The Mango Cakes are cooking up some fresh original music.
The Albuquerque-based act is primarily known as a cover band around town, performing at local establishments, weddings and corporate gigs.
“I think the motto has always been for us: live music for everyone,” said Jabez Ledres, bassist. “Entertaining a crowd or making them feel a certain moment is our goal.”
Ledres and drummer Tina Marquez started the band before the pandemic with the intention to just jam and appease an audience, but had to call off their first scheduled show – it was slated for right around the time the lockdown in New Mexico began.
A slew of cancellations followed, but unfortunate timing didn’t deter the group; it allowed the members to prepare more and learn the process of playing the local circuit and, in turn, build their confidence.
“Thinking back, I’m so glad we didn’t go out that first show,” Marquez said.
The band prioritizes preparation for each live performance, from sound to set list. The organization even goes as far as spreadsheets and strategies on how to alter the planned playlist in the moment based on audience reaction.
They cover the likes of Bruno Mars, Sublime, Beyoncé and The Beatles. The group has a broad range of musical interests and can execute any genre flawlessly. This is due to the fact that they’re trained musicians.
“We can play anything if we just practice it, so that’s an obstacle that’s gone,” Ledres said.
Marquez added, “The goal was just to have live music that we can start gigging with, and obviously, once you get into that realm, people want more and more of it.”
Now, they’re ready to use their talents to transition from playing the songs people know and love to giving them new favorites.
Ledres explained, “Our intentions are to slim down the covers and up the ratio of original music, but … how do you incorporate that feeling with original music? … I think that’s a really good challenge for us.”
The group released its first single last year, “Bad Girl,” and the track is soulful and rhythmic. The band’s members display their musical prowess by writing a catchy song that could not only seamlessly filter into their current set list, but also parallels the structure and rhythm of the Top 40 songs they cover.
The Mango Cakes continue to perfect their own unique sound and are developing a catalog that will best represent their voice as a group. There are currently nine members in the band, so the process can be difficult as they mesh styles and interests.
“We’re creative enough to make them different every time if we want it,” Marquez said.
Ledres and Marquez added that the band hopes to release a few more songs early this year. Saturday, Jan. 14, they open for Sweet Roll at Sister and they said the set list will feature an almost even ratio of covers and originals.
Either way, The Mango Cakes remain adamant in making sure the audience is entertained.
“At the end of the day, we are just so hungry to put on a killer show,” Marquez said. “We want to entertain.”