Orange Mango: Yes, we finally interviewed them! | Sunday Observer

Orange Mango: Yes, we finally interviewed them!

10 September, 2023

Five guys wearing tacky cloaks walk into a bar, but they don’t stop for a drink. They head straight to the stage, pick up instruments and then the whole place goes bonkers with noise and mayhem.

The ‘Youth Observer’ has been tailing these dudes from gig to gig since March; chronicling their ultra-naughty, musical antics and lyrics about prawns, bullets, fish and how the youth don’t care about rhythm.

The band is made up of Sarani Perera (Music Matters, Owltreeo and The Soul) on bass and vocals, Sithijaya Dilshan (The Slipping Chairs and Owltreeo) on drums, Riyal Riffai (Paranoid Earthling and Dot Dotay) on bass, Uvindu Perera (Music Matters and The Soul) on guitar and Dinelka Liyanage (Gum Gum and No Deal) on keys and vocals.

Every Orange Mango concert has its staples and novelties. But what is really up with their experimental sound that makes grown adults jump up and dance like kindergartners? We try to answer some of the big questions in this exclusive interview.

Q: So, what’s happening these days?

A: We feel pretty excited to be playing, making music and trying to record some of our tracks. It’s nice to have Riyal, Sarani and Uvindu back in the country after The Soul tour in India, among other things.

Q:  Why did you name your band ‘Orange Mango’? Did you have any other ideas before coming up with this?

A: The idea was given to us by the cosmos one night. As I was sleeping, I woke up to the sounds of my stomach growling from hunger and there were only oranges and mangoes at home and I thought! Clearly this is a divine omen! Plus if you take the first two letters it creates the sound of the universe.

Q:  When did you guys start?

A: 2021 April 32nd at around 4:38 am.

Q:  How did your very first gig go?

A: It was amazing. We have live videos on our Youtube page if anyone wants to check them out.

Q: What’s with the costumes and who designed them?

A: Nothing really, it was just an idea that we had for a while, plus creating shouldn’t be just about music just because we are musicians. With the right amount of know-how and help we can all achieve most things. They were done by none other than our lead voice Dinelka and his dear mother.

Q:  Next question is for Uvindu and Riyal, how do you guys play two basses on the same stage?

A: Very easy, Riyal sometimes stays on the right and Uvindu on the left and vice versa, but when they play, they figure out what sound space to take. One plays high and the other low, depending on what the mood is, and sometimes they both go crazy! All low! No one can really hear any difference. It’s a sonic mess which is what is needed at that time.

Q:  Some of you guys are working on multiple projects. How do you make time for ‘Orange Mango’?

A: Sithija is really good at getting everyone together! He’s definitely the go-to guy with all the back end work that a leader does no one knows about, he’s also the guy organising all the gigs we’ve been having!

Q: Does the band have a mascot?

A: Yes, it’s a creature called the drunk uncle and it only appears at bars around 7:30. We’ve been trying to net one for the past four months but it’s been difficult with the economic crisis. There’s been less and less sightings of the drunk uncle near bars, we are trying to hit some dinner parties to see if we can catch one before our next gig! Fingers crossed.

Q:  Your music gets people dancing. Ever thought about doing parties and weddings?

A: Maybe weddings because we are trying to hit that older market plus there’s free food and wedding cake and we get to watch two young people ruin their lives.

Q: Walk me through your creative process.

A: We get together, talk smack for about two hours, make some tea, add like heaps of sugar to it and then we go for a walk around the ‘isso’ wade stand but we never buy anything because it’s too expensive. Then we come back and laugh a bit. Get into an argument about sea salt and how it is better than rock salt and then play some music and go home. If we are lucky some days one person might play something we all like and then bam we start working on adding things and trying to build on it! Easy! It’s like baking a terrible cake for someone you hate.

Q: By the way, what’s with that big beard Sithijaya?

A: He’s planning to become the next billionaire bachelor and the booklet specifically said, “Grow a big beard for no real reason! And it seems to be working. It’s catching the eye! And is the main question of an awesome interview for a beloved paper heart, heart!

Q:  What’s the inspiration behind the band?

A: Years of neglect put into one day’s worth of crying and salt! Not sure if it’s sea salt or rock salt!

Q:  What are your fans saying about your unique sound?

A: I think they love the energy it brings. Once a person said it was like drinking ‘val penela’ in the morning! Love life has been rock solid; if you know what I mean?

Q: Why are you pushing this kind of music?

A: We are not pushing anything, we simply play the music we love creating. It’s more like an expression of life for us. If we can contribute to change along the way that will be amazing.

Q:  Dinelka, what’s his creative principle?

A: He has artistic decisions coming down from the divine. It envelopes him and creates an aura that can only be felt by other unsuspecting artists. It is the gift that keeps giving!

Q:  What kind of elements does Uvindu bring?

A: He brings wood, steel and some plastic and a lot of gas. It’s said that on rainy days he hides indoors with his cats and watches YouTube videos about people making terrible origami figures.

Q:  Orange Mango has been gaining quite the following. How do you guys handle your newfound stardom?

A: It’s hard. Life has been very difficult; can’t even go out to get ‘pan’, not that we can afford it, but you get the idea. Dinelka has been getting DMs by a random brand wanting to have him be their spokesperson. Riyal has been highly sought after for his set of pearly whites by toothpaste companies and Dilli has been offered so many proposals by widowed rich women. The Perera brothers are getting offers from so many leading cosmetic companies to do skincare routine videos for social media. Life’s hard for us now that we’ve made it.

Q:  What is the social message you guys are trying to get across?

A: Brush your teeth before bed because it’s always good to have a nice-smelling breath when fighting for your rights!

Q:  What artists and genres have you been inspired by the most?

A: As of lately all of the musicians in Sri Lanka are making their own music! More power to them! Regardless of what kind of music!

Q:  When is the next gig?

A: We just did a performance at this year’s TEDx Colombo which gave us some more insights into how people perceive our music and how to bring our music to more audiences. So we are still absorbing some of that new found wisdom. So with that in mind, we have plans to organise bigger events. Until we figure that out, we will play again in October, hopefully!