing theme in his song and album titles such as 'Treddin' on Thin Ice', partly because he likes the wintertime, but mainly meaning cold in spirit. "Sometimes I just feel cold hearted. I felt cold at that time, towards my family, towards everyone. That's why I used those names.”

Many of Wiley's early vinyl releases, such as 'Eskimo', were released under the alias "Wiley Kat", this name was derived from a character in the cartoon Thundercats. However, the 'Kat' is never officially used by Wiley anymore, only being mentioned loosely in some of his songs.

In 2006, Wiley released his second album 'Da 2nd Phaze' on the Boy Better Know label. The album consists of 20 tracks that had been put together by Wiley from the past three years of work, including exclusive bonus tracks from God’s Gift, Alex Mills and More Fire Crew, the latter signaling the end of the Wiley-Lethal Bizzle feud.

This was followed in by Wiley's third album, 'Playtime is Over'  on Big Dada Records, which combined artistic control for Wiley with a full scale release on a recognised label. Wiley was thrilled at the opportunity to be allowed to make a grime record as he saw it, and he formed a relationship with the label that outlasted any other he’s had in the industry.

In May 2008, Wiley found mainstream chart success with the hit single, "Wearing My Rolex". The instrumentation (such as the slower, house style beat and lack of sub bass) caused some unrest within the Grime scene, as Wiley had publicly vowed that he would never leave grime music to break into the mainstream. In the same month, Wiley released his fourth album entitled Grime Wave, which was described by The Times as a "very pre-Rolex album. With its roots firmly based in the harsh, bass-heavy rhythms of the scene".  

This album was followed by See Clear Now, in October 2008 which included the mainstream hits "Wearing My Rolex", "Cash In My Pocket" and "Summertime". This album took Wiley in a mainstream direction. Despite its success, Wiley has disowned the album as he was "very angry" with the label, Asylum, about the production and also unhappy about his management at the time.

Now on his own label, Wiley went on to make another album, Race Against Time. This was released eight months after his previous album in June 2009, on Eskibeat Recordings and again he had much more creative control, if little time and few resources to organise the release effectively. The album includes the 2009 hit "Too Many Man", featuring Boy Better Know.

In 2010 Wiley released 11 Zip Files for free download on his Twitter page, containing over 200 tracks of old and unreleased music, including tracks from the forthcoming album 'The Elusive'. The following year, Wiley announced his return to the Big Dada label, and the release of '100% Publishing' . The album is perhaps best remembered for “Numbers In Action” and its innovative video, for which Wiley won a Video Music Award. 

Less than six months later, he released his third album with Big Dada, 'Evolve Or Be Extinct' , including skits set in taxi cabs and at immigration as well as lighthearted bangers like “Boom Blast” and “I’m Skanking” alongside harder material such as “Scar”. Soon after the record’s release Wiley began leaking grime freestyles over grime beats and releasing them for free via Twitter. This collection was released chronologically with the names "Step 1", "Step 2" and so on. After "Step 10", all of the freestyles were compiled and released as a mixtape titled It's All Fun and Games Till, Vol. 1. Alongside working on his "Step" freestyles, various other promo songs were released. Wiley carried on with his "Step" freestyles, releasing Vol. 2 of It's All Fun and Games Till.

In June 2012, Wiley released his summer single "Heatwave", featuring Ms D and produced by Rymez. On 5 August 2012, "Heatwave" peaked at number 1 on the UK Singles Chart, making this Wiley's first solo number 1, selling an impressive 114,000 copies. His next single, announced in late August, titled "Can You Hear Me" featuring Skepta, JME and Ms D, was released in October 2012. The song was renamed to "Can You Hear Me (Ayayaya)".

Alongside a series of harder-edged releases on Big Dada, Wiley devoted much of 2013 to the promotion of his Warner album, ‘The Ascent’, inclduing his infamous appearance at Glastonbury that summer, culminating in his all-time classic Tweet: “Fuck them and their farm.” On 11 October 2013, a petition was presented to Tower Hamlets' mayor Lutfur Rahman signed by over 2,000 Wiley fans, requesting that a monument to the artist be erected in Bow. On 19 October 2013, Wiley was awarded 'Best Male' at the MOBO Award's 18th Anniversary. 

Wiley remains one of the biggest characters and wildest talents in British music. Whether helping younger artists break through (Dizzee, Chipmunk, Tinchy), offloading hundreds of unreleashed tracks on Twitter, rowing with detractors or doling out private insights on the web – he is always in the studio. Ultimately a workaholic, he’s the kind of artist one can imagine making groundbreaking, avant-garde music well into his old age. A true maverick and an artist in the truest sense of the word, we’re lucky to have Wiley. We should make the most of it. But he probably won’t let us.

