Catch Up With: Tender

Ahead of their Islington Assembly Hall headline show, we caught up with electronic duo Tender. With two LPs and over 150 million streams under their belt, James Cullen and Dan Cobb are committed to connecting with their audience further with a more real-time approach. We chatted about their pre-show rituals, lockdown life in the UK and what we can expect from their forthcoming releases.

First of all, how are you both? How are you coping with the lockdown at the moment?

We’re doing OK. Haven’t been able to see each other as we don’t live together anymore. I’m (Dan) based in Brighton and James is in South London. We’re a bit Zoom quizzed out right now.

You teased that you’ll be releasing some new music soon, are you able to tell us anything about what we can expect?

We’ve just got back a couple of new mastered singles and we’re looking forward to putting them out into the world. There’s a slightly slower, sultry one and then a faster, more danceable one to mix it up.

When you released your latest single ‘Living,’ you spoke about how you wanted to make sure there wasn’t much time between your songs being written and their release, to keep them feeling current. Why is this important to you both as a duo?

When we first started out, it was something that really resonated with ourselves as well as our fan base as we were able to just release things off the cuff, as and when we felt ready. It meant the new songs were relevant to how we felt at that time rather than released 18 months later when we’d moved on or grown as people in a different way to how the song described.

Which artists would you say have been the biggest influence on your own music?

We listen to a lot of different things and there’s not one artist that we look to for immediate traits, but we listen to Bon Iver, Tame Impala, Jungle, Caribou, Air, The National and tons more.

Can you tell us how you usually approach live shows? Do you have any pre-show rituals?

We have 3 live members that join us for touring. A drummer, a bassist and a multi instrumentalist, who is a new addition.

Before the shows we look to seek out a good local food spot, often ramen or pho as it’s a bit lighter than most things that make you wanna puke when you’re performing 45 mins later. Then before we go on, we’ll make a gin and tonic for the stage and sing a song about our US sound guy to get us in the mood.

Sounds like a fool-proof routine! What have been your most memorable shows over the last few years?

The show we did in Mexico City stands out a lot for me, because of how enthusiastic the crowd were, I’ve never been so proud of something I’ve been a part of. Also the food was another level.

When you’re out on tour, what are the home comforts you miss the most?

A regular chance to wash our clothes and being able to cook our own food. We like eating out, but the options can get a bit limited between cities.

Who would be on your dream festival line up?

Bon Iver, Phoebe Bridgers, Khruangbin, Father John Misty, The National, Air, Justice, Parcels, Caribou, Glass Animals, Arctic Monkeys.

Sounds like that would be an amazing festival! What’s the one song you both wish you’d written?

Harvest Moon by Neil Young

Finally, we are a team of foodies over here at Islington Assembly Hall so most importantly (!), if you could only eat one food forever, what would it be?


Tender will play Islington Assembly Hall on 30 September 2021, tickets are available now. 

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