Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Interview: Man Man (The Sequel)

Jonathan Migneault

Last April Calum interviewed Man Man's mysterious lead singer, Honus Honus. It was a glorious event that likely improved many lives and nearly caused World peace. Like Hollywood, Mocking Music has run out of original ideas and has decided to return to what works: Man Man interviews. Fear not, because this is one of those rare sequels that is superior to the original. In fact, I would even say that this is the Empire Strikes Back of interviews. An interview that delves deeper than the original ever dared to go. New characters, such as the indomitable Sergei Sogay, the utterly awesome Alejandro "Cougar" Borg and myself have been added to the plot. There are incredible twists and turns at every corner that will leave the reader dizzy with intrigue. Grab some popcorn, your favourite beer/soda and read on. Man Man's world awaits...

Calum: This is the second tour for your album, right?

Honus Honus: Off this album we've done three.

Calum: Three tours?

Honus: Yeah.

Calum: What's the reason for so many tours?

Alejandro "Cougar" Borg: They weren't long ones.

Sergei Sogay: Yeah they were little ones at first. This will be the longest one for this album.

Calum: Has it been picking up steam since you guys started, since the album was released?

Sergei: Definitely.

Honus: We still have a lot of touring ahead of us, so...

Calum: And it's just been North America?

Cougar: Just North America and then hopefully Europe in the fall. We're gonna try to do another North American tour in the early fall. We're gonna do some Canada stuff too, hopefully.

Jonathan: Where in Europe?

Cougar: Hopefully all of Europe man. It's not really worked out yet. It's in the works...

Jonathan: You guys have a reputation for being a great live band. Do you guys put more thought into the live aspect than the recording process?

Honus: Sergei!

Sergei: Umm... It's got the same, I mean recording there was a lot that went into it, a lot of preparation but for the live we do a lot of preparation and planning --- figuring out what works best. It's a process just like any other thing that we do.

Calum: And everyone that was part of the recording process is touring with you? Is it just you four?

Honus: No there's five of us. I mean I mean Mandrew is the Man manager. (laughs)

Calum: And are you guys working on anything new or are you just sticking with the same songs?

Honus: We're gonna have a recording where it's just Pow Pow singing. You know that?

Calum: Hopefully not...

Sergei: Yeah we've been working on some new stuff.

Cougar: We'll probably play two new songs that we've been working on this evening.

Jonathan: Tonight?!?

Honus: Yeah. Two new songs from the next record.

Cougar: We'll we've got "Snake Hand" on it too.

Honus: Yeah, I guess it's three new songs from the next record. We're gonna try to do that tonight. Keep a fair mix.

Homeless man about ten feet to our left: Get your free moustache rides!
[A moment of delicious irony when one considers that a) most of Man Man's members have kick ass facial hair and b) they have a song called 10lb Moustache.]

Everyone: (Laughter)

* We then move inside the venue's "vestibule" where there are fewer distractions.

Calum: With all the pseudonyms and wild stage show stuff is it aiming for anything specific? Like, do you guys have fake names for a reason?

Sergei: The names just kinda... They're just nicknames that fit who we were, our personalities. They help make our personalities a little bit bigger on stage.

Jonathan: Did you guys put a lot of thought into the names?

Cougar: I just really love John Cougar Mellencamp so... That's where the "Cougar" came from.

Calum: I've read that you guys are friends with Islands. Is that true?

Honus: Yeah I'm friends with Nick. He was at our show last night. He's a nice guy.

Jonathan: They played here a couple of weeks ago.

Honus: They played here?

Calum: They played at a club down the street.

Honus: I kinda bust his balls a little bit because we wear all white.

Calum: And they wear all white...

Honus: Yeah but we were wearing all white first!

Everyone: (laughter)

Honus: His last words to all of us yesterday were: if we don't stop wearing all white he's gonna kill us.

Jonathan: Well they're breaking up anyways, so...

Honus: They're breaking up?

Jonathan: Well didn't J'Aime Tambeur leave the band?