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Jono McCleery, English singer-songwriter, made his first album Darkest Light independently in 2008 funded by fans. His following release, There Is, was described as "Miles Davis, Massive Attack, John Martyn, Fink, and Radiohead wrapped up in one exquisitely produced album." "Jono's music is timeless. Music that is unperishable, that reflects past, present, and future in an instant.

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Jono McCleery, English singer-songwriter, made his first album Darkest Light independently in 2008 funded by fans. His following release, There Is, was described as "Miles Davis, Massive Attack, John Martyn, Fink, and Radiohead wrapped up in one exquisitely produced album." "Jono's music is timeless. Music that is unperishable, that reflects past, present, and future in an instant.

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Supporting Flying Lotus

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Supporting Flying Lotus

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Photo by Theo Jemison

Hypnotic. Warm. Organic. Tumbling. Pastoral. Ramshackle. Blissful. Expansive.

These are just some of the words that have been used to describe the work of Mtendere Mandowa, better known as Teebs.

A producer, a painter, and a key member of Brainfeeder clan, recent years have seen Teebs surge toward the top of the so-called "beat scene", and though his affiliation with Flying Lotus certainly has something to do with his ascent, it's ultimately the music - a billowing brand of beautifully off-kilter, hip-hop-colored beat construction - that has set Mandowa apart from what has become an increasingly crowded field of like-mind producers.

Teebs now makes his home in Northeast Los Angeles, but the 26-year-old producer wasn't always an Angeleno. Born in the Bronx, Mandowa's childhood also included time spent in Georgia and Hartford, Connecticut before his family switched coasts, stopping in Monterey Park, California before settling into the cozy LA suburb of Chino Hills. It was there that Teebs first truly took shape as an artist; he began painting in 2005 and started making music shortly thereafter, both by himself and as part of a collective known as My Hollow Drum.

It didn't take long for people to take notice. Around this time, Teebs linked up with online radio stronghold Dublab, and quickly saw his network increase exponentially. In 2008, he was invited to come to Barcelona and participate in that year's edition of the annual Red Bull Music Academy. This prompted fellow RBMA alum Flying Lotus to look him up; the two actually met at the now-legendary Low End Theory party in Los Angeles, and within six months, Teebs was living in the same apartment complex as FlyLo and sharing a spot with fellow LA beatmaker Samiyam. Watching those two work fueled his own creative impulses, and he began assembling what would eventually become Ardour, his first full-length album.

Ardour may have properly put Teebs on the electronic music map, but the somber release - the LP was partially inspired by the death of his father, which took place in the middle of the record's genesis - was just one of his many noteworthy efforts. He teamed up with fellow LA beatmakers Daedelus and Jeremiah Jae for split releases; he collaborated with UK producer Jackhigh (who now goes by BNJMN) on an intriguing EP called The Tropics and later joined forces with leftfield beat pioneer Prefuse 73 for the Sons of the Morning project and the Speak Soon, Volume One EP; Brainfeeder offered up the explorative and vaguely defined Collections mini-album; and the label arm of My Hollow Drum dropped limited runs of both Ardour B-Sides and the Cecilia Tapes Collection, the later of which collected music pieces that originally soundtracked one of Teebs' art exhibitions. He's also been busy on the road, frequently touring the globe, often in the company of his fellow Brainfeeder affiliates.

Despite all of this activity, on a personal level, the last couple of years have been a time of relative calm for Teebs. It was during this time that he put together E s t a r a, his second proper full-length. As opposed to the turmoil that accompanied the creation of Ardour, his new album is an effort inspired by his life as it stands now, and represents a time when Teebs has finally been able to make music completely on his own terms. The record takes its name from the house where much of the music was created, and it finds Teebs filling his sonic canvasses with the same kind of lush, textured sounds he's always used; the key difference is that he's now operating with a renewed sense of purpose and a streamlined musical narrative. The techniques haven't changed, but Teebs' mastery of them certainly has. In short, he's grown as an artist, and continues to confidently forge his own path forward. 

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Photo by Theo Jemison

Hypnotic. Warm. Organic. Tumbling. Pastoral. Ramshackle. Blissful. Expansive.

These are just some of the words that have been used to describe the work of Mtendere Mandowa, better known as Teebs.

