Teebs' Ardour (Brainfeeder) is one of the most delicate and lovely albums of the year–all blooming tones, jingling percussion and subtle artful beats. Teebs joined us just before his record release party to discuss his art–his paintings on discarded record sleeves–and the Christmas music hidden inside his album. Culinary school lessons and MP3 after the jump.
Flying Lotus described your record Ardour as like “an island vacation–the way Avatar looks.” Is that what you had in mind when you started making it?
No, not at all. It's just kind of what I make. I think if I'm using samples, which I do a lot, I'll let the record play, find something I like a lot, and slip it in, and kind of work it in to be something that was different than it was originally–but still something I like. Then go from there. Melody is first.
What about when you're painting? Is it the same?
Depends on how I'm working. Like these record sleeve things are different. Kind of out of the blue.
How do you reproduce songs from Ardour live?
I just use an SP 404–it's like a live sampler. I used to do DJing and the 404 but I was really uncomfortable. Now I just use the 404. It's what I had originally–the first beat machine I ever got. Just randomly. When I started playing live shows, I was like “I gotta use this thing, cause I have nothing else.”
You paint. So did you go to art school?
I went to an engineering school that happened to have a crappy art program. I went there for about two years, and took a bunch of art history classes and kind of dropped out because it was complete shit. There wasn't enough funding for the art program. But so I took a beginner drawing and a beginner design class. So I guess I have kinda had training. I did learn a lot in those classes. I actually went to the cooking program because I really liked to cook, and had taken some cooking classes in high school and it was linked to that college and I would get a small scholarship for continuing with the program. So I did that, and got into cooking and took cooking classes for a year. I needed an elective, so I took those art classes and liked those art classes more and switched over. And then dropped out.
Who's your favorite contemporary artist?
Lately, Nick Cave. He does really wonderful stuff–he does sound suits.
Did you in fact start your music career by painting on discarded album covers?
I was making music before I did the record sleeves but I did start painting record sleeves. I picked them based on the way they looked. Poo-Bah has a free bin of records they don't want–they're like “please take them.” Usually Christmas and like Gospel records. People don't want to buy them, Poo-Bah doesn't want to have them in their shop, so they have these free bins outside of hundreds of records. So I went there and grabbed a bin. I took the old covers no one wanted and painted on top of them–I'd paint the sleeves and have a stack of artwork and a stack of records hanging out without homes anymore. So I'd listen to them all, and I started sampling those. A lot of music on my release is from the record sleeve series I did last year.
Yeah–or church records.
So you listened to “Jingle Bells” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and got inspired?
Yeah–it was a good deal.
Teebs on Sun., Nov. 14, with Gaby Hernandez, Take, matthewdavid and yuk. plus DJs Frosty, Co.Fee, Arti, Kab and P.Lo with live screenprinting by Hit + Run at the release party for Ardour at Space 1520, 1520 N. Cahuenga, Los Angeles. 6-10 PM. Free. All ages. brainfeedersite.com. Also Fri., Nov. 12, at Futura at the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, 2225 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock. All ages. 9 pm. Free.