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  • Nassima Alloueche

A TENDER Portrait: The Dynamic Duo is Back

As TENDER emerges from a 4-year hiatus, the members of this eclectic duo, James Cullen and Dan Cobb, share what they’ve been up to and the legacy of their music.

Since the pandemic, TENDER, composed of James Cullen and Dan Cobb, have entered new chapters of their lives. Despite now both being married with children and living in different cities - Cullen lives in London, with Cobb now in Brighton - their decades-long friendship continues to flourish. It is these profound transformations and continuous changes that have inspired the name of their latest album, ‘FLUX.’

Set to be released on the 6th September, FLUX holds an ever-new, almost futuristic character that has been missing from the music scene since the band’s last album, and is testament to their deep creative connection. Melodies of soft synths perfectly balance with classic guitar sounds and magnetic vocals, as the songs delve into the deepest emotional territories explored in any TENDER album. However, it also marks their most lighthearted and playful record yet, reflecting the newfound freedom and excitement accompanying their personal evolution. 

Their latest single from the album to be released, ‘sprinkles’, showcases the duo's signature lush and mysterious production style. Anchored by a robust trip-hop groove, the song ascends to euphoric heights through the ethereal vocals of lead singer James Cullen, blending seamlessly with intricate pitched-up samples and atmospheric synths. Speaking about the single’s themes, the duo explained that ‘sprinkles’ is about; “Going through a life altering event with someone. Wondering if you feel the same about what has happened and if it will affect the love you share.” 

In a myriad of music genres and an ultra-saturated market, TENDER’s sound never seems to go out of style; the duo has found its niche and curated a loyal following of over 366,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. Despite their remarkable success, with their songs appearing in a long list of movies and TV shows, including ‘Never Have I Ever’ and ‘How to Get Away With Murder’, the pair remains grounded. 

But this wasn’t always the case. During our chat, Dan and James recall that before TENDER they used to be part of larger bands. However, creative differences often clashed and space for experimentation shrunk in the overlapping voices of many band members. So, the duo decided to strike out on their own, recognising in each other something that works

And almost 10 years later, it still does. The question of the ‘how’ is hard to answer when the response is simple;  they love what they do. TENDER’s new music shows the fruits of a friendship solidified by the act of creating music together.  It’s a reminder that in a cut-throat industry, music doesn’t need to be about competition, but first and foremost about connection. What we have with TENDER is an image of dedication and the symbiotic relationship between life and music. 

Despite juggling their music careers with everyday lives as young fathers, their gratitude to their job continues to be genuine and well expressed. In the chaos of life, listening to them is a reminder of the delicate softness of our feelings and much like James and Dan’s friendship, the TENDER sound is a constant in the world of electronic-based music, a sound that feels both brand new with each song and yet immediately comforting. 

Follow TENDER on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube  & listen to their new album single ‘sprinkles’ here.


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