Honus: Yeah but he's the drummer. I mean he's a founding member but they're still going. They're not gonna break up. I mean Nick's a very driven determined guy.

No one in this band was around except for me was around in the first lineup.

Calum: Will you guys be around for the third record?

Honus: I fuckin' hope so.

Cougar: Since we're on that subject Honus I've been meaning to tell you...

Calum: Do you write the songs yourself?

Honus: I write the lyrics but I don't write Cougar's guitar parts or Sergei's bass parts.

Calum: And you guys all contribute then?

Cougar: Yeah. We all throw in ideas.

Sergei: The songs all come together in the end. Honus writes the skeleton of it and we all just throw our parts in.

Calum: That second album [Six Demon Bag] especially seems like it's really cohesive. It seems very purposeful in that it flows. I assumed that it wasn't spontaneous.

Honus: No. I mean even in our live shit there's a lot of energy and a bit of improv going. I mean we riff on a lot of...

Sergei: Yeah we don't stick strictly to how things were written and recorded. The songs are the same pretty much...

Honus: But we just play around with how we attack it.

Calum: You guys don't play a lot of the songs from the album because they're too slow or too emotional?

Honus: Yeah, well you shouldn't believe everything you read.

Jonathan: Will we hear "Van Helsing" tonight?

Honus: Probably not. But it doesn't mean we don't play it. Definitely there's a pacing in a set and some songs totally destroy the pacing.

Jonathan: When would you play those [slower paced] songs?

Honus: Sometimes we'll play those first. Sergei?

Sergei: Umm, we feel it out. If we do an encore or anything silly like that sometimes we'll play those first or play them first in the set.

Cougar: Once we get moving we just like to keep it moving and keep the room bouncing. It's kinda hard to go the room amped when all of a sudden you go to a slow heavy song in the middle of the set when everyone's dancing and enjoying themselves.

Honus: You're like a DJ. For example "Gold Teeth", it's a great song to play live but it's just a really long slow jam. In the middle of the set it sucks the energy out of the room. We're trucking along and...

Calum: Do you still play a lot of the old material?

Honus: Our live show is pretty much half and half from our first two records and then we even throw in new stuff together.

Calum: Someone mentioned before that it's mostly new album material.

Honus: Oh, I don't know. I think it's pretty evenly split.

Calum: I find the first album is a lot more consistently paced and a lot slower than the second album...

Honus: The first album?

Calum: Yeah. Do you find that sometimes throws off the pacing?

Honus: I feel like we have a lot of really good last song in a set songs. "Van Helsing", "Gold Teeth" or "Werewolf" or even...

Sergei: We could even play those songs faster, much faster.

Calum: Just to keep the pace going?

Sergei: Yeah. It's not all an energy thing too. Whether it was on purpose that we meant to go that fast or not it's just that we're coming out of something that's really hot and we just keep plowing away...

Calum: And you guys feel each other out in that sort of way?

Cougar: We have little walkie-talkies.

Everyone: (Laughter)

Calum: Do you guys find that you've had any problems with your lack of a genre? Because I've seen you listed as indie rock or experimental.

Sergei: The experimental thing kind of bums me out because experimental means that you're gonna do something and you're not quite sure what's going to come out of it. Everything we do is pretty much on purpose, so I don't really think we fall into "experimental". I don't think we're experimental at all.

Honus: I think we're experimental. I mean we're not adhering to a classical pop structure.

Sergei: Yeah, but it's still intentional what we're doing.

Honus: It's intentional but..

Calum: I think sometimes people say experimental when they mean weird.

Honus: I think we're a non-masturbatory experimental.

Calum: I think those two go hand-in-hand.

Honus: Masturbatory and experimental, yes they do. So we're non-masturbatory, we're semi-masturbatory.

Calum: Are you guys kinda stuck with the Waits, Zappa, Beefheart thing?

Honus: Only when people keep mentioning it.

Sergei: Our influences don't really come from them at all. I mean those are all people that we respect but we're not really like...

Honus: They're amazing musicians.

Sergei: We're not huge Zappa fans or we're not huge Beefheart fans in any way.

