You’d expect the home that houses three members and the manager of a local indie rock band to look something like a dilapidated abode straight out of the ‘90s. Rather, it is surrounded by blooming bushes and flowers — think suburban white picket fence, not bachelor pad. Band manager Henry Kunz, a recent NC State graduate, cooks pasta in the kitchen while the four band members settle around the dining table.
By George, Raleigh’s hottest new alternative rock band, is taking the local music scene by storm. Tyler Ford, a recent graduate of Washington and Lee University, and Evan Addison, a third-year studying risk management at App State are on vocals and guitar. Recent NC State graduate Will Henshaw is on vocals and bass and Chaadmon Croft, a third-year studying industrial engineering at NC State, plays the drums.
“I think a reason this has been working for us is because when there’s an absence of any sort of established music scene, that allows for the possibility of someone to try and build it up,” Croft said. “The results we’ve seen in the last year have been so incredibly motivating.”
Despite its ever-growing popularity, By George has undergone tremendous changes since its inception in 2016. In fact, Ford is the only remaining member of the original band, whose alliterative moniker Mighty Mango was the band’s humble beginning.
After gaining regional and local recognition, the band formerly known as Mighty Mango began its journey to gaining recognition from labels, and expanding its musical influence throughout the country. While critics and champions alike saluted their artistic ability, the same judgment stood: the name Mighty Mango just wasn’t marketable.
“In an official capacity, we ran our names and music by a couple of labels through some contacts we had,” Ford said. “The short version of it was, ‘we really like your music — but that’s not a very marketable name.’”
Thus, Mighty Mango was rechristened as By George in 2019 — and not because any band member past or present was named George. The name comes from the British saying “by George,” and the band members joke that George is actually the little multi-colored frog which resides on the front of the official By George hats and t-shirts.
“We wanted a mascot to sort of represent us all and give us an icon,” Ford said. “We were all brainstorming — it’s really not that deep. We were like, ‘What if it was a frog?’”
So far, there are two albums under By George’s artist profile on Spotify: “The Life of Guy” and “Mighty Mango,” the latter being a self-titled album from the band’s Mighty Mango days. Although the band has teased some new music at their most recent shows, there haven’t been any official releases since 2021.
By George’s most popular track to date is “Selfish,” the second song of “Mighty Mango,” with over 40,000 streams on Spotify. However, the band’s been going in a more experimental direction with “Life of Guy” and more recent music.
“I will say, I do like what we played in the past,” Henshaw said. “It does resemble the sort of pop we’re kind of going for now. Obviously, ‘Life of Guy’ was more experimental — it’s a concept album.”
The band has played across the state and even in a couple venues out-of-state: The Trailer Park, Bowstring Pizza and Brewyard, a couple frat parties in Chapel Hill, etc. Great gigs or bad gigs, the band members are equally grateful for the learning experience — the good memories more than make up for the not-so-good ones.
“It’s really humbling that this many people have that much energy; you can feel the energy in the air,” Croft said. “That happens very frequently. You can not only feel people have a good time, but you can connect with them on a level. That’s really rare.”
The biggest yet most rewarding challenge for the band has been curating their social media presence. As social media consumes the music industry, digital engagement has become not only a fun way for the band to interact with their fans, but also a necessity.
“We recognize how important [social media] is with music, and how music has changed to become entirely digital,” Croft said. “Frankly, 80% of what determines an artist's success is their image.”
While naturally gifted in the art of music, the band’s creative genius did not always extend to their social media ability. Ford and Croft are the primary social media managers, constantly uploading TikToks, replying to fans’ Instagram stories and creating content of their own.
“We probably spend an hour minimum — closer to two — on a regular basis figuring out what we're going to do on all the socials,” Ford said. “It’s become like a full time job.”
Despite the additional stress that comes with technical difficulties, managing social media and constantly coming up with new, creative ways to engage with fans, By George is psyched to be hitting the road and playing new tunes and old hits for adoring fans.
“[I want to be] at a level where people are very frequently engaging with our music and we can plan a tour,” Ford said. “We can be confident wherever we go.”