“Funky, Headstrong & Nostalgic” | Interview with mango bone

A dreamy instrumental with jazzy vibes, sweet licks and a touch from the gamechanging ’90s electronic music. Listen to mango bone’s New Utopia that is part of their new digital dystopia ep. 

Read our discussion with the duo below!

Describe your sound in three words

Funky, Headstrong & Nostalgic.

You mostly focus on instrumental music. Tell us the main idea behind New Utopia and also tell us a few things about your creative process in general.

New Utopia is the second track from our ‘digital dystopia EP’ which is the third release under our ‘mango bone’ moniker. It’s a follow up to our previously released EP titled ‘faux suave’. That was a purely uptempo 90s-esque deep house release, and these latest tracks are a half-time downtempo companion for that music.

As we do for all our tracks, we sketch our groove ideas first, laying out an initial arrangement of drums and bass over some looped music samples. By doing this we try to set a clear direction and vibe. For this EP we asked the very talented Jonny Tobin (Canada) to lay down the keys and synth parts. With these parts, it was easy for us to arrange and produce a compelling sonic soundscape. For this and most other tracks we are given from session players, we will usually rewrite the drums and refine the basslines according to the updated arrangement and new musical ideas.

Our productions are always written with the help of a variety of talented session players who heavily influence the finished piece. We try and capture a good performance and their sound. We always hope to create tracks with a headstrong, moody, and enjoyable listening experience.

What is the story behind your name?

We found ‘mango bone’ in a poem! It reminds us of summer in Australia.

Your music catalog has a wide variety. In which place or state of mind do you imagine people might listen to your music?

This project was started as a vehicle to release our house-ier tracks. We have been producing downtempo under our deliBass moniker for many years. This latest release would probably be considered more downtempo or lofi-ish. But we do write our tracks with groove in mind, hoping people will dance or at least head-nod. We’ve had plenty of feedback suggesting our music may also be the soundscape for a cocktail or two on an idyllic beach landscape. Could be worse!

We produce tracks that are original but familiar sounding which heavily reference ‘underground’ music from the 90s and early 00s. We try to keep the arrangements interesting. We think of them as filmic, in the sense they tell a story. They may be anchored on simple chord progressions but there are always some unexpected surprises and a nice payoff for the listener.

Artists and people who have influenced and inspired you?

As a production duo with very different musical backgrounds, we have a wide range of influences – from classic disco and funk bands such as Sly & the Family Stone, Chic, Sister Sledge and Earth, Wind & Fire to electronic music pioneers such Todd Terry, Kevin Saunderson, Herbert and Tosca to modern producers such as Mndsgn, Lofi Coffee, Tenderlonious and Nate Mercereau.

If you had to choose one Synthesizer (analog or digital) which one would it be?

That’s a difficult question! For production we primarily use Omnisphere and Keyscape for sound design. If we had to choose one hardware synth it might have to be the Prophet Rev2 purely for its lush analog sound. However, most of our music focusses on electric piano so we couldn’t do without the beautiful 73 key Black Sparkle Vintage Vibe piano which is the centre piece of our studio here in Melbourne, Australia.

Which book should we read while listening to your music?

A favourite in the sci-fi genre – ‘Hyperion’ by Dan Simmons. Well written with some great original ideas about what the future of humanity might encounter.

How did you spend the social isolation period and what do you have in your To-Do list now?

Learning to write instrumental music! With Melbourne’s transformation from the world’s most liveable city to the world’s most locked down city, we could no longer do in-person recording sessions as a duo or with anyone else for that matter.

But with every cloud there’s a silver lining, as they say. We soon learned to love it and managed to finish a 15-track album which we are currently mixing for our ‘deliBass’ project. This is our first album which we are very excited to share and expect to release by the end of 2021. We are also working on the next EP for mango bone which will be a follow up to ‘digital dystopia’.

mango bone (Jon Mellor + OOMZ) / Melbourne, Australia

Thank you!

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