Peeling the Mandarin with Angus, Babe Rainbow's Lead Vocalist

It’s been a stressfully psychedelic year, and that’s putting it lightly. So it’s time to let Aussie folk-psych rockers Babe Rainbow turn it into a good trip.

“Peel the mandarin,” the main lyrics from their newest single “Zeitgeist,” has a deeper meaning than just getting a fruit ready to eat. The calming yet trance-like act of peeling a mandarin is similar to the track’s tranquil and catchy melody. Hints of folk, surf, psych, and rock are all present in the tune, while the lyrics provide colorful imagery that gives depth to everyday objects and feelings.

Babe Rainbow, “Zeitgeist”

“You just really got to peel [the mandarin] well and carefully and it’s just so perfect inside,” frontman Angus “Peggy” Dowling says about the unexpectedly poetic line. “Some [mandarins] can be so good and some can be so bad, it’s like a funny life lesson.”

The four-piece band of surfing buddies and longtime music collaborators have had an extra trippy year. Besides playing pandemic-version live shows and managing a chicken farm, all four of them became fathers.

“It was completely unplanned and so cute,” Dowling tells BTRtoday. “Childbirth is the most psychedelic thing ever—it’s so ridiculous looking at these little things and wondering what their gigs will be like that they go to and play, maybe they’ll play to the robots.”

Live shows are already transforming into something totally different due to the pandemic. Australian government grants have given artists the opportunity to play gigs and more, but to smaller audiences that have to stay seated within their groups. Dowling says it’s been a really “relaxed atmosphere,” but the band misses touring the U.S. and surfing with their buddies in Topanga, Calif.

Babe Rainbow, “Many Moons of Love”

“The record that we’re putting out at the start of next year that [“Zeitgeist”] is the first single off of, we actually recorded in Topanga and wrote most of it there,” he says. “I feel like [the new record] is very inspired by the U.S. of A. and mandarins and apples and tropical fruits.”

Listen to the entire interview with Angus “Peggy” Dowling on this week’s episode of The Music Meetup, along with the band’s newest single and more by Babe Rainbow.