With the hangovers and headaches from excessive head-banging just beginning to simmer away after Electric Picnic weekend, we talked to one of the standout performers from the festival, Dublin grime artist Mango. Mango was involved in one of the most creative and most talked about sets from the weekend alongside Irish artists Erica Cody, Jess Kav, Jafaris and Mo K. Together they performed a hip-hop medley with live instrumentation from the RTE Concert Orchestra. Below is our interview with the main man himself, Mango.
STACKD – Being Irish and performing as part of a Hip-Hop act at such a high profile Irish Music Festival is something that has never truly been achieved by anyone before. How did the opportunity come about for yourself to perform alongside other rising Irish talent AND the RTE Concert Orchestra?
MANGO – The whole concept came from MathMan and DJ Mo K. Last year RTÉ had brought Jenny Greene and the orchestra to EP and the reaction had been huge, this year they wanted to level up and do something bigger and different. So they reached out to Erica, Jafaris, Jess and myself to be a part of the show only about a month ago and that’s how I became involved. We were chosen not only as four people on top of their game but also because we were friends so could bring a natural chemistry to our aspect of the show.
photo cred: Lucy Foster
S – You performed at the two biggest music festivals in Ireland this summer, how did the Electric Picnic crowd compare to the Longitude crowd earlier on in the season?
M- Yeah me & MathMan have performed at nearly all major festivals this summer and it’s been amazing to see big crowds really engage and support our music. The crowd changes from every gig even though we usually have a good few hardcore fans who make every show. I’ve had young fellas starting mosh pits too, strangely enough, a hen-do at beatyard. Crowds at longitude were younger and rowdier but as fun, as anywhere we’ve played, and the Electric Picnic crowd were more of a mixed bag by nature of the type of festival it is and the fact we played three shows over the weekend. One thing I do love about our crowds is that unlike a lot of rap gigs the crowd isn’t just young lads, it’s all races, all ages, and all sexualities and that’s the great thing to see for myself personally.
S– Do you think that this year’s Electric Picnic will encourage more event organizers to book home grown Hip-Hop artists for higher festival slots in the future?
M- I think seeing the growing appetite for urban music by the younger crowds and the natural success of Irish urban shows, means it only makes sense. People like Kojaque and Versatile lads were filling tents even when they had early slots or clashing with headliners. I think showing that the people want Irish rap and are willing to go out to support will get acts booked a lot more in future. The people who are taking it seriously are reaping rewards right now, and if people match these acts they will too, all boats will rise with the tide.
S- Irish networks like RTE have become increasingly interested in the Hip-Hop scene in Ireland in the past couple of years. Do you believe that this interest will continue and evolve into the future?
M- Hopefully so, it’s always hard to call but there will always be some interest in good home grown music, and I think hip hop has become more than a quirky ‘flavour of the month’ to people in the media so if we continue growing and reaching bigger milestones there will definitely be eyes on us.
S- Aside from performing with the Concert Orchestra, do you feel that your grime-centric sound translates as well in an open festival setting as in a smaller indoor venue?
M- Absolutely, Our sound hasn’t been confined to club music and we have tracks that sound amazing over larger sound systems that you usually only get to play on at larger festivals
S- Which Irish artists would you like to see added to summer festival slots more frequently?
M – All the good ones
S- You were in attendance and/or performing at both “The Truth About Irish Hip Hop” in the Sugar Club and the “Beat Club – Beat Battle & Producer Showcase” in the Bernard Shaw last August. Both of these events witnessed very successful turnouts. Are there any relatively unknown artists from either event that you believe that people should keep an eye out for in the future?
M – I think everyone in the documentary was relatively well known, the beat club though introduced me to a whole host of new talent. There wasn’t one bad beat on the night so I’d suggest people checking the lineup and following these lads music.
S- Do you have any predictions as to where “Irish Hip-Hop” will stand globally a year from now?
M- I think we will need to keep our eyes on who we become nationally before we seek any opinion from overseas. There will be international collaborations but we need to stamp our identity here and let everyone else come to us.
photo cred:Lucy Foster
S- And finally, when can we expect to hear more music from yourself?
M- Sooner than you think.