Jazz-pop fusion band Mango Melody keeps it light

Jazz-pop fusion band Mango Melody keeps it light
Mike and Tracey Stockalper, brother and sister, make up Mango Melody. They’ll perform at the Encinitas Street Fair from noon to 1 p.m. April 26 and April 27. Courtesy photo

ENCINITAS — Mango Melody is the brainchild of brother and sister duo Mike and Tracey Stockalper.

For years, the Encinitas residents pursued their own musical inclinations, but they started playing together two years ago.

What emerged: music they describe as a cross between jazz and pop — that’s playful, dynamic and, as their name indicates, melody driven. They’ll play tracks from their debut album “Fruit of Happiness” at the Encinitas Street Fair from noon to 1 p.m. April 26 and April 27.

In this Q&A, they talk about not taking things too seriously, their tastes melding and Captain Planet.

Q: What led you to collaborate?

Mike: I was kind of a music snob after music school at UCSD. (laughs). I played and listened to a lot of jazz and thought I was pretty hot stuff. Tracey was singing a lot of Fiona Apple and different pop artists, and maybe I thought I was too cool for that.

I went to Chicago for three years for graduate school. When I came home, my music tastes came back down to earth. I could sing and she could play, so it was like, why don’t we just play? We’re related (laughs).

Q: It sounds like you have different musical backgrounds — how do you feed off of each other? 

Mike: There’s a lot of stuff we both like, and she has a really jazz-friendly voice — really smooth.

Tracey: People say I sound like Norah Jones. I listen to a little more pop and he listens to a little more jazz, so we meet halfway.

Mike: Being brother and sister, when we write together we get pretty goofy. When she’s on her own or I’m on my own, we tend to be more serious about our music. It’s a nice change of pace.

Q: How is being in a band with a sibling different than playing with others?

Mike: I don’t think it’s that different…Did you ever watch Captain Planet as a kid (laughs)? I think it’s like that being in a band and playing music with other people. You’re these separate entities on your own, but when you merge together, you become this new entity. Your thoughts have to gel with their thoughts. Otherwise, you’re not going to come up with something.

Q: Your bio states your music is best enjoyed in a live setting — why is that? 

Tracey: It brings out the perfectionist in you, when you’re recording. When you’re playing live, you don’t have room to be a perfectionist, and that’s what makes it fun. If you mess up, you just have to play it off. And sometimes that’s when you come up with something cool, and you think, wow — what did I just play right now? Then maybe you can even get a song out of that moment.

Q: You’re both yoga teachers on top of being musicians. Ever play your own recordings while teaching? 

Tracey: He doesn’t. He’s more of the perfectionist, and self-conscious. Whereas I’m about just getting our music out there. I want to play it and see the response I get. Sometimes students will come up after and enthusiastically say, “what was that song?” Well, that was my brother and me, I say. That’s a great way to subtly promote our music. And it’s a nice way to get feedback from people.

Q: What are some surprising facts people might not know about Mango Melody? 

Mike: We grew up in Switzerland. Our dad was a professional basketball player over there. So we spent quite a few years there.

Q: Any kind of European influence on your music? 

Mike: I think so, because when I was a kid a lot of people listened to house and techno music over there. That was huge. I find myself gravitating toward that kind of music, and I’m ashamed of it (laughs). I can’t help it; it was a part of my childhood.

No, our take on rock is softer — and in Europe the aesthetic seems to be a little softer.

 

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