Mangrenade on living in the rust belt, political rebellion and violence at shows

Like all great modern things, this interview started on the internet. Myself and Ben Morgan (bass and vocals) of Mangrenade met on a Facebook group dedicated to fans of the band Every Time I Die. He posted about his band and I took a moment to listen to it and was pleasantly surprised for what sounds hit my eardrums. After that I scheduled an interview with him, which was an absolute joy. Read it below and make sure to check them out!

How’d your band name come about?

Mangrenade is taken from Jersey Shore. Nick (Guitars and vocals) and I were on the phone, talking about starting another band together. He was watching it and started roaring with laughter in the middle of my sentence… after calming down he tells me one of the female leads on the show just referred to the male version of a camel toe as a mangrenade. I started laughing like crazy and we’ve been Mangrenade ever since! We like humor, it’s important not to take oneself too seriously. It’s just life after all, what’s the big deal?!

What drives you to create the type of music that you do?

I’m driven by EVERYTHING in the world around me. I’ve always identified with heavy sounds, loud vocals, and profound lyrics. I don’t claim my lyrics to be profound, but they’re at least thoughtful. We grew up in the rust belt, it’s bleak there. You become frustrated with the lack of diversity in thought and lifestyle when one day you realize YOU ARE the diversity. My taste is different from Nicks, naturally. I’m into more chaotic, frantic music where as Nick likes a lot more melody and diversity in sound. Our sound is sort of the result of each of us trying to pull the other closer to what we identify with individually. I think it’s key in giving us our sound.

I’m inspired every day, usually in negative ways. I see injustice, inequality, crimes that for me would be punished but for others are celebrated. Kids being driven to suicide and heavy drug use because they simply are not capable of enduring the torture of the world around them (specifically homosexual and trans young people). Women having to endure sexual harassment and worse just to earn a living, rape culture in universities is being encouraged. It all keeps a fire burning within me that I simply cannot and will not put out. I know I can’t do much, but I can talk about it. I can hopefully embolden those who may feel victimized by the world around them. Maybe inspire someone smarter and more capable than myself to take real action to incite change.

Music, especially rock and roll, has always been about rebellion. I feel like today there is more than enough going on that is immoral, unethical, and just fucking WRONG and that rebellion is necessary. Civil disobedience is necessary. Music can help like minded people find each other, share ideas, and even help give birth to real revolution and rebirth. I may not be able to fix anything myself, but I can hopefully help those who can find one another and show them that together we are strong, we are the power.

What would be your dream tour lineup and route?

My dream tour lineup? Wow, I mean if I could tour with anyone I wanted regardless of fan crossover, I’d really just love to see Every Time I Die, Dillinger Escape Plan, and The Chariot with us opening! And the route? Hell I don’t even care as long as we hit every major market on the planet!

What are some of your influences (music and non music)?

My influences are bands like Refused, Every Time I Die (Jordan is my absolute fav guitarist of all time), Dillinger Escape Plan, The Chariot… I mean basically your staples of mid 2000’s post hardcore. I also am vocally influenced by stuff like My Chemical Romance, Circa Survive, and so many others.

I’m influenced by so many things, beautiful days, ugly weather, photographs of random people or things. Lately I’ve been more introspective and find myself writing a lot about heartache and tragedy, sadness and failure. The idea being that all things can be overcome, no matter how bleak or terrifying. I’ve seen some people who are just madly in love with one another, I find that inspiring too! Also politics and social polarization, corrupt business practice, oppression and the end of liberty as we know it.I try not to be too obviously focused on politics, I do not wanna be Rage Against The Machine, but it certainly influences the things I do. Injustice and hypocrisy have always filled me with a sense that someone must stand against this, someone must be the voice to call it out and give some hope and even courage to those being victimized by it.

That being said, I’ve woken up to birds chirping out my window in a cadence that sounded like a good vocal part to a song and I’ve used that! I can be inspired by literally anything!

What are your thoughts/feelings on the seemingly current uptick in violence at shows?

Well first off, I see violence spreading and growing all around me in most walks of life. I think the violence we are seeing in pits with crowd killers getting more and more brazen, and less respect for others physical well being, is a sign of the world around us. It makes sense that small minded, angry people are getting worse and worse in pits because they feel like it’s an acceptable place to harm people! These kids aren’t usually familiar with the history and tradition of pitting and slam dancing at shows, they just wanna hurt someone because they’re being hurt! I feel like the idea of bringing people together and depolarizing is sooooo important to combat this. Our world has become a “me against you” type of vibe. I feel like l, if anything, we unite into a sort of “All of us against the few of them” type of mindset, we wouldn’t see that kind of thing happening anymore.

I’ve always and will always look out for my audience. I’ve stopped shows before to make sure a person who was injured is either ok or gets the help they need. I have refused to play another note until intentional violence and harm is halted, I’ve even once singled out a particular person I saw literally punch a girl in the face TWICE while she was trying to LEAVE THE PIT and had him removed from the venue. I’m not all about this idea that we’re all sensitive snowflakes, but I CERTAINLY am against intentional violence and harm. The music we enjoy is supposed to be a release of those aggressions and frustrations, not an excuse to bully and hurt people.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I guess if I’m going to add anything, it’s simply that we are all in this together. Not one of us asked to be here and not a single one of us will make it out alive. The sooner we embrace this, the sooner we can move past the petty bullshit that we are fed in order to keep us divided and weak. I want people to come together, share ideas and experiences. I want to see us really love one another, really look after one another, and ultimately rise up together as a solidarity in defiance of the servitude we are blindly forced into. If my music can have some small part in that, I’ll be so thrilled to have helped. Always remember that nothing is permanent, all is fleeting. Let’s use our time wisely and ROCK THE FUCK OUT!!

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Post Author: Faye Fetters

Faye Fetters started shooting local bar shows at the age of 16 in Dallas and has only progressed from there. Shooting bands such as White Snake, Slayer, Fall Out Boy, and Major Lazer have been just a few of her accomplishments over the years. When she's not writing about music or photographing shows she enjoys spending time with her dog, Jamie.

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