While at St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival in Melbourne this year, NME Australia sat down to talk to rapper Agung Mango, who was one of the most exciting rising artists we saw at the festival this year.
Mango, who was the triple j Unearthed Laneway competition winner for his native Melbourne, is on the up. But as he told NME Australia writer Josh Martin, he might never have become a rapper if he stuck to his initial career goal of pro basketball player. “As a kid, you go through many stages, and I just dabbled with stuff that would interfere with my basketball career,” he explained. After stepping away from the court, and following formative influences like Kid Cudi, Trapo and Kanye West, Mango plunged into music.
Following a few 2019 loosies and the project ‘OPENFORBUSINESS’, Mango kicked off his 2020 with ‘Rodent’. “It’s a very weird song,” he said, “but it has a hard-hitting hook. So I knew it could get all these lit guys turnt up, and the other jazz cats that I work with for the verses. It’s a very meshed song with a lot of different vibes.” Mango also shed more light on its unnerving music video, which was shot in Bali while the rapper was there to spend time with his family.
A follow-up to ‘Rodent’ is also on the way: Mango told NME Australia that he’s got an EP on the way, featuring his collaborator Nicodemus. “We’ve got a project coming out in the middle of the year, it’s very live and instrumental-based,” he said. Members of Mango’s live band – who helped him kick up a storm at Laneway – will be on the release.
And when asked about career dreams, Mango is unabashedly ambitious. “I just wanna be the best I can be,” he said, pointing out that his energetic Laneway set, though impressive, also wore him down towards the end. “I wanna reach to the position where I am fit as fuck, I’m straight, real sober – that’s the ultimate goal.”
Other Laneway 2020 acts NME Australia also caught up with were Ruel, DMA’S and Ocean Alley. We also spoke to punters, who debated whether Melbourne or Sydney is the better city, and told us what they’d like to say to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.