A Q&A with Catching Mangoes
Sussex friends, Brighton-based, concept album coming-up – here’s Max from Catching Mangoes…
What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
Our latest release is the title track of our upcoming concept album Kevin’s Town. This is a project that we first had the idea for way back when we were just wee boys of 16, practicing in our guitarist’s parents’ attic. We came up with the first verse of the song back then and even the basic storyline for the album, but we were never able to turn it into a full song. However, over last year’s lockdown we finally had loads of free time on our hands and we thought, why not give the concept album another go? So yeah, the song actually means quite a lot to us because it marks the beginning of what ended up being a 6-year journey to the point where we were able to finish our original idea. It also marks the beginning of young Kevin’s journey to escape the town and find his father.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
There’s one song on the album called ‘Columbo Chris’ which ended up being the longest song on the album, which we really laboured over. It took us ages to write something that we were happy with and the whole song completely changed about two weeks before we recorded. Before it was changed it was way slower and we really struggled to find a vocal melody for the verse. We nearly gave up on it and were tempted to accept that there was just going to be one song on the album that we didn’t like. Luckily, we turned it around with two weeks to go and now I think it’s probably my favourite song on the album.
Who produced the release – what did they bring to it?
So, we recorded at Brighton Electric studios with a sound engineer called Alex Gordon who we’re friends with and have worked with before. Without him recording and mixing us, the whole thing would have been a mess. He was super patient and helped keep our mood’s height through 14-hour days. He also helped us get a more old-school sound by getting us to record without click and chose which mics and amps we should use to get the sound we wanted.
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
Hopefully, our listeners come away with a smile on their face. Our music has a sense of humour; we’re fully aware of how silly our concept album is, but that’s why we had so much fun writing it. The basic rule that we had for writing was that if somebody came up with an idea that made us laugh, then we were going to use it. We also make the sort of music you can have li’l dance to. We deliberately went for a more old-school rock vibe on this album because of the blues influences that era has. It gives the music that sort of groove that you can’t help tapping your foot and wiggling your hips to.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
Usually, one of us comes up with an idea and brings it to a practice and then from there we all kind of contribute and it usually happens quite organically. After we have a basic structure, we’ll probably record a demo and then experiment with extra guitar parts and vocal harmonies to see if we can improve the song.
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
The Doors’ LA Woman album really influenced us just because the whole album was recorded live as a jam session originally, and you can really tell through the energy of the songs they wrote. We definitely tried to recreate that sort of energy. We’re also fond of a theatrical and over the top harmony which I think is a Beatles influence but, then again, who hasn’t been influenced by The Beatles in some way?
What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
According to our Spotify analytics, we’re absolutely bloody huge in Mexico. The top three cities in the world with the most Mango listeners are London, Brighton and Mexico City, haha. So yeah, I think we’d like to tour Mexico and see all the adoring fans that Spotify claims we have there.
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
I think I’d pick ‘Columbo Chris’, just because there’s loads of different sections in there and it shows off our different playing styles.
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
World domination? Nah, probably not. We haven’t really talked too much about big plan; I guess we’re more focused on taking each stage as it comes. I would love for our upcoming album to be received well and for people to understand what it is we’re trying to do, because it’s not something you come across too often. And if that turned into us getting more people to our gigs and gaining some traction that way, that would be great. I guess a realistic dream would be to get the opportunity to record another album and maybe receive some outside funding for it…
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
If you’re already a Mango fan, we salute you and your support to our cause! If you’re not, but you wanna hear a modern-day rock opera about a young boy escaping his authoritarian style town and trying to find his father, then we have just the album for you! Hop aboard the good ship Mango and we’ll take you on a journey far away!
For more info visit: catchingmangoes.com