Tommy Newport is taking listeners on a wild ride, from darker tracks to upbeat dance tunes on his latest EP, Ultra Mango.
The new six-track EP, covers themes of youth, inner-consciousness and dialogue, with a sprinkling of irony. “I love throwing curve balls on projects and not having each song sound similar,” Newport shares. “The idea here was to take that DIY basement nostalgia feel and make records that knock as hard as today’s biggest smashes. We’ve been able to carve out our own planet with Ultra Mango.”
Newport has found success in a number of television shows, including HBO’s Ballers, Netflix’s What/If, TBS’ Search Party, Amy Schumer’s documentary Expecting Amy, as well as The Sinner. He also scored the latest ad campaign for Apple’s iPad and has been recognized for his infectious performance on the internationally renowned YouTube series COLORS
Newport offers American Songwriter readers a track-by-track rundown of Ultra Mango, released Feb. 19.
“The opening track, ‘Sweetener,’ was started with that very heavy bass line walk up. I think I had my Fender Bass plugged into a big muff distortion pedal and I was recording that through the Apollo and it just had this crazy tone to it. That super elastic, crisp tone was the very basis of the song really. I layered in some guitars that worked with it and it took on its life from there, it was a just a very badass cinematic song from day one and it only got more badass as we kept working on it.”
“‘Ultra Mango’ was written in LA during the summer. I feel like you can catch those vibes listening to it. it’s a very dance-oriented track. I was really inspired by a simple four on the floor beat, something to get you up and dancing. I wanted “Sweetener” to be this rock heavy dark track and ‘Ultra Mango’ to be the contrast of that.”
“’Marigold’ was the first record to be written from this EP and was definitely the start of this style of sound that myself and my co-producer 4th Pyramid went for on the rest of the EP. I wrote this one in my hometown of Wichita in my studio and recorded the vocals at a hotel room in Brooklyn before a gig. I think making ‘Marigold’ inspired me to create all the other tracks on this EP in the same kind of style.”
“Warp Speed Suzie”
“’Warp Speed Suzie’ was a product of myself actually working with some new producers for the first time ever in their own studio and was overall a very new experience for me. Having four like-minded people around and all being in the room for the whole day was a different vibe and inspired the track. I started on the bass guitar, did a little bassline that we all really liked and mimicked that with the electric guitar. Everyone just started adding on from there playing around with synths, tweaking the drums and adding more and more layers. It ended up being this huge anthem and I think it turned out really cool.”
“Yellow Lines” was written here in my home studio. I started out on the guitar and I had this crazy phaser flanger patch loaded that was creating all kinds of madness on the guitar. Everything kind of took form and fell into place around that sound and the chord progression. I know I wanted it to complement “Sweetener”, very cinematic and a song that makes you feel like you’re the main character.
“‘Shooting Star’ was actually a demo I started when I was 17. I made the bassline and played the guitar that you hear at the start of the song. I was going through old demos and that bassline popped out to me and I thought man we got to pull that out and mess around with this idea. 4th & I took it over to our friend Book’s studio in LA and all started re-imagining the demo together. It’s a very fast-paced, non forgiving song and it’s supposed to make you feel like you’re falling behind.”