For anyone who has been a longtime follower of Canadian jazz/instrumental hip-hop group Badbadnotgood, it was widely accepted that co-founder Matthew “Matty” Tavares was one of, if not the driving force behind the band. The band’s final two records with Tavares, 2015’s Sour Soul collaboration with Ghostface Killah and 2016’s Polaris Prize-nominated IV, raised their profile considerably as both in-demand studio musicians and a must-see touring act. So it came as a surprise when Tavares announced he was leaving the band in October of 2019, when it felt like the foursome was at the peak of their success both creatively and monetarily.
Today, Tavares shared a statement via his Instagram airing out his grievances in very unfiltered fashion. He explains how his exit wasn’t as rosy as it may have seemed, and that the band unfollowed him on Instagram shortly after he left. “When I was about to leave, I was told by management to play along with this narrative so they don’t sacrifice their XL Records deal, and I did, but the record [2021’s Talk Memory] is out now and I can tell that the story will not be set straight by them,” he begins, before outlining how he recorded and mixed IV himself, filmed the band’s first videos with his equipment, edited videos, did all of the artwork and package design for albums, made their website, etc… You can feel how angry he is in this statement, which often veers into stream of consciousness territory, as if he’s been bottling this up for years (which he has):
“Just so everything is clear, I left the band on my own volition. Leaving the master rights to a band that has 4 million monthly listeners on Spotify, to a band whose touring income was at insane heights, with an identity that was consistently validated and praised by our peers and the general public. The environment was so negative that all this didn’t matter, I needed to get out, I couldn’t take it anymore.”
He goes on to say that “Alex” (band member Alexander Sowinski) held it over his head when he stopped touring with the band and that led to a pattern. He outlines a troubling incident in South Africa that he says was the last straw and “sums it all up.” It’s a tough turn to take in for fans of the band, but Tavares, who has since been producing and songwriting with acts like Shawn Mendes, Mustafa, Jessie Ware, and Camila Cabello says that he feel “really, really grounded and happy, but I need to live honestly.”
Read Tavares’ entire statement here.