We are joined by Black Tiger for the 47th Arteq podcast, and we can't wait for you to start jamming this one.
It's an hour and a half of melodic, afro house. This packs a punch of energy. An electric mix filled with grinding bass, rhythmic bells, percussion that moves, and all weaved together so nicely.
Black Tiger aka Trish Tendi has also answered our interview questions with some depth to them, and it is a most enjoyable read.
Black Tiger, thank you for creating such a vibing mix for us. See you at an Arteq event soon. Enjoy the beats fam!
More from Arteq and Black Tiger below.
What direction did you take on the podcast?
It is no secret that I have perfectionist tendencies. I used to be a bit proud of it. But covid-19 helped me to look at myself a bit more closely. I realised that yes I was absolutely capable of being very tightly wound and controlled, I can compartmentalise like a mofo - so as to get every aspect of every part of my life right all the time, and yes I was good at it, the way I was great at being a compliance manager.
Did it give me satisfaction? I'll be real, I get plenty of satisfaction just from doing something really well, even if it's fucking boring lol. I'm a dork like that. But does living like that (or compliance management) spark actual real joy intrinsically in me personally? No it doesn't.
Perfectionism is, I now believe, on the whole, an external thing. It's about the way it looks to other people. Sure it feels good but when I realised that I cared less about what people thought about me (so long as I knew I have given something/someone/a situation/project/problem/job/mix/set my absolute best - and that is usually a given for me haha - what was I so worried about??? If I hadn't worked this out I would never have started. It has taken me a while to internalise the message as well.
We are absolutely our harshest critics usually, and I think chicks suffer from this particularly, men too though - BUT anyone who is going to judge ME more critically than I judge MYSELF (you would have to be in my head to get it, trust me) well they potentially have other issues that probably have little to do with me. I need not concern myself with them.
What's your point Trish? The answer below refers to the first mix I put together. It wasn't quite as good as I knew I could make it. For myself. Intrinsic not extrinsic - I hadn't thrown down my best because I'd had a bit going on that week. But I'm also a little tired of cutting myself all this slack, there's always a bit going on, get over it Trish (lol I can't help myself can I?)
It's a great mix - I made some friends listen to it before I sent it to Arteq - but a couple of the transitions I'm unsure about. Is it lack of experience or is it a thing? That ticking noise that tells me sometimes I'm not quite beatmatched. But in the alternative submission mix - It happens in the first track, I am not trying to beatmatch in the first couple of minutes of a mix. What does it mean? This is not a rhetorical question. Someone set me straight or tell me to stop overthinking.
There are some moments of almost genius (haha I promise I am still humble) in that first mix though - I did something with a loop that made me sit up when I was listening to it. I may be able to recreate some of the magic when I play my first Sunday at Revolver Upstairs soon. I'll let you know on Insta when. Hope I can mix and cry at the same time, fam.
Thank you for coming to my ted talk lol.
To answer the question finally - the mix I submitted for this podcast is just some of my favourite tracks in an order that made sense at the time of mixing. #blacktigervibes #afromelodic on the whole. But I ignore genre unless I have been told specifically. Much of what I like goes with the rest of what I like imho. I hope you enjoy it. You know I love it.
Unless I’ve been asked for a specific genre I generally tend to submit afro house for guest mixes. I can’t get enough of it, and I love the opportunity to introduce music lovers to something new. There’ll be tracks I play that may have been released years ago, to a lot of people who love my vibe, it’s all fresh and new which makes my job that much easier. So I started with afro house but I somehow went a bit rogue lol and slid into techno via melodic house and techno. This podcast was not what I had in mind at all to be honest, but I think it works and I like it.
Why did you decide to go this way?
I didn’t. I knew the track I wanted to start with, I thought it was going to be an afro house mix with a touch of melodic house and techno (I call these my afro-melodic mixes when it’s the two genres). This time I let each track I played inspire the next, it’s like a choose your own adventure or treasure hunt - one step at a time until you have this mix that you’ve made with intention but without overthinking or planning.
What did you use to record this mix?
I am so lucky to have been loaned an RX2 by an amazing and generous friend. If I were giving a speech and saying things like ‘None of this would have been possible without the generosity and help of the following people…’ DJ Bhest would be in that list of names. I’m putting it out there - I’m dreaming of 3CDs and an Allen and Heath mixer, I can’t spend money on them at the moment, maybe the universe will see fit to help me out with that lol.
Where did the name Black Tiger come from?
My Instagram username was so boring back when I first signed up in 2015 was my actual name, other people had some great creative, funny or interesting names. I actually think it was Shannon Briggs who inspired me to change it in 2018 when I finally started using Instagram a bit more. I can’t remember what Shannon’s was back then but it made me want to do better lol. I changed to blacktigercalledtrish.