A producer, a painter, and a key member of Brainfeeder clan, recent years have seen Teebs surge toward the top of the so-called "beat scene", and though his affiliation with Flying Lotus certainly has something to do with his ascent, it's ultimately the music - a billowing brand of beautifully off-kilter, hip-hop-colored beat construction - that has set Mandowa apart from what has become an increasingly crowded field of like-mind producers.

Teebs now makes his home in Northeast Los Angeles, but the 26-year-old producer wasn't always an Angeleno. Born in the Bronx, Mandowa's childhood also included time spent in Georgia and Hartford, Connecticut before his family switched coasts, stopping in Monterey Park, California before settling into the cozy LA suburb of Chino Hills. It was there that Teebs first truly took shape as an artist; he began painting in 2005 and started making music shortly thereafter, both by himself and as part of a collective known as My Hollow Drum.

It didn't take long for people to take notice. Around this time, Teebs linked up with online radio stronghold Dublab, and quickly saw his network increase exponentially. In 2008, he was invited to come to Barcelona and participate in that year's edition of the annual Red Bull Music Academy. This prompted fellow RBMA alum Flying Lotus to look him up; the two actually met at the now-legendary Low End Theory party in Los Angeles, and within six months, Teebs was living in the same apartment complex as FlyLo and sharing a spot with fellow LA beatmaker Samiyam. Watching those two work fueled his own creative impulses, and he began assembling what would eventually become Ardour, his first full-length album.

Ardour may have properly put Teebs on the electronic music map, but the somber release - the LP was partially inspired by the death of his father, which took place in the middle of the record's genesis - was just one of his many noteworthy efforts. He teamed up with fellow LA beatmakers Daedelus and Jeremiah Jae for split releases; he collaborated with UK producer Jackhigh (who now goes by BNJMN) on an intriguing EP called The Tropics and later joined forces with leftfield beat pioneer Prefuse 73 for the Sons of the Morning project and the Speak Soon, Volume One EP; Brainfeeder offered up the explorative and vaguely defined Collections mini-album; and the label arm of My Hollow Drum dropped limited runs of both Ardour B-Sides and the Cecilia Tapes Collection, the later of which collected music pieces that originally soundtracked one of Teebs' art exhibitions. He's also been busy on the road, frequently touring the globe, often in the company of his fellow Brainfeeder affiliates.

Despite all of this activity, on a personal level, the last couple of years have been a time of relative calm for Teebs. It was during this time that he put together E s t a r a, his second proper full-length. As opposed to the turmoil that accompanied the creation of Ardour, his new album is an effort inspired by his life as it stands now, and represents a time when Teebs has finally been able to make music completely on his own terms. The record takes its name from the house where much of the music was created, and it finds Teebs filling his sonic canvasses with the same kind of lush, textured sounds he's always used; the key difference is that he's now operating with a renewed sense of purpose and a streamlined musical narrative. The techniques haven't changed, but Teebs' mastery of them certainly has. In short, he's grown as an artist, and continues to confidently forge his own path forward. 

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Bassist/songwriter/vocalist Stephen Bruner, aka Thundercat, has music deeply rooted within. His father, Ronald Bruner, Sr., is an internationally renowned jazz drummer who played with the Temptations, Diana Ross, Gary Bartz and Gladys Knight. His brother Ronald Bruner, Jr., a Grammy-winning drummer, has played with the likes of Roy Hargrove, Stanley Clarke, and Wayne Shorter. Stephen joined his brother as a member of West Coast punk vets Suicidal Tendencies, playing bass on their worldwide tours while still in high school. He also toured through Japan with Stanley Clarke at the age of 16.

As Thundercat, Bruner takes his jazz roots and works with a mix of artists that suit his wildly experimental sensibilities - ranging from Flying Lotus, Erykah Badu, and Stanley Clarke, as well as more recent collaborations with Wiz Khalifa and Earl Sweatshirt, to name but a few. After meeting and touring with Flying Lotus, the two artists collaborated on Lotus’ 2010 LP Cosmogramma on the track "MmmHmm." Their kindred sense of musicality led to Thundercat’s 2011 solo debut The Golden Age of Apocalypse, co-produced by Flying Lotus, which opened Bruner up to a new stratosphere of songwriting and artistic exploration.

In 2013, Thundercat teamed up with executive producer Flying Lotus once again, to form a profound body of work for his second album, Apocalypse.’ Forthcoming on Lotus’ Brainfeeder imprint this July, the album straddles lines and pushes genres further, blurring the confines of pop, funk, electronica and prog rock, and creating something else entirely. Both vulnerable and fearless, a comedy and tragedy, Apocalypse is an intimate portrait of an artist who will continue to take music to a new place; the beyond.

