Splashy Fenners can look forward to a diverse blend of musical craftsmanship brought to you by one of Durban's folk legends, Matt Vend and The Tender Ten, who recently returned from Mexico, Guatemala and California, narrowly missing earthquakes, hurricanes and fires...
Matt needs no introduction to South Africa, with a few international tours already under his belt, he has been in the music industry doing his thing with multiple bands and artists since the age of 14, touring nationally, playing in most of Durban's live music venues, festival circuits and even a refugee camp... He is no stranger to the studio and has recorded collectively over 80 songs with the various projects he has been involved with, including guest appearances with Fruits and Veggies (Durban afro/reggae misfits), Misled (Joburg’s finest new school hardcore/punk band) and Blaq Hitler (Durban MC and hip-hop producer), fronting for the Accidentals and many more.
Underground Press chatted with him pre-Splashy:
Take a listen to 'Rogue Monkey' while you read!
Underground Press: Who are, The Tender Ten who accompany your band "Matt Vend and The Tender Ten"?
Matt: The tender ten are my fingers, hahaha, but the idea is that this could be a band and there have been times when there has been a band (backing me) so it's my solo project and it's a running joke. Look at me I have a band, they are my 10 fingers, either a nervous laugh or awkward silence. My life is filled with awkward events, I write about them sometimes. Although maybe one day I'll have a 10 piece band and then I'll be like who is laughing now (jokes). I'll probably still be laughing.
Underground Press: You've been involved with and fronted multiple bands (as well as having focused on your solo career) since you were 14, can you give Underground Press readers a bit more insight into your past musical sojourns, locally and abroad?
Matt: I started out playing in the rock/punk/reggae whatever other genres we played in a band called Sibling Rivalry for almost a decade and a half. I then started my own band Car Boot Vendors, which drew influences from old-time folk and rock 'n roll. I played in a band called The Tubby Wilsons, that was when me and my friend Yusuf Laher were absolutely obsessed with bands like Blink-182, Alkaline Trio, The Lawrence Arms and The GetUp Kids (we still kind of are). I went on to start a band with other great players called The Accidentals, it was a bigger more full rock sound, with all the influences of my previous bands. I also jammed banjo for a folk duo called Iris and the Tokoloshe. I've played with a lot of people but am quite comfortable playing alone these days as my music is very personal to me, the subject matter is quite introspective and dark and sometimes I feel I'm the only person who is really suited to delivering it live, it really is all about the poetry behind it after all.
Underground Press: You release all your music under your record label "Groundsweep Records", why haven't you decided to sign with one of the big labels and what, in your opinion are the benefits of self-publishing?
Matt: I release my stuff under my own label because no one will sign me (lol). That aside I've never actually ever looked for a record label and always considered myself quite niche and I honestly don't know where a label would position an artist like me in the market. I don't really fit the mainstream mould and what I put across in my sound and aesthetic isn't really tailored to any market. Its also a resource thing, I can make a million albums in my room and save a lot of time and money. I write a lot of material and I would owe the local studio a lot of cash if I didn't do this 100% DIY, I possibly wouldn't even afford to record at all, so I thank the technology available that I can do this fairly well from a production side entirely in my room. That said I've never actively looked for a label and there are times when I've thought, damn I could do some cool things in a great studio if someone would just pay for this. (wink hint). Any labels out there want to take a chance on me? I dare you! hahaha. But record deals are kind of like bank loans and I'd rather not owe the bank any money. But if someone, a label or otherwise gave me a pile of money to make a record I'd be honoured and hopefully produce something I'd be proud of. But I'm also just happy making my records in my room for my own label, which is slowly but surely getting off the ground(sweep).
Underground Press: With 4 albums under your belt, when can fans expect to hear your next musical offering?
Matt: 4 albums, wow! Hahaha, it's more like 3 albums an ep but who is counting. I'm currently working on the 5th release, I've had a bit of issues with my hearing so I've been taking a bit of a break from recording. I've written and tracked about 8 new songs so far. Half of them are folky/punky kind of stuff and the other half is a more lo-fi electronic type of sound. I try and avoid doing the same thing twice if possible. Although it's also good to develop a recognizable sound I think the new record is all about finding that balance. At this point, I honestly can't say when the new record will be out but I'm quite proud of the new direction and I'm excited to be working with new instruments like keyboards and drum machines. When I finally find a moment I should wax it out soonish.
Underground Press: Why should people support local musicians/ venues?
Matt: I think its important because music is highly unifying, I think we can put aside a lot of differences at a rock concert.
Underground Press: What can fans expect from your set at Splashy Fen this year?
Matt: Um I have fans? Hahaha, I'll be attempting to pull off some new material and I'm all on my own so the show will be stripped down. Hopefully, people will listen to the words, the words are more important than the music for me. The music is a vessel for the words. Listen to the words please....(lol) I'm up at 3 pm on the acoustic stage and I'd love you to be there, I'll give everyone free hugs. All my albums will be on sale, but only 20 hard copies per release will be on sale so come and buy my music, it's really limited and rare. Remember we have a date now 3 pm Friday Splashy acoustic stage xxxxx.
Underground Press: Top tips for attending a 4-day music festival?
Remember to drink lots of water, remember to make lots of friends, remember to watch lots of music instead of just jolling the whole time. Remember the music is why you went in the first place and is the reason why its happening, not just the jol (which is important too). And most importantly use sunscreen.
Underground Press: Where can fans hear you play/buy your music?
Matt: I am on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, search Matt Vend on Google and you should be sent to some platform with my music on it. I play less than I used to but will play anywhere and have played many different places all over South Africa and the world. Check my Facebook page for gig updates.
Thanks, Underground Press and Emma Kelly for the support and being awesome! Remember Splashy 3 pm acoustic stage.
Check out Matt Vend and The Tender Ten's profiles on Youtube, Soundcloud and Bandcamp for upcoming releases and tracks.
We've selected a few links for you to enjoy on your way to Splashy!! Drive and party safe and don't forget - drink plenty of water folks!!