Rock and roll infused with earthy roots and blues and laced with psychedelic ear candy is how Canada’s Tennyson King likes to roll. A high energy and mesmerizing live performer playing music that has the emotional sweetness of the blues with a rock and roll sensibility, this folk-rocker is definitely one artist you need to know about. Lucky for you, he’s bringing all the energy back to Australia this November for the Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival. We chat with Tennyson ahead of his trip down under.
Hey Tennyson, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with Forte! How are you and what have you been up to recently?
I’m doing great! Thanks for asking. I just finished up a Western Canadian tour for the past 2 months and I’m back in my home-town of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada working on some songs for my next record.
We love listening to your music in the office, especially on a Friday with easy-listening, feel-good tracks like ‘Coast’ and ‘Alive’. Talk us through your creative process, do you have to be in a particular mood or headspace when you’re creating uplifting tracks like this?
My creative process definitely changes depending on the mood I’m in and I guess what I’m going through during that time of my life. With tracks like Coast and Alive, I wrote most of those songs while I was touring Australia for the first time. I was spending a lot of time on the east coast, between Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, just playing shows, living out of my van waking up to the sounds of the ocean, surfing and just really enjoying the beautiful weather. That sort of lifestyle definitely set the tone for those songs and when I went back to Canada to work with my producer Dan Hosh, I definitely tried to bring that experience and feel with me into the studio.
These were lifted from your sophomore album Coast, which has a very carefree, chill vibe to it. What are some of the influences that helped craft this album?
A lot of the carefree vibe came from the year leading up to the recording where I did two tours in Australia in one year, travelled in Fiji, New Zealand, and Amsterdam amongst a few other places. I was mentally just in a travelling mode but not in a stressed way at all and I think that came out through the arrangements. I’ve always been a big fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers but that year I was listening to them a lot and it really connected with me during those times.
Made with producer Dan Hosh (Elliot Brood, Whitehorse), you’re been promoting Coast in a number of exciting countries. We know both are so important to musicians but are you more at home with music in the studio, or on the stage?
I love being in the studio because there is so much you can do to create sounds. It’s an endless amount of fun, sometimes, there is too much! But my heart and soul definitely goes on the stage, performing my music is what I love doing the most and when I’m the happiest. It’s something that can only happen that one time in that moment, and to share that with people is a great feeling.
You’ve performed in Australia a number of times, most recently when you toured the country earlier this year in celebration of Coast. What keeps bringing you back??
The ocean and sunshine are just always calling me… every time I leave I look forward to going back. The people all over the country are lovely, I’ve met some amazing people and played some great shows.
You’re set to perform at Bendigo Blues & Roots Festival, after your debut there last November. How did you find the festival?
The festival was great, so much talent performing all over the city. The people running the festival are amazing and kind, and the city of Bendigo is sweet. I had an amazing time last year and have nothing but positive vibes about it!
What can punters expect from your audience? Do you have a favourite track to perform live?
I definitely enjoy playing tunes off the album Coast because the vibe for it is inspired by my time in Australia so I think it really comes through and the audience gets that.
With your performance in a little over a month, what are your plans for the trip? Are you going to be doing any other shows while you’re here?
I’ll be stopping in Hong Kong for a few shows on my way to Australia from Canada. The festival will actually mark the start of my Australian tour, and I’ll be in the country till the end of January playing music going all the way up to Cairns this time.
While we know you’ve been super busy taking your music all over the world, have you had any time to work on anything new?
Whenever I have downtime in between tours I’m working on a new album, which will be my first full length.
Lastly, who are some artists that you’re currently listening to (and that we should be listening to) right now?
Currently on my high rotation, is Bahamas, John Mayer, Anderson Paak, Shakey Graves, Aldous Harding, and Foy Vance.
Thanks so much for the chat! We can’t wait to have you back in Bendigo!
Thanks! I can’t wait!
Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival takes over the streets of Bendigo 7 – 10 November 2019. Tickets at bendigobluesandroots.com.au