by Caitlin Jaworski
Last September, Man Man released On Oni Pond which was a far reach from anything they had previously done before. Described as “an arresting reconstruction”, it’s no wonder fans may have been taken by surprise as their overall sound became much more rhythmic, but reassuringly “still very much Man Man”. Ever since their thrilling reboot, Man Man has been touring the country with their critically acclaimed electric performance, boasting an unconventional and chaotic energy that it would be hard for anyone to follow.
When speaking with frontman, Honus Honus (Ryan Kattner), about their new rebooted sound, he simply states “I don’t think we sound like anyone else.” With their extensive list of quirky instrumentation, it’s plain to see how their sound could resonate with so many people looking for something unique and experimental. On Oni Pond is described by Man Man as “head on and fearless”, which paints an accurate portrayal of the lyrics.
“To us, having good words is important. I wouldn’t call myself a musician’s musician. I’m just someone who writes songs,” Honus Honus says. Adding drummer Pow Pow and his influences create a distinct change to Man Man’s overall sound, the words used are of the utmost importance.
As a focused lyricist, Honus Honus delves into the process of how this “fearless” writing style comes to him. “It’s not that it comes easily. We just make the songs that we wanna make, and try not to over think it too much.” Honesty comes in this simplicity to Honus Honus, and writing fearlessly is as easy as writing precisely what you want with no beating around the bush.
Combined with their honest words is the band’s ability to make an eccentric impact on their sound no matter how rhythmic or experimental it sounds. Their instrumentation varies from a standard drum set, trumpet, flute to the unconventional, which includes pots and pans, noisemakers and other various household objects.
Honus Honus says that “if there’s an instrument I think sounds kinda cool I’ll pick it up. Sometimes I’ll just buy an instrument- like a ukulele- and I’ll have to learn how to play it because I bought it. I had to write a song with a ukulele because I bought a ukulele.”
In the end, though, despite the fun that comes with tinkering around with such unique sounds, the importance for a song to be written still holds true. “Yeah, they make a cool sound, but ultimately I’ve got to write a song.”
Will Man Man stay consistent with this reconstruction of their sound on the addition of future records? Honus Honus plans to “reboot Man Man with every new record.” Whether or not the audience is satisfied with the changing of their sound, it is clear that although Man Man’s sound is ever-changing, their pride and attention to the messages they convey, and devotion to making songs, is not.
As Philly natives, Man Man will be back in town this weekend XpoNential Festival where they will play with other phenomenal live talents such as Jenny Lewis, Lucius and Dawes. Honus Honus is looking forward to catching one at in particular. “Beck. Beck is inspirational.” Along with the initial excitement of these other equally terrific talents, he’s generally “very excited to play Xponential. It’s our first time playing it,” and hopefully not their last.
With infectious tracks like “Loot My Body” and “Head On [Hold On To Your Heart]”, Man Man is bringing their phenomenal live performance back home again Sunday night. Without a doubt, you should not miss them and all of the other talent appearing this weekend for Xponential.