I used to wear a lot of black all the time, I like that black is all the colours put together, I am black and although somehow this has negative connotations ie black mood, black death, black Saturday, black heart, black magic, honestly it’s ridiculous to me but I digress - black to me is a good thing. Black Tiger was never about my race but I am black and proud so it works. Who doesn’t like tigers but if it was about my favourite animal I would have been ‘blackdogofanydescriptioniwanttopatthemallcalledtrish’ haha. I had some dark stripey markings between my eyes from an unfortunate incident in 2014 that I called my tiger stripes.
Ultimately when I started uploading mixes to soundcloud it was just fun and I called myself le tigre noir. By the time I was booked for the first time (Thanks Mike) I had become Black Tiger Aus, then Black Tiger; now it’s as much my name as the one my parents gave me at birth.
What drives you to DJ?
How it makes me feel. The freedom of movement in dancing. How I felt when there were no dance floors. The energy of a dance floor. I suppose I’m not necessarily driven to DJ, I’m driven to have a mix. That I am allowed to mix my favourite tracks in front of people is a wonderful thing to me because I now know that some people connect with the same things I connect with. Certain tracks make me so happy I’m actually joyful - I’m a chilled happy person generally but joyful is not necessarily the first or tenth word I’d come up with when asked to describe my emotions at any given time. Unless I’m on the dance floor.
Some tracks are so beautiful they make your chest hurt, something in the vocals or a sudden key change or the melody will almost make you catch your breath. Sometimes I will be dancing around (i.e. doing whatever my body does when there are good tunes playing), and I’ll realise I’ve been smiling for an hour. When you get bass face (I love bass. I really do) and you happen to look across the dance floor at nothing in particular and catch the eye of someone whose bass face mirrors yours, that is a feeling I really enjoy.
I am here (on this planet) to be of service - we all are, really, we all have that thing that we can do or offer to make our community, society, world better. I may not be curing cancer or whatever but I need music the way I need air. DJing lets me create these little moments of emotion and connection for people just like me, right now it’s the best way I have to be of service.
What is the favourite gig you have played and why?
All of them.
I don’t know how to quantify or qualify them to be able to pick a favourite. I have many stand outs though - Riva for Rebuke, Riva for Boogs, Riva for Brian Fantana, all of my Revs sets, opening for Eat the Beat in their new home in Collingwood, last night at DaHa Bar for Harry Romero and WM Events and Deep in your Soul.
My first gig stands out to me because I was excited to give it a go but really didn’t have the faith in myself that other people did. It went really well. I was delighted but nonplussed. Every gig has been a vibe bar one because I was too short and it was a horrorshow that I don’t want to think about ever again. My last time at Revs was a vibe. First time I played in daylight at Revs - my eyesight is bad at the best of times. In the cage, lights off, I can only see the decks and the people right in front of me. That morning I looked up and around and it was the biggest crowd I’d played for at Revolver and they were dancing almost in unison to some tribal bassiness I had put on. I was so affected by it I promptly stuffed up, like for real haha ffs what am I like, pressed play and got back to business and the world didn’t end lol. I believe I redeemed myself. Apparently there were people dancing on tables at one point lol.
Section 8 for Beat Therapy Melbourne was a vibe, a bit of a boiler room type feel as someone described it to me, with everyone right up around the decks… they were such a delightful and responsive dance floor, they were an actual gift to me because I was able to trust myself to take that set in a direction I hadn’t necessarily anticipated. XE54 and Poof Doof were beyond my wildest dreams.
Look, I could go on. If I have to pick one it would be the one I played a week and a half after my father passed away in Zimbabwe last year. I started with his favourite track but an edit by Billka - Shine on you Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd. People came drifting over from where they’d been sat on the grass chatting and drinking. Some of my closest friends were there, many familiar faces from Revolver, a number of DJs and promoters I have respected for years too. Blue skies but windy - my clothes were billowing in the wind. At the time I was bereft, grief had me mainly feeling empty and hollow and displaced but those first few minutes of my set, playing that beautiful track on an incredible system - that emptiness disappeared and it felt like my dad was there with me watching over me. And I truly felt the love from everyone that day, that set flowed out from I don’t know where. What a day. Not ashamed to admit that I’m crying typing about it now, it’s a beautiful memory for me. Thank you to everyone who danced and for all of your kind words. You really never know what someone is going through, a kind comment and a hug can make all the difference to someone.
What’s in the pipeline for 2022?
I’m planning on going with the flow for the rest of the year.
Last time I did one of these I said I was not going to split my focus by downloading Ableton so of course I have downloaded Ableton. It is as I feared, once I start I run out of hours very quickly. I do not have quite the right personality for production, I am too results oriented but have a love of instant gratification which means that I am not patient enough to do it properly. Whatever that means.
