Here’s something to really get your goat … in a good way. Vanessa Lynch (vocals, guitar) and Cole Mancini (vocals, violin) officially call their duo Capricious, but their motto (and website) is “two goats and a dream.” Both Capricorns, they have long used their astrology sign (a goat) in their literal and figurative branding.
“When we were just starting out we used to tell people we are two goats with a dream of making it in music,” Mancini explains. “Now Vanessa’s husband plays percussion with us and the new joke is he is the ‘dream.’”
“We give out free (temporary) goat tattoos,” Lynch adds, “and really have fun putting them on people and taking pics.”
The two singer-songwriters and instrumentalists first met seven years ago while attending UNCW. Since graduating in 2011, Lynch has released a full-length album with Mancini (“Walking Blind”) and a Christmas EP (“Waiting for Santa”) featuring Mancini on vocals/violin, as well as a gospel single called “Solid Rock.” They started as Capricious in 2015 and released a five-song EP, “Two Goats and a Dream,” two years ago.
“[The EP has] an acoustic, stripped-down sound,” Mancini observes. “We describe ourselves as soulful with a little folk coming in from the acoustic and violin sometimes.”
The two continue to write songs, adding five new originals to their set, and they have been known to bring along an actual goat to shows, too. One of their songs, “Follow Me,” can be heard on 98.3 The Penguin. Or ILM music fans can head to Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Friday night to catch their show.
The two shared more with encore.
encore (e): Tell us a little more about how you got to know each other at UNCW before you started performing together?
Cole Mancini (CM): We joke we were destined to be best friends. We couldn’t escape each other between our shared majors in music, and communication studies and waitressing at Chili’s. This was all totally serendipitous.
Vanessa Lynch (VL): Near graduation time is when we first played together. When Cole joined, I sang lead vocals for a band called The Surge. Eventually, the band broke up (meh, musician life), and we decided to start a band so we could focus on music without all the drama and conflicting schedules of a larger band.
We also thought it would be fun and refreshing for Wilmington to have an all-female duo perform here. We both struggled as females in this male-dominated music scene, often feeling too dependent on men to make things happen in our musical careers … so we embarked on this Capricious journey.
e: What are your respective backgrounds in music and instruments you play?
CM: We are both multi-instrumentalists who have been playing since we were very young. I started playing the violin in middle school and reluctantly auditioned for the UNCW music department after looking for a leisure group to play with in college. I ended up completing a music minor and began picking up other instruments, like piano and guitar. It wasn’t until starting Capricious with Vanessa that I began singing (with Vanessa’s encouragement). Playing live and in bands has really helped expand my overall knowledge of music. I used to only rely on my feel and natural ear, but the experience and confidence gained has really transformed the way I play now.
VL: I was one of those kids who was always twirling around in the basement with a Sony Walkman and headphones, singing out of the windows, to whoever would listen. My love of music just kept growing, until I eventually learned how to read music by playing the flute in high school and later singing in chorus. I also started singing in church choirs around this time.
During freshman year, I acquired a cheap keyboard (which I still own) and a guitar and the songwriting began. I wanted to have a lifetime commitment to the craft of music and songwriting, so I dived into the UNCW music department as a voice major.
e: Personally or musically, how do you complement each other?
CM: We really are best friends who get to play music together. We are definitely very similar in our day-to-day lives. We take life seriously when we need to with work and career, but if you are a fly on the wall at one of our girls’ nights or practice sessions you would probably describe us as goofy little kids.
We complement each other in the sense we support each other’s goals and ambitions. We also are each other’s person to be completely open and silly with. On stage and in music, it’s very much the same. If you see us play live, you will see the goofy side of us for sure. I’m sure people can tell we are best friends when we play. We always get told that, musically, our voices and harmonies blend like one voice.
e: If you could describe each other using one word or phrase, what would it be?
CM: Dedicated and true. Vanessa does what she says she’ll do and doesn’t quit on her goals. She’s also one of the most honest people I’ve ever met. She’s one person I can tell anything to and know I won’t get judged, but I’ll also get some sound advice. It’s one of the most comforting things to have in a person on this planet, I think.
VL: Cole is creative and courageous. Cole always gives the best advice (which is never the advice I want [laughs]) because she is objective and open-minded. She thinks before she speaks and she goes wherever life takes her, facing adversity with boldness and love. While on her journey she amazes me with her creativity—from fashion-designing to website-making, to film, photography, accessorizing, to songwriting (and I know there’s more I’ve left out, but you get the picture!). I am always floored by her mind and what she writes when she puts pen to paper. You would think she has been writing songs longer than I have. I am happy to have been a “helper” in cultivating her songwriting gift. I can’t wait to showcase more of the little nuggets she comes up with all the time.
e: What else can folks expect to hear from you at WTF?
CM: We love playing this venue and people definitely come there in a good mood and ready to dance. We keep the sets energetic with fun dance covers and songs to sing to. We especially like to cover females from the ‘90s and always love to see all the ladies belting out their favorite songs from the past. We also have almost a full set of original music, which we’ll mix into the set.
e: What else is to come for 2019 going into 2020?
VL: I think we would love to produce another recording with our added originals but finding time has been tough lately, with both of us having separate careers outside of music. We love playing live, though, and one of our ultimate goals would be to open for a group at a larger venue, like at a festival or Greenfield Lake Amphitheater.
Friday, August 30, 9:30 p.m.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,
111 Grace St.
Saturday, September 1, 8 p.m.
1 S. Front St.