Mike Mangione Brings Blues to Orchestral Folk Music
Recording music can often be considered an ethereal process. One can use a variety of techniques with hope of a “perfect” outcome, but often there’s an unexplainable force, a higher power, of sorts, that when combined with pure musicality that creates sonic purity, perfection in its simplest form. With his forthcoming live EP, Milwaukee, WI-based, orchestral folk artist, Mike Mangione embodies this ethereal process.
Using only a single microphone and no overdubs, this live EP and its accompanying videos bring listeners back to the essential roots of recorded and live music. Something about the chemistry of the people in the room, their relationship to the single microphone and the setting brings forth a special aspect of music that is often overlooked in today’s industry.
Having spent the majority of the last decade performing and writing “orchestral folk music” (American Songwriter), Mangione has stepped away from his former project, Mike Mangione & The Union to write and record his upcoming full length release and the Three Days EP featuring a new collective of musicians, The Kin, which includes members of the rhythm section of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
Leading up to the full length release, produced by Matt Linesch (aka Linny) at the legendary United Recording Studios in Los Angeles, CA, this forthcoming EP features 2 of the album’s tracks and a collaboration with the acclaimed Peter Mulvey, giving listeners a feel for what’s to come from Mangione. Three Days EP is due out on May 19, 2017.
1. What do you say is your signature sound/style?
I have what is called an Americana background: Blues, folk, country. But we have been called Orchestral folk and I like that a lot. I try to write string parts as orchestral voices rather than fiddles noodling in the background. This, combined with my brothers style on guitar, creates a pretty lush ethereal sound that works well with the lyrical content.
2. What’s your mantra as you proceed in your career?
Write music you like and find others like you to share it with. It’s a slower path but one that I rarely get lost on.
3. Which do you prefer, recording or live shows?
They are so different and both are great opportunities, but if I had to choose, I would go with performance. I love the vulnerability and potential connection made through it. I always find myself trying to create a “live experience” in the studio in order to get myself out of the way. I do, however, love the permanence of the studio. It is fun to build something and declare it finished, rather than play a song differently every night. But I am all about connection and live has it in spades.
4. Who is your audience and who do you think they should be?
You always hope everyone but when you get down to it I would say contemplative types. I naturally write music that is reflective and patient. My audience should be teenagers … they are crazy and rabid social media users. My audience enjoys the music and then takes a nap…
5. What is the point in which you throw down the gauntlet or give up and just do music for fun?
I think the point in which you make music for fun is when you don’t desperately rely on it to make your ends meet on a day to day basis. If you can generate a livable income with breathing room, you can enjoy it. When you are barley getting by playing music, it will kill you on the inside. I think the majority of working artists bounce between the two. The key is protecting yourself during the dry spells and being smart during high tide.
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