Mangoose is an unconventional band with an experimental, diverse sound within the UNC music community. Inspired by a variety of different influences, they use their musical improvisation skills to excite crowds in a range of different venues, from big fraternity parties to professional settings, such as the Cat’s Cradle back room.
The band was formed in the spring of 2017 through mutual connections and shared musical interests. Bassist Patrick Lydon went to high school with guitarist Brad Walter, and he met drummerBen McEntire at a Grateful Dead cover band concert. McEntire then introduced the others to keyboardist Ian Payne, and they soon after got together just to jam and play music together.
“I’d say what brought us together was our mutual love for the band Phish,” Lydon said. “That is a lot of how a lot of our sound formed because Phish is based mainly on improvisation. So, we did a lot of jamming and let the music take us where it thought it would go rather than thinking about it too hard.”
Although Mangoose formed their style in the vein of legendary jam bands such as Phish and the Grateful Dead, the band simply uses these artists as a jumping point for their musical adventuring. When asked about their biggest musical influences outside of the jam band category, each band member gave distinct answers.
Lydon said he is inspired heavily by Paul Simon, particularly the South African musical style of the album Graceland. McEntire, who is a student in the jazz program at UNC with Payne and Walter, said he is inspired by experimental funk artists such as Herbie Hancock, and that a lot of Walter’s guitar playing is inspired by classic rock legends like Jimi Hendrix. Payne said he draws inspiration for his piano and keyboard playing from Kyle Hollingsworth and local legend Ben Folds.