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[image_upload_id] => 17981 [label_id] => 7 [twitter_username] => Thundercatbass [instagram_id] => [instagram_username] => [link] => [listed] => 0 [sortname] => Thundercat [created] => 2011-06-20 09:01:58 [modified] => 2013-07-19 16:04:39 [slug] => thundercat [fuga_id] => [description_clean] =>

Bassist/songwriter/vocalist Stephen Bruner, aka Thundercat, has music deeply rooted within. His father, Ronald Bruner, Sr., is an internationally renowned jazz drummer who played with the Temptations, Diana Ross, Gary Bartz and Gladys Knight. His brother Ronald Bruner, Jr., a Grammy-winning drummer, has played with the likes of Roy Hargrove, Stanley Clarke, and Wayne Shorter. Stephen joined his brother as a member of West Coast punk vets Suicidal Tendencies, playing bass on their worldwide tours while still in high school. He also toured through Japan with Stanley Clarke at the age of 16.

As Thundercat, Bruner takes his jazz roots and works with a mix of artists that suit his wildly experimental sensibilities - ranging from Flying Lotus, Erykah Badu, and Stanley Clarke, as well as more recent collaborations with Wiz Khalifa and Earl Sweatshirt, to name but a few. After meeting and touring with Flying Lotus, the two artists collaborated on Lotus’ 2010 LP Cosmogramma on the track "MmmHmm." Their kindred sense of musicality led to Thundercat’s 2011 solo debut The Golden Age of Apocalypse, co-produced by Flying Lotus, which opened Bruner up to a new stratosphere of songwriting and artistic exploration.

In 2013, Thundercat teamed up with executive producer Flying Lotus once again, to form a profound body of work for his second album, Apocalypse.’ Forthcoming on Lotus Brainfeeder imprint this July, the album straddles lines and pushes genres further, blurring the confines of pop, funk, electronica and prog rock, and creating something else entirely. Both vulnerable and fearless, a comedy and tragedy, Apocalypse is an intimate portrait of an artist who will continue to take music to a new place; the beyond.

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[counter_player] => [counter_biog] => ) [1] => Array ( [id] => 133 [name] => Teebs [description] =>

Photo by Theo Jemison

Hypnotic. Warm. Organic. Tumbling. Pastoral. Ramshackle. Blissful. Expansive.

These are just some of the words that have been used to describe the work of Mtendere Mandowa, better known as Teebs.

A producer, a painter, and a key member of Brainfeeder clan, recent years have seen Teebs surge toward the top of the so-called "beat scene", and though his affiliation with Flying Lotus certainly has something to do with his ascent, it's ultimately the music - a billowing brand of beautifully off-kilter, hip-hop-colored beat construction - that has set Mandowa apart from what has become an increasingly crowded field of like-mind producers.

Teebs now makes his home in Northeast Los Angeles, but the 26-year-old producer wasn't always an Angeleno. Born in the Bronx, Mandowa's childhood also included time spent in Georgia and Hartford, Connecticut before his family switched coasts, stopping in Monterey Park, California before settling into the cozy LA suburb of Chino Hills. It was there that Teebs first truly took shape as an artist; he began painting in 2005 and started making music shortly thereafter, both by himself and as part of a collective known as My Hollow Drum.

It didn't take long for people to take notice. Around this time, Teebs linked up with online radio stronghold Dublab, and quickly saw his network increase exponentially. In 2008, he was invited to come to Barcelona and participate in that year's edition of the annual Red Bull Music Academy. This prompted fellow RBMA alum Flying Lotus to look him up; the two actually met at the now-legendary Low End Theory party in Los Angeles, and within six months, Teebs was living in the same apartment complex as FlyLo and sharing a spot with fellow LA beatmaker Samiyam. Watching those two work fueled his own creative impulses, and he began assembling what would eventually become Ardour, his first full-length album.

Ardour may have properly put Teebs on the electronic music map, but the somber release - the LP was partially inspired by the death of his father, which took place in the middle of the record's genesis - was just one of his many noteworthy efforts. He teamed up with fellow LA beatmakers Daedelus and Jeremiah Jae for split releases; he collaborated with UK producer Jackhigh (who now goes by BNJMN) on an intriguing EP called The Tropics and later joined forces with leftfield beat pioneer Prefuse 73 for the Sons of the Morning project and the Speak Soon, Volume One EP; Brainfeeder offered up the explorative and vaguely defined Collections mini-album; and the label arm of My Hollow Drum dropped limited runs of both Ardour B-Sides and the Cecilia Tapes Collection, the later of which collected music pieces that originally soundtracked one of Teebs' art exhibitions. He's also been busy on the road, frequently touring the globe, often in the company of his fellow Brainfeeder affiliates.

