“If I didn’t have music, I would feel internally suffocated.”
Written by Arnold van der Walt
The Colorado-based wave producer, M!NGO, has just released ‘26 Grand’ on The Playground; a brand new track from his upcoming EP ‘Planet M!NGO’, to be released via Vibe Digital and available everywhere from 20th September. Pre-order ‘Planet M!NGO‘ here.
M!NGO’s first full-length release, ‘M!NGO’ was only released in 2017 and he has since made his mark on the rapidly growing underground wave scene. He has toured with some of the biggest names in the genre like Sidewalks and Skeletons, Brothel, Skit, Gangus and Deadcrow. He has even performed in the one city where wave has really exploded in recent times; London.
His new release, ‘26 Grand’ is true to this American producer’s style which combines trap and wave effortlessly. Accompanied by siren-like vocals that lures the listener in, only to be hit square in the face with deep trap inspired bass beats. It’s a smooth yet raw sound that quickly turns frantic, only to be interrupted at the 0:56 mark, introducing what is arguably the best part of the whole track. Aggressive and poignant, ‘26 Grand’ takes no prisoners. But as the song progresses, the production is toned down and the song relaxes. The tension has been relieved, and now the listener is able to bask in textured layers of wave. A bold move to have the song relax the further it pushed a long, but all in all, a risk that pays off.
We sat down with M!NGO and spoke about The Playground’s premiere of his track ‘26 Grand’, his upcoming EP and why wave music isn’t just a genre.
Hi M!NGO! Before we get into the swing of things, if someone asks you who you are and what you do, how would you describe yourself?
I’m just a dude that loves emotional music. I make tracks to express things I can’t properly put into words, and I love people more than pretty much anything on this planet.
To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
M!NGO music… I try to bring a different vibe each track. I like to use a lot of eerie melodies to express my voice. But when it comes to bass, I LOVE BASS. Distortion as a whole has always been a really big influence on my sound, so I always try to relay some sort of aggression or soul energy in my music. I really appreciate the distorted weird things in life, it’s kinda molded my vision for sounds.
How did it all start for you in the electronic music scene? Was there a moment in your life that you decided “this is what I want to do for a living”?
I used to go to metal shows and I always loved getting lost in the crowd and putting my hood up to disappear. Music has always been my escape and clubs with loud BASS always helped me clear my head. But when I met Troyboi in 2015 on the Mad Decent Boat party and he spent an hour talking to me about everything music, it really hit home. At the time I was working two jobs and promoting for local Denver shows, but trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, Troyboi really gave me a shove to take a risk. I had always admired Troyboi, Caspa and Rusko, but never thought I had the ability to make tracks at the same professional level. I then fell into Plastician‘s radio show on Rinse FM in London and my life changed. Plastician showed me love unlike any person I’ve ever met in the music industry. He started playing my tracks on Rinse and I was at work listening to the show every Tuesday. The first time I heard my track and “Stish” say my name, I lost it. From there I really gained a mentor and a friend, Plastician gave me feedback, told me things he didn’t like and what I needed to better my career. He honestly gave me the confidence to believe in myself and in M!NGO.
Not too long ago, The Playground premiered a track from Guilt Chip, ‘Turbo’ which you were also part of. The two of you have released a couple of tracks together. How did you and Guilt Chip end up working together?
Blake is one of my best friends. We actually have known each other since we were 5 years old and it’s been so much fun making tunes with him. It’s so easy; we have the same brain I think. We also have several other collabs that will surface in the future.
Speaking of Guilt Chip, your new EP ‘Planet M!NGO’ will be released 20 September, and it also includes another collab between the two of you. How did the creative process differ this time round as opposed to last time?
‘Turbo’ was Guilt Chip starting a track and I finished it. ‘You’re The Same’ is the reverse of that situation. We both had dance tune ideas that we wanted to get out and decided to swap projects; they both worked out beautifully. We don’t even ever really ask the other one what they are gonna do or what direction the track will go, we just surprise each other.
With the release of your premiere via The Playground, ’26 Grand’, what are you hoping fans take away from this?
I wrote ‘26 Grand’ to vent, get some stuff off my chest and clear my emotions. I had some friends kinda really screw me over and I had to pick up my life and move on. ‘26 Grand’ represents that no matter how much money you have, being a real person and staying true TO YOU pays off in the end. The track is a story from start to finish about a problem starting, the climax of the problem and the end of the track is the resolve of my anger. I really just wanna use this track to split people’s WIG TOPS back though.
What was the creative drive behind the birth of ‘Planet M!NGO’?
It’s a taste of my world. Like, “WELCOME TO MY PLANET HI I’M M!NGO”. I already explained ‘26 Grand’ and ‘Turbo’, but ‘Cool Like Felix’ I wrote when I was playing a show in Chicago with Deadcrow and he was playing PS2 like all day. I got salty and was like “man, I wish I could be cool like Felix”, so I wrote the track with him in the other room playing Burnout lol.
‘Medi’ was a track idea that started from me listening to old medi-dub music, but I wanted to make it a dance tune that had more story and less monotone vibes.
‘i18n’ stands for a computer term that means internationalization. I made this track to describe the boundaries that music has broken for me. I literally have family all over the world now, because music had brought us together. So ‘i18n’ describes all my international family.
Gary Numan is quoted as saying: “I have always been far more interested in sound than technique, and how sounds work together, how they can be layered. I think electronic music, (in its infancy anyway) allowed us to create music in a way that hadn’t really been possible before. It created a new kind of musician.” What are your thoughts on this statement?
Gary has a very good point. I’ve always used music to express how I felt at that moment in time whether that was playing an instrument, singing or producing. Having the access to sit down at a laptop and speak my soul language with synths and samples and people understand my vibe and mood, to me that’s so beautiful. If I didn’t have music, I would feel internally suffocated. There is a thing to say for an artist that can use minimal sound and still capture a listener’s emotions and feelings.
Wave music has been growing quite a lot recently, becoming the one of the fastest growing sub-genres as of late. Why do you think that is?
To be honest, people might hate me, but I don’t see wave as a genre, but more so a underground community of people that love music. Wave sounds come from all over the world and so do wave fans/producers. I think the appeal to wave is that there are no rules. You can honestly make whatever you want and call it whatever you want. It could be garage vibes, it could be trap, it could be a huge reese baseline, detuned sounds, anything. It doesn’t matter if it’s good music and fits the vibe; the underground wave family will show love. Call it a genre/community/whatever you want, bottom-line the wave scene is full of real people that love music and share music with each other because it connects us from IRL to URL. WE WAVE FAM.
Any new artists on your radar?
Cardio, ROIILY, GUILT CHIP, Bounds, INFDL, JUST CUUZ, SOMBRA, UNNHOLY.
If you could collaborate with, or perform alongside any artist, who would it be? And why?
Rusko no question. He’s been one of my largest influences and inspirations since I found bass music.
Before we say goodbye, thank you again for taking the time to chat to us. Apart from the release of ‘Planet M!NGO’, what does the future hold for M!NGO?
I’m gonna make as many tracks as I can make, and I WANNA PLAY IN YOUR CITY!!!! – HMU
Famous last words….
Nobody loves you more than M!NGO ~ #flocklife
Support M!NGO on Spotify.