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Q & A: FLVZ On His Pangea Charity EP

26 September 20 words: Bassey

Local multi-talented artist FLVZ has teamed up with eight others to release the Pangea EP. With musical themes of unity, all proceeds are going towards four different charities. Bassey had a chat with him to learn more about the project, so read on before pressing play and showing your support… but be quick, with downloads ending on 30 September

Not defined to just one practice, local creative talent Ashley Tendekai has a long list of skills including mixing, mastering, photography and cinematography, also producing music under his alias FLVZ. He’s been busy over the past few months, and alongside a number of projects, he recently released a collaborative charity EP titled Pangaea. 

We rate it as one of the most positive, uplifting music projects we’ve heard so far this year, featuring a multitude of influences and united by an underlying spirit - but don’t just take our word for it. We sat down With Ashley to learn more about the project and his work. 

Can you tell us about your musical background - where we might have heard your work before and how you would describe your style? 
I started out writing rap songs when I was quite young in secondary school and that was my gateway into the music world. Whilst at University I learned to produce from watching the way friends work after I got introduced to Reason (music software) by Juskarma (more about him later).

You might have heard my music if you ever went to the Electronic Music Open Mic that I host at the Chameleon Arts Café. You may also have seen me perform on the Electronic Music Stage (Synaesthesia Stage) at the Hockley Hustle two years ago.  

Has lockdown impacted you creatively at all, and how have you found the past few months? 
I’ve finished more projects, revisited old ones, remastered them and had the remasters picked up by a record label for rerelease. I also executive produced a video game soundtrack for XCom Apocalypse remake OpenApoc during spring, and filmed a surrealist short-film during a trip to Devon a few weeks ago and I look forward to putting that together, when I get a minute.  

What gave you the idea for this project and who have you collaborated with? 
I wanted to illustrate the power of the ‘vibe’, how transparent it is in uniting people. When people listen to music, they can’t control who they like, the soul just indulges, it’s the ultimate truth. I worked with eight music artists and one graphic designer on the project:

Juskarma made the beat, a producer/songwriter with influences in soul music, reggae, hip hop and grime.

Kenzola was behind all the guitar work that Juskarma used to build the beat around, an unsung London-based guitarist that tells each story with care. Kenzola focuses on reading the energy and capturing the moment.

Brett Sinclair a Singer Songwriter from Nottingham currently working on a concept album to be released in the next few years, was on the first verse and some of the chorus.

Kudi Israel who shared the first two choruses with Brett is a London-based R&B artist infusing old school RnB with Neo-Soul for a modern take on the genre.

Kay, a Spanish singer and songwriter, was born in Cadiz and grew up always surrounded by music and instruments. She moved to the UK in 2012 and started fronting the popular Latin inspired band The Sugar Tree, she is also part of the british/spanish musical duo "Descaradas" with Molly May.

Rukus is a UK recording artist, DJ, and producer who has been professionally touring and performing both nationally and internationally as a solo artist and with his TRINITY collective. Rukus released a number of hits in 2006 that featured and had regular airplay on stations such Radio1, 1Xtra, MTV Base, Channel U.

Moak is a writer, poet and lyricist based in London. Trust your voice.

Issaka Influenced by jazz, folk, pop and predominantly soul, Issaka is a singer songwriter with a quirky, eclectic and powerful sound best described as alternative soul or soulful acoustica. Based in Manchester, Issaka is described as 'sweet like honey' and her tunes will 'stick like honey'. Issaka sings her verse in Dutch, and in the latter part of my verse (last verse) I borrow her voice for a section. I simply couldn’t do justice with my own singing.

Jonathan Mukholi designed the cover art.

What charities are you raising funds for?
Musicians Without Borders – An anti-war charity using music as a platform for positive community projects all over the world.

Black Minds Matter UK – A charity that supports the black community by giving access to free mental health services.

IMKAAN – A black feminist charity with particular focus on domestic violence, forced marriage and honour-based violence.

Southall Black Sisters – A not for profit organisation emphasising support for human rights for BAME women, through specialist advice, information and counselling to name a few undertakings.

Where can folks get to listen to the album? 
The album will only be available until the end of September 2020 on Bandcamp.

What are your goals and aims with this project? 
Spreading a positive message was the main motivation behind this project. The best moments in life are moments we share with each other.

I was also hoping to expose the great work these charities are doing through this project and obviously raise money for them in the process.

What's next for you? 
I have a number of solo music projects coming out in the autumn. I recently started working with Leeds label Disintegration State and it’s great to finally just be able to focus on just working on music and not worry about admin. I am particularly enthusiastic about how supportive they have been of my solo experimentalist sound. I’m hoping to feature more of my vocal work in future projects, I need to stop being lazy and get back on the mic!

Anything else you'd like to add about the project or a message for the LeftLion readers? 
Music has always been a source of positivity in my life. It has helped me through the darkest times in my life and I see it as one of the purest forms of unity we have to help us share our human experience with others. 

I came up with this music project Pangaea as a way of illustrating the unifying power of sound and music. When we share our happiest moments with each other through music, we don’t even need to understand the words to connect. We can trust the vibe, the body language and our other senses to reassure us we are in a good place with good people.

The Pangea EP costs just £3, featuring eight artists, offering up eight tracks and raising money for four worthwhile causes, it will be raising funds throughout all of September...show your love and share your love.

Listen and download.

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