On the Couch with James Mangohig

AAR OTC James Mangohig by Cesar RodriguesWho is James Mangohig?
I am a Bass Player / Producer / Story teller / Occasional DJ and Radio Host from Darwin, Northern Territory. My father is from the Philippines and my mother is from Holland. I was born in Australia and live on Larrakia Land.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
If I wasn’t making music I would be a marine biologist, although I think you have to be good at tests and studying for that so I’d most likely just be a cleaner at a local aquarium. I really like the ocean.

Who inspires you and why?
I get to work with a lot of artists who inspire me on the regular, most from Darwin – Mambali, Caiti Baker, Stevie Jean, Serina Pech, Jocelyn Tribe. Recently I worked with a woman named Johanna Bell who runs Spun Stories in the Northern Territory. She’s developed something special that I really feel has brought the community together and from touring In Between Two I’ve seen the impact that sharing stories can have.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Use any platform I might be lucky enough to get to encourage more diversity and hopefully assist in changing the media landscape to better represent our society and the communities within it.

The first two answers that come to mind are to get rid of the terrible leaders – Trump (USA) and Deturte (Philippines).  Power hungry men causing all sorts of damage. On a more personal note, I think that revolution starts in your local community and I would hope that through my work I am helping to shake things up a bit and inspire some of the amazing artists I’m surrounded by.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Taiwan for the food, culture and people. New York for the vibe, that city is like a nuclear reactor. Also, Adelaide in summer. I get to visit my family and swim in beaches not full of crocodiles and box jellyfish.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The Parap and Rapid Creek Markets. Incredible Asian street food and the best fruit shakes on the planet. Also, the Spectacular Jumping Croc Cruise. I don’t like seeing animals in cages and although I love big aquariums I would still prefer to see 4 metre crocs swimming in the wild. It feels like you’re in a scene from Jurassic Park.

What are you currently reading?
A lot of reviews about the new MOOG synth i’m about to buy.

What are you currently listening to?
Been loving the new James Blake record. Also the Spanish singer Rosalia is so inspiring, incredible vocal melodies and the production is fresh and unique (dope film clips too). On the road we rock podcasts too – my favourite is WTF w/ Marc Maron.

Happiness is?
“…a Kong Foo Sing” (shout out to Quan from Regurgitator). Seriously though – Good people, good food and time to make lots of music, some for others and some just for your own weird mind.

What does the future hold for you?
Joel (other half of In Between Two) and I both have solo projects we’re working on, which involve collaborating with a lot of other artists. His is called Film School and mine is called From The DOTS. After this tour I think we’ll both hit the lab and work on finishing tracks for the projects. I also love that I live in Darwin which truly feels like Asia. Over the next few years I hope to work more in Asia and also bring more Asian artists and musicians to Australia (via Darwin) and build some long lasting relationships. I’m also going to be working on more tracks with the Skinnyfish Sound System which often tours around the country too.

James will present with Joel Ma, a vibrant, contemporary portrayal of the Asian Australian experience in their critically-acclaimed production, In Between Two at Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres in March and the ARA Darling Quarter Theatre in April 2019.

Image: James Mangohig – photo by Cesar Rodrigues