“A big part of this current tour aside from being able to support the latest album is that we’re going to be road testing a bunch of new songs to take into the studio after touring.”
There are some bands that combine a whole bunch of weirdness to create cool sounds and Man Man is one of them. Currently based in Los Angeles after starting in Philadelphia, they pull off feats similar to Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart, and even a bit of Frank Zappa. They also do their kind of music with a modern flair and it’s awfully fun to see live.
Fans will be able to experience the spectacle when Man Man rolls through Brighton Music Hall on July 2. The stop is part of their tour in support of their latest album, Dream Hunting In The Valley Of The In-Between.
I spoke with pianist, lead singer, principal songwriter, and lyricist Honus Honus about making the album after taking a hiatus, the band’s Patreon account, having an unreleased song in a video game, doing work in both film and TV, and some new music that’ll be unveiled at the show.
Dream Hunting In The Valley Of The In-Between came out in 2020 and it’s the band’s first release after going on hiatus in 2015. With such a long time between the hiatus and the release, what would you say was the biggest difference between the making of this album versus the ones that were done prior to the band going on hiatus?
I guess the biggest difference is that, and I can’t go into much detail about it, but it was kind of a forced hiatus so I was just trying to get back on track. It took a long time to write the record because, you know, life happens and then the pandemic happened.
What was it like releasing the album back in May of that crazy year right at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak?
To be honest, it was pretty brutal. It took three years to record the album and we hadn’t had a release in six years so then to be all excited to drop it and get hit with a one-in-a-lifetime pandemic kind of shut everything down. We had the opportunity to push the release but I figured since people were stuck inside they needed some diversion so if music can help anybody then that’s great.
Around that time you also had a Patreon set up, right?
How’s that been working out for you using that crowdfunding platform to get your fans involved? How has it been for you and the band?
The Patreon was initially something I didn’t really want to do but I wanted to be able to keep the band going. It’s been cool, it’s actually been surprisingly awesome to be able to interact with people and kind of share behind the scenes in a way that we’ve never really done before. To form relationships with people your music has touched is a very special thing.
That following December, Man Man got to have a previously unreleased song titled “So It Goes” in the video game Cyberpunk 2077 while being credited as Fingers and the Outlaws. Who approached you about getting involved in the video game’s soundtrack? Was this your first time doing anything like this?
It’s actually kind of a bucket list thing. I’ve always wanted to have a song in a video game and to have one in a video game like Cyberpunk is really awesome for it to happen. I was a little bummed that they had to use aliases for all the bands but I totally get it.
Yeah, because of copyright issues and stuff like that. Were you able to play the game? Cyberpunk 2077 when it came out was notorious for having glitches when it first came out.
I bought a copy of it and it’s on my shelf but I also had a kid during the pandemic so I still haven’t gotten to it. I felt like another thing sort of like how COVID-19 unfolded and derailed us being able to tour and support the album. It was one of those things where Cyberpunk was totally positioned to be the game of the year and then it had all the glitches so it became another life lesson in expectations. The response to that actual song has been overwhelmingly positive, it’s a nice and cool little side effect. People have been covering the song online on Youtube and stuff.
Do you think it’ll ever be released as part of a downloadable soundtrack for the game? Have you talked to the developers about that?
I don’t know, we signed off on it but I don’t know why it wasn’t included on the soundtrack. Now it’s just sort of an Easter egg.
It seems like it. You’ve dabbled in film and television through doing music supervision and scoring for the remake of The Exorcist and the films Superdeluxe and Do You Want To See A Dead Body? You also played a park ranger in the film Woe, developed an animated series, wrote film scripts, made a graphic novel and a neo-noir TV pilot among other things. Have you always wanted to do film & TV or did you kind of fall into it from living out in Los Angeles?
Actually that was my background and I fell into playing music. I went to school for screenwriting and playwriting and then I got sidetracked by music, which is fortunate because I love playing music. I’ve still been hustling on the margins, these things take time, sometimes they happen and sometimes they never do but I’ve been fortunate enough to get opportunities like all the ones you named. “Acting” always kind of terrified me and I feel that it’s something as a younger man I wouldn’t have been able to confront but having the experience of being on stage for a very long time prepared me for that. I’m actually part of a group that’s trying to get a film financed right now.
Are you working on any new music for the next Man Man record or have you been pursuing other projects?
Funny you ask because a big part of this current tour aside from being able to support the latest album is that we’re going to be road testing a bunch of new songs to take into the studio after touring.
Do you have an idea of what the new material is going to be recorded for? Will it be an EP or another full length?
They’re for a full length and we have the tunes written in various stages for the next record. We didn’t want to play a set of only new songs, I know some bands do that but we figured that we’d take six of them out and see how they fare. We’re very excited about that because they’re a different vibe and I’m very stoked about the direction the next album is going to be heading towards.
Rob Duguay is an arts & entertainment journalist based in Providence, RI who is originally from Shelton, CT. Outside of DigBoston, he also writes for The Providence Journal, The Connecticut Examiner, The Newport Daily News, Worcester Magazine, New Noise Magazine, Northern Transmissions and numerous other publications. While covering mostly music, he has also written about film, TV, comedy, theatre, visual art, food, drink, sports and cannabis.