Twice I couldn’t have a mix for one reason or another so on these two occasions I started messing around with Ableton and refused to do ANYTHING else - I worked out how to make it make sound and recorded them. I needed those 11 hours in total to show me what I can do with next to zero expectation or instruction. I can feel the itching for a third session coming on but I have to make sure I get my other commitments done first because apparently I am incapable of multitasking. It will be a while before I start to fill the gaps in my knowledge - knowledge of production is one massive gap. However - I have 7 minutes of music that I made myself - not incredible by any means, but for once I’m ok with not being an absolute vibe straight out of the gate.
Aside from seeing how that goes I’m hoping to expand my horizons a little this year, spread my wings a bit. Continue talking to a counsellor to work through my emotions instead of tucking them away in a box in the back of my head where they do not disappear but pop up and get in my way in 5 or 10 years. Take up any awesome opportunities that come my way. Continue to try to live as authentic a life as I can, to grow in confidence, which comes with experience which comes with time, and to continue to be of service in any way I can.
What do you see for yourself in the next 3-5 years? What will you have accomplished?
Anything is possible (almost).
I have to look back to answer this question. From where I was in August 2020 when I had that lesson, to the multiple gigs and events and mixes since my first paid gig in February 2021 - it’s a phenomenal lesson to me. For years people would say to me that I could be a DJ. Me, with a corporate career background and no creativity lol. I would look up at whoever was delivering that moment’s dose of bassy goodness and say ‘I could never do that.’ For many reasons that are obvious to me but I won’t get into here, I really thought I was incapable of DJing. I genuinely loved dancing to my favourite music so much that I genuinely wasn’t harbouring a secret desire to try. The lesson is to get out of your own way. Honestly, when I finally did that and had a go, things went quite well.
If music continues to be my jam I am putting it to the universe that I would love to be in the position where I can put two of my favourite things together, travel and music. Why not chase the summer, go to Europe for our winter, play at festivals, play gigs around the world. Why not? Who would have predicted the past year that I’ve had. So, why not.
I don’t have a plan as to how but I will keep learning, upskilling, messing around in Ableton, doing my best by everyone, giving 100% at gigs, treating everyone with respect, standing up for myself as an artist, woman, woman of colour - when I need to (assertive not aggressive, y’all), working with people whose message and vibe aligns with mine. That has worked for me so far… I think in 5 years I’ll be exactly where I should be.
Not an achievement career-wise but I left a toxic relationship four or so years ago and have finally processed and released most of the residual shit that I hadn’t even acknowledged I was carrying around. I’m getting out of my own way in that respect but I’m in no rush. Happiness is an inside job. And sadly I don’t think I would be bringing the heat the way I’ve been able to if I had another grown person’s needs to consider as well as my own.
Incidentally I’m big into mindfulness - learn from the past, let it go. Plan for the future but don’t pine after it. Look forward to things like holidays etc, but always be present in your now.
There’s 10 minutes left before the world self-destructs, what song do you put on?
As if I have a straightforward answer for this one lol.
Off the top of my head I’m going with What about Love by Faithless. Or Shine on You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd, Billka edit. Or Acumulee by Super Flu because it is not only a #VIBE it is over 10 minutes long - ta da - no awkward silence for a couple of minutes whilst we wait for the end of the world. Final answer has to be Acumulee by Super Flu.
Is there anything on your mind that you would like to say?
I love the connections I make as a DJ whilst I’m playing. Off the job, I love that I am an easily approachable person, that people generally feel comfortable coming to have a chat with me. This was the case before I started playing and it is certainly the case now. I am usually in the mood for a chat, not always a huge deep and meaningful - if you stop me mid dance on the dance floor I am not necessarily going to be keen for a 15 minute conversation because I was literally in the middle of something lol - but certainly a quick chat anytime. I want people to continue to feel comfortable saying hello, by all means, I love you all.
However, please let me decide how we interact if you are male and we don’t know each other well. For any number of reasons I may be feeling like a fist pump rather than a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I spent most of lockdown on my own in a small apartment, physical contact from strange men (sorry guys, it really isn’t personal, just give me a chance to at least recognise you a few times) is not my jam at all. If you see me at Revs or wherever and there is a lot of hugging going on, just be conscious that I’ve known those people for years, some nearly 10 years. I am not as tactile as it may look from the outside, it’s really not personal at all.
Don’t stop coming over to me to say nice things about my music haha I love that lol but please don’t come at me from behind and touch me, especially not the small of my back or one of my hips, to get my attention. Basically less is more when you don’t know someone personally. And I would LOVE it if when I’m playing, people, especially men I don’t know personally, do not stand behind me. You are vibing and having a good time but I am anxious and a little panicky because I feel an unfamiliar presence behind me and it is making me uncomfortable so I can’t focus the way I like to.
Anyway... I love music, I love dancing, I love our community, mutual respect is my jam, bass is my jam, be kind or be quiet lol, toxic ego is not my jam, loyalty and trust are, equality most definitely. I don’t care how much you have in the bank or your family background or what they own or do not own, we are all equal. Every single one of us.
And I mean it when I say ‘you know I love it, you know I love you.’
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