We had the good fortune of connecting with Mandlenkosi Daley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mandlenkosi, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I started my band Ugly Sweaters when I was a junior in college. Since then I’ve gone through lineup changes, I’ve gotten married, become a parent, gone through part time jobs and full time jobs. When I graduated from college I got part time work, and just did music with the rest of my time. These were great years with low productivity. When I started working 40 hours per week I had to become much more focused with the smaller portion of time allotted for music. In two short years I was playing the best shows of my life, writing some of the best songs, and generally the band had never been better. Having so much time taken away from me encouraged me to focus so much more actively on music. Now that I am a parent things have shifted even more so. Free time that I could have spent on music is now spent interacting with my daughter. Getting her interested in music has helped a lot with this balance. I see her joy and enthusiasm and that now influence my composing.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I write and perform in my band Ugly Sweaters. When I started the group I felt that the LA bands I was going out to see all took themselves really seriously, the music was good, but the shows were dull, everyone had to look really cool. I wanted to bring some fun, some joy and some spontaneity to shows, and so I started doing that with Ugly Sweaters. Our job was to get you dancing, smiling, sweating, and at the end of the set, feeling great. I think that people seeing us let loose on stage and having fun as a band felt something genuine, and it was infectious.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’d start at the beach! There’s a great stretch of PCH with free parking and a little rocky walk down to the water. It’s fantastic and never crowded. Then head east to Griffith Park, but you have to park down by the Greek theater so it’s free, and then do a hike and get a great view of the mountains, DTLA all the way to Santa Monica and Long Beach if it’s really clear. Then a taco truck for lunch, then a walk around Little Tokyo and dinner at Dai Kokuya. Get in line early! Order a half size of the Ramen, I can’t eat all that! Then a metal show at The Regent theater. Then a backyard show in East Hollywood hosted by some 20 year old working for a publishing company that pays her to find the coolest up and coming acts. That is day 1. You still haven’t gone East of the 5 or south of the 10 or north of the 134. Los Angeles is endless and wonderful because of it. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My band mate Alex Pfender was the first person to see any real potential in my songs and performance abilities. His band yOya and my band Ugly Sweaters shared a bill really early on, 2010 maybe. After that show he asked if I had any good recordings, which at the time i didn’t, I only had really lo-fi demos. He got me to start working on better recordings, and eventually he joined the band on bass and vocals.
Instagram: @mandla @uglysweatersla
Anthony Mehlhalf Mandla Daley