From the Outback to Abbey Road with Tenderfoot

Right before Tenderfoot stepped into my life, they’d already booked a trip to head from Australia to London to record at a place made famous by a little band you may’ve heard of, The Beatles. Yes, Tenderfoot spent some time recently recording at Abbey Road Studios and I was dying to know how it went. So we talked about that, Beginnings and more with their own John Vella.

Kendra: What were each of you doing in the years it took this band to come together?

John Vella: Joel’s been a session bass player in Sydney, I make music for ads, and Torchy is an IT guy with a healthy love for indoor soccer! We’ve been making music together in some form or another for a long time, and now with Tenderfoot we’re lucky enough to call it our focus.

Kendra: When you’re from a place like Sydney, do you ever feel at any sort of disadvantage because the cost of touring elsewhere would be a major setback?

John: I think so. We’re in London right now and it definitely feels different. I was in LA earlier this year as well and yeah, there’s definitely more going on. Touring in Australia is something we need to do, but there are definitely advantages to being based in the US and Europe. It’s something that’s on our radar.

Kendra: Let’s talk about Beginnings! Any band’s debut sets the tone for who they are, what they can do and where they’ll hopefully go. Do you feel this record accomplished all three of those?

John: Yes! Well, I hope so! We are very proud of Beginnings. The band performances all went down together live in a day without click tracks. We wanted that sound and I think we achieved it. I added some extra parts in my home studio to fill it out a bit, but essentially what you hear on there is how our band sounds. It’s opened up the opportunity for us to orchestrate our next album at Abbey Road, which we are doing right now, so it’s fair to say that Beginnings definitely started the ball rolling for where we are going.

Kendra: Also, did you take any little memento after you recorded at Abbey Road Studios?

John: We asked all the orchestra players to autograph the main score sheet for one of our favourite tracks that they played on. It looks beautiful, all these signatures on a piece of work that we are really proud of. Definitely framing that one. We took a lot of photos and filmed some of the recordings, which I’m sure will mean a lot to us in years to come. It was just such great experience. So many beautiful albums made there, such beautiful equipment. You can feel the history. Seeing the original mixing desks that Dark Side Of The Moon and those Beatles records were made on… playing the same pianos… we’re feeling pretty lucky at the moment.

Kendra: The video for your single, “The Balcony Tale,” was cute and reminded me of an indie rom-com. Did you guys have any part in the treatment?

John: The credit for the “The Balcony Tale” filmclip goes to our friend and collaborator DAVROS, who wrote and directed the piece. He came to us with the vision and had pretty much the whole thing covered. We fell in love with his script. It’s a great take on the lyrics and we loved that it was his interpretation, rather than mine. I’m his music composer on commercial work, it’s a great relationship. I’d recommend checking out his showreel, which is finally up!

Kendra: Just curious now, is there a romantic flick you would have loved to pen a song for?

John: Haha! I hadn’t thought about it before, but you know I’d actually really love to do that. A really good romantic flick would be nice…I absolutely love the movie in Water For Elephants and I love the score too. It’s a beautiful film. To have a song on that soundtrack would have been incredible.

Kendra: Now for a little game of “Tour, Record, Cover.” Basically the same concept as “Fuck, Marry, Kill.” So out of John Mayer, Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams…who would you want to tour with, record with and just do a cover song of – and let us know what song of theirs you’d cover.

John: Damn that’s tough. Tour with I’d have to go with John Mayer. His music changed my life right when I started to write my own. He’s the consummate professional. To tour with him would be a life highlight. Obviously I’d love to tour with Ryan Adams and Bob Dylan too! I’ll go with Ryan Adams for recording with. He’s my favourite songwriter, to have his input on my tunes would be something else. And well Bob Dylan has written some of the most beautiful songs in the history of humanity, so I’ll cover him any day of the week. Let’s go with ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ 🙂

Kendra: What are your guys plans for the rest of 2016?

John: The next few weeks in London we will be working on finishing this debut full length album with our producer Julian Emery. Then back to Australia for an East Coast Australian tour in November, which we’re really looking forward to. Then just wrapping up the mixes for the album and planning the release strategy. Hopefully we can release it sooner rather than later!

Kendra: I don’t care if it’s fall where I am. I’m still in summer mode and thinking of the beautiful coasts you all have down there. With that, if you had to make a mixtape for a day on the sand, what five songs would have to be on it?

John: Nice question! It’s slightly diverse but these would make my day on the sand pretty great.
George Stanford – “My Own Worst Enemy”
Ratt – “Nobody Rides For Free”
2Pac and Dre – “California Love”
Anderson .Paak – “Heart Don’t Stand A Chance”
Paul Kelly – “How To Make Gravy”


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