Despite all of this activity, on a personal level, the last couple of years have been a time of relative calm for Teebs. It was during this time that he put together E s t a r a, his second proper full-length. As opposed to the turmoil that accompanied the creation of Ardour, his new album is an effort inspired by his life as it stands now, and represents a time when Teebs has finally been able to make music completely on his own terms. The record takes its name from the house where much of the music was created, and it finds Teebs filling his sonic canvasses with the same kind of lush, textured sounds he's always used; the key difference is that he's now operating with a renewed sense of purpose and a streamlined musical narrative. The techniques haven't changed, but Teebs' mastery of them certainly has. In short, he's grown as an artist, and continues to confidently forge his own path forward. 

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[image_upload_id] => 19016 [label_id] => 7 [twitter_username] => teebsio [instagram_id] => 3173632 [instagram_username] => teebsio [link] => [listed] => 0 [sortname] => Teebs [created] => 2010-11-05 16:40:14 [modified] => 2014-02-06 23:18:29 [slug] => teebs [fuga_id] => [description_clean] =>

Photo by Theo Jemison

Hypnotic. Warm. Organic. Tumbling. Pastoral. Ramshackle. Blissful. Expansive.

These are just some of the words that have been used to describe the work of Mtendere Mandowa, better known as Teebs.

A producer, a painter, and a key member of Brainfeeder clan, recent years have seen Teebs surge toward the top of the so-called "beat scene", and though his affiliation with Flying Lotus certainly has something to do with his ascent, it's ultimately the music - a billowing brand of beautifully off-kilter, hip-hop-colored beat construction - that has set Mandowa apart from what has become an increasingly crowded field of like-mind producers.

Teebs now makes his home in Northeast Los Angeles, but the 26-year-old producer wasn't always an Angeleno. Born in the Bronx, Mandowa's childhood also included time spent in Georgia and Hartford, Connecticut before his family switched coasts, stopping in Monterey Park, California before settling into the cozy LA suburb of Chino Hills. It was there that Teebs first truly took shape as an artist; he began painting in 2005 and started making music shortly thereafter, both by himself and as part of a collective known as My Hollow Drum.

It didn't take long for people to take notice. Around this time, Teebs linked up with online radio stronghold Dublab, and quickly saw his network increase exponentially. In 2008, he was invited to come to Barcelona and participate in that year's edition of the annual Red Bull Music Academy. This prompted fellow RBMA alum Flying Lotus to look him up; the two actually met at the now-legendary Low End Theory party in Los Angeles, and within six months, Teebs was living in the same apartment complex as FlyLo and sharing a spot with fellow LA beatmaker Samiyam. Watching those two work fueled his own creative impulses, and he began assembling what would eventually become Ardour, his first full-length album.

Ardour may have properly put Teebs on the electronic music map, but the somber release - the LP was partially inspired by the death of his father, which took place in the middle of the record's genesis - was just one of his many noteworthy efforts. He teamed up with fellow LA beatmakers Daedelus and Jeremiah Jae for split releases; he collaborated with UK producer Jackhigh (who now goes by BNJMN) on an intriguing EP called The Tropics and later joined forces with leftfield beat pioneer Prefuse 73 for the Sons of the Morning project and the Speak Soon, Volume One EP; Brainfeeder offered up the explorative and vaguely defined Collections mini-album; and the label arm of My Hollow Drum dropped limited runs of both Ardour B-Sides and the Cecilia Tapes Collection, the later of which collected music pieces that originally soundtracked one of Teebs' art exhibitions. He's also been busy on the road, frequently touring the globe, often in the company of his fellow Brainfeeder affiliates.

Despite all of this activity, on a personal level, the last couple of years have been a time of relative calm for Teebs. It was during this time that he put together E s t a r a, his second proper full-length. As opposed to the turmoil that accompanied the creation of Ardour, his new album is an effort inspired by his life as it stands now, and represents a time when Teebs has finally been able to make music completely on his own terms. The record takes its name from the house where much of the music was created, and it finds Teebs filling his sonic canvasses with the same kind of lush, textured sounds he's always used; the key difference is that he's now operating with a renewed sense of purpose and a streamlined musical narrative. The techniques haven't changed, but Teebs' mastery of them certainly has. In short, he's grown as an artist, and continues to confidently forge his own path forward. 

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Thundercat and Teebs Tuesday, Apr 23rd Atlanta, Georgia, US Masquerade Buy
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