We had the pleasure of speaking with Mitchel Evan, of Mitchel Evan and the Mangrove about their new debut single, “Back & Forth” which hit the public on July 19, 2017. The single takes a soulful, tonal melody and is an easy listen for almost anyone. Here’s what he had to say about the track.
- How long has Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove been a band, and how would you describe your overall sound?
- Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove first began to take roots in the fall of 2015. Lately I have used the umbrella term of ‘Americana’ to describe The Mangrove’s sound. I think Americana covers the blues, folk, alt-country and southern rock influences that are all showcased by Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove.
- What musical influences would you include in both the creation of “Back & Forth” and your overall sound?
- I think the musical influences vary within the band and with all of the people that worked on ‘Back & Forth’, but for me personally, I was greatly inspired by contemporary Americana bands such as Wilco, Dawes and Drive-by Truckers.
- What is the inspiration or premise behind this track [Back & Forth]?
- Back & Forth is a confession of not knowing how the world works and how to navigate it – sometimes we don’t know which decision is the right one to make or which way to go. We are all just doing the best we can with what we’ve got. In addition, the song is about asking for help in moments of uncertainty and doubt – to realize that we never have to go at anything alone.
- How long did the creation process behind this track take you from start to finish? Do you have plans for a music video in the future?
- Back & Forth was recorded almost entirely in one day, live at eTown Studios in Boulder, CO in October of 2016. I’ve always wanted to do a proper music video, and I’d love to do one for this song, but there are no immediate plans on the horizon.
- How has the feedback been so far for “Back & Forth?”
- Back & Forth hasn’t been heard by many people outside of those who worked on the recording, aside from a few friends. The feedback has been positive and described as catchy, a ‘hit’ song, and a glimpse into the future of a new sound for this band.
- With the full length that will follow this single, what do you think sets it apart from your previous EP “A Place of Love” and “Higher Ground?” What sounds or stylings are you hoping to further explore with this EP that you haven’t before?
- The album, Back & Forth, covers a lot of territory stylistically – exploring elements of blues, folk, country and indie-rock. The instrumentation was consciously limited to an Americana, roots type set-up in effort to stay true to the vision of this project, that focuses primarily on songwriting, harmonies and lyricism as opposed to trendy ascetics and textures. I think that Back & Forth is by far the most realized work to come from The Mangrove. I feel that through exploring all of these different styles this band has finally found its sound.
- What do you hope to accomplish in the next year as an artist? Any special upcoming plans after the release of your anticipated full length?
- In the next year I really hope to garner a strong local following and feel accepted and connected to the local scene in Denver and across the front range. I just hope that people take an interest in the album, start coming to the shows and buying the record. I plan to continue touring when it makes sense and have already started working on the next album – a full length solo record totally independent of The Mangrove.
Review by Rick Frank:
One of the first things that stands out on this record is the vocals. Mitchel definitely has a unique voice and this song showcases not only his tone but ability. His voice has a somber sound to it, he’s not singing aggressively yet he’s not singing too soft. His voice is right in the middle and he uses both elements of it when he needs to. The sounds of early Americana are rooted in the notes he’s singing.
This song could have gone in so many directions – but they seemed to have clear intentions on what they wanted. The beginning rhythm section establishes the base of the song and then the vocals come shining through and guides the song. With respect to lyrical content it’s contingent with the title which many artists neglect. You can hear the indecisiveness that Mitchel is singing about in his lyrics – so that it presents someone that’s going “back and forth” about “the rules”, life, and everything in between. The band plays in complete unison and there is definitively a connection in the ease of musicianship which is a note worthy piece. When it comes to tones, one word comes to mind- shimmering. Everything seems to have a glossy affect and wholesome tone from the guitars to the backing vocals. The song is strongly driven by melody and although I didn’t hear it have a mainstream direction, that doesn’t mean that one day we won’t hear it on the radio. It can be difficult for an artist to play acoustic music without boring the audience and the greats that have played in this style have cracked the code. These guys are certainly on the right track. To me, it sounds like this music may appeal to people that are into new folk music – it reminds me slightly of Mumford & Sons. A younger audience could listen to this as well, I could see this going over very well at The Bitter End in New York.
What would I rate this song from 1-5?
Who would this appeal to most:
Rick: Someone into easier listening music, fans of classic singer songwriters. I can see it reaching an older audience that may be into the The Allman Brothers and a new audience that’s into Mumford & Sons.