“On Oni Pond” – Man Man are back back!

By Pascal Ebner

ManMan_Press Picture_2013

Man Man have returned: Two years after the release of their album “Life Fantastic”, band members Honus Honus and Pow Pow present a new array of songs – recreating their past tunes and putting together something fresh and shifty. After all those years in the challenging music business – Man Man are still able to improve and refuse to do the same over and over again. Thus, “On Oni Pond”, the recently released album, is packed with sounds so bizarre and fantastic that you’ll press the ‘replay’ button not only once.

“With this album we got to do something that very few bands or creative people get to do which is a reboot, and one that feels natural.”

– Honus Honus

Although their music might be confusing at first glance – they truly manage to bring order into chaos and really make you wonder what you just heard. If you think this is just simple Indie-Pop then you’re massively wrong: Man Man manage to mix heaps of genres into their new sound – including Hip Hop, Psychedelic, Rock ‘n’ Roll and so on… throw in some cryptical lyrics, intellectual fantasy and you get bewildering “On Oni Pond”.

To understand the music of Man Man you have to listen to it yourself – reading about it will only give you hints, that need to be deciphered, but isn’t that the fun part after all?

We had the great opportunity to ask Man Man member Honus Honus some questions and give our readers the opportunity to get a read ‘behind’ Man Man’s thoughts on lyrics writing, the use of obscure instruments and their all-time favorites:

.Cent: Your new album “On Oni Pond” is described as a reconstruction of your sound – was the process of creating the album therefore a different experience?

Honus Honus: It was vastly different in the sense that instead of having an entire band to bounce ideas off of it came down to just me and my drummer Chris, who provided some wonderful new musical palates of his own. It was wholly refreshing to collaborate in such a tight knit scenario and though it was stressful, ultimately we couldn’t be any happier. Chris and I have played together for years and without the friction of conflicting creative egos the focus could be where it needed be: on the songs and not on unproductive, peripheral drama, putting out fires. Fires are best suited for marshmallows anyway. And burning down houses.

.Cent: You use a wide range of instruments for your music, how do you come up with some of these? Is it just a random flash of genius?

Honus Honus: I guess it’s about not setting too many restrictions on what’s fair game and also not being afraid to step outside your comfort zones. Played with conviction, I think you can make most ideas sound perfect for the song. Can I make throwing 30 spoons at a passing sports car sound “right” for the song? Maybe not but I should at least try. And run like hell when the car’s driver stops to kick my ass.

.Cent: Can you tell us three of your all-time favorites in music? Do you sometimes listen to your own songs?

Honus Honus: Leonard Cohen, James Brown, Hank Williams. I actually do listen to my own songs but usually only the last album I made. I still marvel in the fact that my job is to make music and that I somehow pull it together. After every album though I go into the same dark mindset of forgetting how to write songs. How did I do it? I have to do it again? Can I do it again? What the hell do I write about? It’s the worst feeling really.

Can’t really listen to the older albums. Bring back too many memories of a younger, insane me. When I do, though, I’m astonished. How did I make it this long, with this brain, on the planet Earth? Wow.

.Cent: Quite a lot of musicians are lazy with lyrics nowadays and just make their songs easy to sing along – what importance does lyric writing hold in your music? Would you encourage other musicians to write songs themselves (even if they’re less experienced)?

Honus Honus: I hate writing lyrics but I still beat myself up to try and do them to the best of my abilities. In that sense I’m not prolific. I try to always strike a balance of storytelling, confessions, humor, sadness, abstract imagery, referential landscapes. In my opinion a song should always be personal but not in a way that alienates a listener. Easy, right? I’m a failed screenwriter/film student at heart but I try to compensate by scripting visceral 3 minute narratives. Visualizing and creating inhabitable scenes is most important to me. Would I encourage other musicians to write songs themselves (even if they’re less experienced)? You don’t need experience. You just need to sing it how you feel it. Don’t worry about doing it “right or wrong” and don’t sweat not knowing how to write songs. I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing and Man Man is my first band. I’m still learning. And yes, I’m doing it wrong.

.Cent: Lastly, what about Man Man’s future? What can we expect? Big plans ahead?

Honus Honus: We’re about to start a month long European tour opening for Gogol Bordello. We’re really excited about that. Such an amazing live band. Then we’ll come back to the US and do another round of winter touring and that’ll be that for the album. It’s unfortunate that we live in such an ADD universe because we would try to keep touring the album but I guess we already have to start working on the next one. Unless something radical happens and our new album On Oni Pond becomes a miraculous hot commodity and we tour more. Dream on, Honus. Gotta always keep moving forward, stay hungry, evolve. Got any matches? I think there’s a fire that needs to be set.

Get ready to indulge in some Man Man music – have a listen to “Head On”:

You prefer visual material? Check out the official video below:

Now it’s time to jump over to Man Man’s official website, Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud to get even more infos, dates, updates on new releases and much more. Also, make sure to take a look at the Anti- website for other great artists and sounds.

The new album “On Oni Pond” is available now via Anti- and iTunes.

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