HomeInterviewsHappy Mondays with Waiting On Mongo

Happy Mondays with Waiting On Mongo

Written By Laura Curry

Photo found on Waiting On Mongo’s Facebook Page

Waiting On Mongo draws from 60’s psychedelic music and jam bands from that era to create funk-driven songs that instantly put show-goers at ease, ready to dance. Complete with keys, and both a rhythm and horns section, their music is all about spacey vibes, improvised jams and keeping the funk going. The Pop Break interviewed Waiting On Mongo to find out more about their favorite places to play along the Jersey Shore, their psychedelic sound, the Just A Taste EP and their spirited live performance.

Who are Waiting on Mongo? (Names of the band members & the instruments you play): Waiting on Mongo is Mike “Mongo” Iatesta on keys and rhythm guitar, Matt Iatesta on drums, Tea Jay McCarthy on bass and vocals, Mike Susino on guitar and vocals, Anders Carlson on saxophone, Johnny Carlson on trombone and Bruce Krywinski Jr. on trumpet.

When did you form as a band: The core of the band came together in the summer of 2012. Anders joined the band about two years later in 2014 after a show we played at the Stone Pony with his brother’s band Downstream, and Bruce and Johnny have been with us since recording our EP in January of 2016.

Photo found on Waiting On Mongo’s Facebook Page

Where are your favorite places to play along the Jersey Shore? What is it about those venues that you like so much: We have a great time playing at Langosta Lounge and The Saint in Asbury Park. We like playing at these places so much because our friends and fans really enjoy the atmosphere and they always leave having had a great night of music and dancing. Also those in charge of the bookings at these places—Pete Mantas (Langosta), and Scott Stamper (The Saint) have been behind us from the beginning and really helped us grow as a band.

How would you describe the personality of Waiting On Mongo in just one sentence: Buncha funky strange rangers.

For Waiting On Mongo, what’s it mean to be a jam band? What are your feelings about the jam band culture and your place in it: For us it’s always been about the music, so we want to keep taking our live improvisations as far as we can to give each show its own energy. We’re all about the jam scene as a whole, which is why we play so much, and whenever we’re not involved in making the music, we’re out there catching local acts or going to see national acts that are currently on the scene as it’s what inspires us and gives what we do meaning.

Photo found on Waiting On Mongo’s Facebook Page, taken by Keala Evans

Working off of the idea of jam bands and its culture, what bands and artists inspire your music? Being a large band with all uniquely different players, we have a lot of influences including Lettuce, Turkuaz, Phish, The Motet, The Allman Brothers Band, James Brown, Umphreys McGee, Grizz, Daft Punk, The Grateful Dead, The Band, The Rolling Stones, Herbie Hancock, and Tower Of Power to name a few of our favorites.

I hear a lot of that 60’s psychedelic reverb on the guitar in your live songs—some even have echoing vocals that just create such a spacey, chill vibe. How much does 60’s psychedelic music influence you: The scene we’re a part of now grew out of that era, so it influences us heavily and we respect that music very much. At the same time, as a young band, we are influenced a lot by what’s happening in the scene nowadays.

What do you think are the most distinguishable elements in a Waiting On Mongo song: Driving funk sections with room to jam somewhere in the song.

How does your EP Just A Taste convey your style and sound to listeners? What is this EP about? Are there any themes explored in the songs on this EP—or in your music in general? What are they, and do you tend to come back to these ideas: This was our first time in the studio with a handful of songs we had written since the band formed and wanted to get recorded. There was no single theme throughout, just some super funky tracks that showed our style as a band, so it’s Just A Taste of what we have to offer.

Found on Waiting On Mongo’s Facebook Page, taken by Keala Evans

I watched some of your set from The Saint last July, and I’ve never seen it so packed with such a rowdy, dancing crowd. It seems like such an awesome atmosphere!  Along with having an enthusiastic crowd at shows, what do you like best about performing? How do you want show-goers to be feeling during your set: The best part about performing is the connection we have with the audience. They get us going and we like to go off of whatever energy the crowd is feeling in that moment. But it’s all about what you want to feel—we’re not going to tell you to feel a certain way. If you want to rage then rage, if you got the blues, then so be it. We’re there to play for you.

What song should listeners hear in order to get a sense of what Waiting On Mongo is all about? Why did you choose this track: “Just A Taste” would be the track to hear what we’re all about, it has everything to expect from a Waiting On Mongo song.


Laura Curry
Laura Curry
Laura Curry is a Rutgers University graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Interviewing bands and writing about music is her passion. She is a frequent concert-goer, whether they’re happening in New Brunswick basements, Asbury Park venues, concert halls in NYC and anywhere in between. Alternative rock is her go-to genre (i.e. Kings of Leon, Cage the Elephant, Foals, The Maine and lots more). When she isn’t writing for The Pop Break, she works at the North Brunswick Public Library, which offers plenty of Fantasy/Adventure novels to quench her love of reading. Additionally, she takes on creative projects from dream catchers and scrapbooks to paintings and jewelry making. She’s always happy to talk about her furry Maine Coon cat Austen and his knack for playing fetch and hide and seek. Just try not to ask about her next career move, because trust me, she’s working on it.

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