New Noise: Tee Mango

Music producer and fashion designer, Tee Mango can do it all.

Meet Tee Mango, the artist making sample-heavy, deep house jams. He is also the mastermind behind the Millionhands label, which makes streetwear for music lovers everywhere. The king of multitasking, he even made the time to work on his debut album, IMPERFECTIONS Vol. 1, which is set to be released in late September.

Tee Mango’s pervious release was well loved and spun by the likes of Leon Vynehall and Axel Boman. This time around, his music takes influence from Chicago’s house music scene to develop some really groovy house tunes. Take a journey through his sample-heavy and raw sound.

If your music were made into a movie, what would be the tagline?

If music is the answer, what is the question?

Talk us through your process when you’re creating new music?

I write about 4 or 5 tunes a week. It’s what I do to relax, or get excited, or both if all goes well.

Sometimes I start with a sample, other times chords, or if it’s a song, then i start with the title, and try and build a picture.

Every time I come across a little phrase I like I write it down in my list of song titles on my Iphone.

I’m always listening for samples wherever I am.

I aim to get a track down within one session, with the goal of being able to play it as a demo.

I find this keeps my energy up, that should happen in less 4 hours – or one session 🙂

Were you always a fan of house music? Are there any other genres that you would possibly experiment with in the future?

I love music, have been excited by it since first watching Purple Rain, which I taped from Channel 4 when I was about 11. I’ve listened to house since I was a teenager. I try and write what I feel like at the time. The next album is already half written, it’s less house, but it’s still electronic, and it still sounds like me.

What are the main differences between making music and creating clothing? 

The reason I love both, is the feeling of connection. I get a buzz when I see someone in something I’ve made.

The same as I get a buzz out of seeing people get down or really react to music I’ve created.

What is it about Chicago’s rich history that inspires your music? 

Haha! I guess you asking me this based on my biog. I was referring to house music coming from Chicago – essentially I am inspired by music old and new.

I was listening to Paul Simon being interviewed the other day and he referred to our desire to listen to music that sounds both old and new at the same time, I kind of agree with him, there can be magic the feeling of an old record, but I love discovering new music too.

How did you come up with the name for your album, IMPERFECTIONS Vol. 1? Is there any significant secret meaning behind it?

I released my first record 14 years ago, during that time my process has developed and evolved (along with what I like). When I started out I would spend forever on one tune, tweaking and tampering until it was something new, but rarely finishing anything.

With IMPERFECTIONS I wrote all the tunes in single sessions, then came back to them with a fresh head and finished them within another single session – they’re not polished or fine-tuned. The tunes on the album are presented, as they are imperfect, and better for it.

What are the main differences between TRIBUTE and IMPERFECTIONS Vol. 1? Between the two, do you think they show the evolution of your music, or yourself as an artist?

They’re similar but the context is slightly different. The album was written to be listened to, though there are some tracks that work well in ‘out’.

The TRIBUTE series is written to be enjoyed in the context of the club – though obviously they’re not techno smashers, that cannot exist outside of that environment.

Talk us through the themes of your album. Is there a journey that runs through it that you want the listeners to experience?

I wrote a heap of music, I think have about 2 days of music in my TEE MANGO Itunes playlist. I picked the tracks that resonated with me and finished them in a short period of time. They’re just honest reflections of where I’m at. I find music talks to me at different times, and a song can have a different meaning depending on how I’m feeling or where i am. My hope is that people enjoy it and connect with it, and subsequently with me as an artist.

Your album mostly instrumental tracks, is there a reason you gravitate towards instrumental music? Would you consider adding lyrics to your songs in the future?

There are 2 songs on the album: “Nightswim” ft. Edo Van Breemen from Brasstronaut, “These Simple Fears” ft .Femme.

I love songs, just didn’t have loads of access to vocalists or the confidence to include my own vocal tracks, but that will change for the next album.

There’s often beauty in imperfections. Are there any perfect imperfections you notice about yourself as an artist that you are proud of, or possibly dislike? 

I can’t sing like James Blake or Sampha, but there will be singing on the next record. Imperfect honest singing.

What was it like to have the likes of Leon Vynehall, Axel Boman, Palms Trax and many others spin your TRIBUTE vinyl series?

It’s great! Always nice to hear peeps you dig are playing your records.

Thom (Leon Vynehall) has become a mate. Him being into my first TRIBUTE release really gave me confidence. He’s a good egg. Axel is a lovely dude too, I met him when playing this festival in Morocco last year, he’s just like a ball of positive energy. Top dudes, the pair of them, I don’t know Palms Trax – but it’s equally lovely that he’s down with the releases.

Is there a dream collaborator/s you have in mind that you would love to work with at some point?

Of course:


Little Dragon

The Invisible (who should be on the next album)

Paris Grey (of Inner City fame)

Bon Iver

Roots Manuva

Damon Albarn

Jamie Principle

There’s probably more, but that’s off the top of my head.

What does the future look like for Tee Mango and Millionhands?

The album is out 23rd September, (you can pre-order it here via bandcamp).

So there’ll be some DJ tour support over the following months.

Then will be completing the next instalment of IMPERFECTIONS for release 2017.

Millionhands will continue to do what it does – which for those that don’t know is making limited edition clothing, often with leading lights from the world of electronic music.

The new website’s just gone live actually, take a peek here if you so desire!

Mariah Rosslee
New Noise: Tee Mango

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