Honus: I like Tom Waits. He's an amazing lyricist but why the hell would you just want to just mimic.

Cougar: Everyone else is really doing that.

Sergei: We get a lot of Zappa comparisons. People tell me personally when they see me on the street: "You guys are like Zappa." I'm like, "nah, really what we're doing is different from other people, I guess."

Calum: I think the biggest thing in common between you guys and those guys...

Honus: Is our moustaches.

Calum: Well it's hard to define them so I think that that's...

Honus: Why the hell do you want to put yourself in a genre box anyway? It's like when I first started playing music with this band it's like: "Why do I want to start playing disco punk rock now that I'm not gonna play five years from now?" Why not just be in a band where I could be playing variations on this theme 10 years from now.

Jonathan: So, what are your influences?

Honus: What are your influences? You know... Having people shit on you, having bad relationships, being in love with people, being broke, having bullshit jobs, you know. Everyone influences us, that's what this is.

Calum: Do you play with a set list?

Sergei: We play with a set list.

Calum: Bu that's not strictly adhered to?

Honus: We try to change it up.

Sergei: It's usually more or less the same but we feel out the crowd a little bit we don't really like to stop between songs. So there's no discussion really or...

Calum: You're not gonna make witty banter?

Honus: Why? I mean everyone else makes semi-witty banter. I don't give a shit at what Indian restaurant the band ate. Or some terrible joke you've already heard.

Sergei: What street they drove in on...

Honus: Who cares? Just play your songs.

Sergei: We'll leave the jokes to Blink 182 and bands like that. We just want to play music, you know?

Honus: You'll see that it's more like a play than anything else. Will the members of Man Man be able to pull it off this evening even though there's a set structure. How far can we go exploring where we're at? Do we have to stick or adhere to a song structure?

Man Man - Van Helsing Boombox
Man Man - I, Manface

Man Man - Six Demon Bag

Interview: Man Man

Comments on "Interview: Man Man (The Sequel)"


Blogger Calum Marsh said ... (6/6/06 2:38 pm) : 

Honus Honus is my father.

Stay tuned for the deluxe remastered special edition of both interviews, where we arbitrarily change the font and add high-res pictures. Also, we'll digitally replace Jonathan with Russell Crowe.


Blogger Jonathan Migneault said ... (6/6/06 2:53 pm) : 

I think Calum just raped my childhood.


Blogger Casey Dorrell said ... (6/6/06 7:03 pm) : 

Where's your editor?


And that makes three people to read that whole thing.


Funny you should make a SW reference - Lucas was never great at writing dialogue.


Nice interview - a bit long though.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6/6/06 7:51 pm) : 

It's just too long


Blogger Casey Dorrell said ... (6/6/06 8:18 pm) : 

I already said that . . . four times.


Blogger Jonathan Migneault said ... (6/6/06 8:28 pm) : 

Okay, I've listened to your comments and have edited the article for length. Although it is still a little long it should read much better. I've taken out a lot of the stuff that went off tangent and wasn't very relevant.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6/6/06 9:38 pm) : 

Goddammit! I want the whole thing! I hate you! It's the Internet, if people don't want to read it, they can scroll past it! Jesus Christ!


Blogger Jonathan Migneault said ... (6/6/06 9:50 pm) : 

Don't worry all I removed was some irrelevant chit chat. At the end of the interview, for example, they talked about a local Indian restaurant called Nagina's.

In case you were interested, they also listened to the Flaming Lips' Soft Bulletin, the underground hip hop group Pharcyde and Jay-Z on the way to Ottawa (from Montreal).

Had people like yourself spoken up earlier I may have kept the entire interview intact. I blame the Internet generation's short attention span...

But that would be another post altogether.


Blogger mel said ... (7/6/06 2:54 am) : 

I agree, great interview, but it was too long. Sure you can scroll down, but I think people are more likely to just stop reading.


Blogger Casey Dorrell said ... (7/6/06 4:06 am) : 

Yeah, people hit back.

Stop being such a pansy.


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