Friday, March 7, 2014
By MIKE OLCOTT
A young band often makes the mistake of giving off even the slightest whiff of entitlement, otherwise known as being really into yourself. These bands, however talented, usually hemorrhage fans and watch helplessly as egos corrode the fragile dynamic among players in a hurry.
Mango Floss, having toured New England for the past six months, will make a stop in Portland tonight. It all started at Bowdoin College.
Mary Schiavoni photo
What's on SARAH WOOD'S iPod
"The City," The Dismemberment Plan
"Dirt," Wu Lyf
"Get Some," Lykke Li
"The Magic Place," Julianna Barwick
"Let England Shake," PJ Harvey
"Lahaha," Shugo Tokumaru
"Bizness," tUnE yArDs
"Eyes Be Closed," Washed Out
"Heart in Your Heartbreak," Pains of Being Pure at Heart
A ROBOT PRESENTS: MANGO FLOSS, WHEN PARTICLES COLLIDE AND ELIZABETH TAILLON
WHEN: 8 tonight
WHERE: Flask Lounge, 117 Spring St., Portland
HOW MUCH: Free
This is why it's fun to encounter happy-go-lucky crews like the once-goofy members of Mango Floss. That they are in it only for the ride makes their tunes that much more buoyant and likable. It's also what allows a procrastinated side project to blossom into a lively stage show.
Read what Sarah Wood (vocals, guitar, keyboards) has to say, then check out Mango Floss' abundance of great hook toe-tappers at The Flask Lounge tonight. Bet it'll loosen you right up.
Describe the origins of Mango Floss.
Mango Floss exists because I'm all talk and Farhan Rahman is all action. We met at Bowdoin, but didn't start playing together until about a year and a half ago, presumably because Farhan got sick of me talking about writing music and never following through. After college we recorded our EP "Monsters" with our friend Peter McLaughlin (of the Milkman's Union). Thanks to Farhan's determination to keep playing, Peter has stuck around, and we've spent the last six months or so doing shows around New England.
What's the trick to making a song catchy?
If I knew a trick to making a song catchy, I definitely wouldn't tell you. We've managed to stumble onto it a number of times, and I do mean literally stumble -- I have zero music theory background. You can always tell when elements of a song are working or not, and the only real trick is knowing what parts to let go and what parts to push further. And the only proof is if you catch a roommate humming your songs.
Does the band ever have extended spats?
We don't really have spats, I don't think. We run into tension sometimes because Farhan lives in Boston, and it's hard to keep us all on the same page with band issues when we see each other so infrequently. The only spat that ever occurred was when I wrote a song about Farhan, and he rightfully refused to play it. I've since rewritten the lyrics, but you can tell which one it is when we play on Thursday, because he will make a sour face.
What's the most unfortunate quality to see in a young band?
Unfortunate quality probably hubris, though I haven't encountered it. I imagine it would be difficult to play with people convinced of some sort of destiny, especially since we are rather laid back and just want to play.
Any secret ingredients in what you're cooking up for the next show?
No secret ingredients! There will be at least two new songs debuting.
How does Portland nurture up-and-coming performers?
Portland has been amazing. With such a tight-knit community, if one person hears you and likes you, your name spreads. Honestly, if we hadn't played our first show in Portland, it would have been impossible for us to have gotten to this place, being part of a community and playing big shows like Picnic and Hot August Night, aka Party Barge (at Space Gallery Aug. 7).
Do you make eye contact with audience members? Why or why not?
I usually make eye contact with people I know. Does that count? I usually know most of the people in the crowd, so hopefully I will be tested soon. I used to spend most shows resisting the urge to stare at my shoes.
Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland and Boston.