Mtendere Mandowa, known to many as Teebs, first got onto our radar as a musician. His otherworldly music and unique sense of time and space within sound was mind-unravelling. As soon as we heard him play at Low End a few years ago, we knew he was on to something very special.
Back in 2012 he agreed to do an interview with LA TACO and while researching him, we discovered that he was an exceptionally talented visual artist. Many creative people excel at various forms of art, but it was still surprising to see just how accomplished and interesting his painting was, even back then at a fairly early stage.
During the process of setting up the interview we also learned that not only did Teebs have a favorite taco, he had a favorite taco truck on the East Side which he considered to be an important part of his and his crew's life in Southern California. Unfortunately, we fucked up and never published the interview, but have added it to the end of this post so you can see what Teebs was thinking back in 2012...
Coincidentally he discusses the very gallery (New Image) that will host his latest collection of visual art, called Overgrown, which opens on March 14th. Mtendere's recent work has all the highlights of the art he's been doing in both music and painting since he moved to Los Angeles, and probably before-- shapes that may seem formless but cohere in ways your brain needs time to understand, "overgrown" imagery that competes for space but finds an organic balance, "blank" spots which help define the spaces around them, and colors that are both soothing and bold. The show opens this Saturday night with an artist reception and will on display at New Image Art until April 4th.
L.A. Taco Interview with Teebs from 2012 (printed here for the first time due to incompetence on our end)
What's your favorite taco?
al pastor tacos from Lupitas Gorditas. best taco//quesadilla truck in LA for al pastor. no flare.
Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
Moved around a bit as a kid..NY, Connecticut, Georgia and finally around southern California. Now im staying in East LA with some guys from My Hollow Drum. This side of town is perfect for me.
What are the things that make LA great?
the people im with when Im home make it great.
You just got back from a tour. How did it go? Are there are specific things you do right away when you return to LA?
man...feel like i was gone since january. last leg of touring was in the states with Sonnymoon & everyday was pretty memorable...best show was in ATL though. I learned something that day & the kids out there are on some other shit. Really refreshing. and the first thing I try to do is grab in n out or a taco from Lupitas... I know I'm home when that stuff happens.
What is the future of FUTURA?
it is really a mystery. The night brings the best out of music lovers and musicians alike and it's all ages so everyone gets in that needs it. I think i'd like to have some sort of art display there with Asura and a friend/designer Paulo Rafael some day a long with the music. Just really take it somewhere else like we try every time we do the night.
Sending love to Daddy Kev for bringing our night and Asura and I together for this.
I saw a great video that New Image made using your music and Anthony Lister's art. Have you ever done graffiti or public art yourself?
yea Lister is real nice. Honor to see my music riding on that galleries site. I used to visit there a lot when I was younger. my first dive into art was (skate)board graphics. I was a fan of dudes in Art Dump and The Gonz...Templeton. Then got into old stuff from history classes i took when I went to school. I never did much graph myself...i mess around a bit but not my source of expression. Some mural work would be amazing though.
Who's your favorite MC of all time? Currently?
oh shit. too hard, but right now im into Jeremiah Jae, SGP, Haleek Maul, Kendrick Lamar, Danny Brown...some others probably.
Who are some up and coming LA artists & musicians that everyone should know about?
everyone in My Hollow Drum, everyone in Brainfeeder...Asura(Ryan York) & Ahnuu,
What was your favorite cartoons and/or video games as a kid?
i still feel like a kid...at the moment Adventure Time and BattleField on xbox
Do you have a lucky number?
much love and over all Lupitas Gorditas Taco Truck forever.