Honus Honus | photo courtesy of the artist

“It is an album about people with real and unrealized dreams. I know that sounds a little pompous but it is true.” From anyone else this may indeed sound pompous, but from Ryan Kattner – better known as Honus Honus of band Man Man – it could not be more intriguing.

Kattner never planned on making a solo record, but when Man Man took a break after their rocking 2013 outing On Oni Pond, he didn’t want to stop writing — so Use Your Delusion was born. It marks the first solo effort for Honus Honus – keeping the stage name established through Man Man – and it gives the dynamic frontman a chance to explore plenty of new opportunities and take some exciting creative chances, while still maintaining the eclectic nature that has made Man Man one of our favorites here at The Key.

While Man Man has released most of their work via indie-rock mainstay ANTI-, Honus Honus decided to take a more DIY approach to his first solo effort. I recently spoke with Kattner over the phone about, among other things, the choice to self-release, the wide variety of collaborators, the solo-record writing process and how he should have become a venture capitalist.

Photo via facebook.com/honushonusbandband

Honus Honus | photo courtesy of the artist

The Key: What led to the decision to use Pledge Music as a way to crowdfund the release of Use Your Delusion?

Honus Honus: When the record was done, it was all self-financed, so I thought, ‘do I really want to shop this thing around or do I just want to put it out myself?’ I am not even a fan of crowd sourcing necessarily. Don’t get me wrong, its fine and I don’t frown upon people doing it, but it just really wasn’t for me. What I liked about Pledge Music is that it isn’t asking anyone to give me money for inspiration. I don’t want anyone’s money on a prayer, you know, just order my record and you will get something. Self-releasing is a lot of work but what is cool about how I decided to do it is I get to connect straight with people which is ultimately the most important thing.

I have been lucky enough that I have been on a label my entire career and so this is the first time that I have really had to figure out how to pay for mastering and mixing and then dealing with the manufacturing side of things. Like how long it takes for vinyl to get made. It’s so strange, like obviously if I had my own streaming service I could drop a record tomorrow. But the coolest thing, and the big difference, is that by doing this, I own the music, and I can’t say that about any records that I have put out in the past.

TK: You got to work with a lot of talented people on this record, starting with producer Cyrus Ghahremani (The Kroll Show, The Eric Andre Show, Earlwolf Podcast Network) along with a wide range of musicians, comedians and actors like Jon Daly. How did all this collaboration come about?

HH: I mean Cyrus was the one who really pushed me to make this record and I couldn’t have done it without his help. Since I live in LA now we kind of run in the same circles. As far as the comedians and actors involved, I met Jon Daly through Cyrus. Whenever Man Man would play shows in LA or New York or wherever permitting, we would like to have comedians open our shows. A comedian opening a rock show doesn’t always go that well. It is really hit or miss. We had Jon open a couple shows and the second show that Jon opened up for us he played this like new age saxophone dude and no one really knew it was a joke. So even though that didn’t always work, it led to him playing some awesome sax on the record.

Cyrus Ghahremani on stage with Honus Honus and company on the first stops of the Use Your Delusion Tour

Cyrus Ghahremani on stage with Honus Honus and company on the first stops of the Use Your Delusion Tour | Photo by Just Jash, courtesy of the artist | JustJash.com

TK: Daly’s role as Jesus on the hilariously makeshift video for “Heavy Jesus” was definitely a welcome surprise. What are the plans for Honus Honus music videos moving forward?

HH: Well this comedy company called JASH, which includes people like Michael Cera, Tim and Eric, Reggie Watts and Sarah Silverman, are helping me produce our music videos for the record. Basically JASH came to me and asked, “Do you want to make a music video? We have this budget, it is not great but it is enough for you to make a video.” So I said sure, that would be amazing, do you mind if I take this budget and make three music videos? Then I threw my cards down and asked if I could direct 2 of three 3 music videos. I had never directed a music video in my life but I was like screw it, if I find out that I can’t do it than I can’t do it. They said yes thankfully and they trusted me.

My philosophy is just say yes and if you fail monumentally than that is it, you proved to yourself that you can’t do it. You’ve just got to take the risk, in this day and age you just have to try whatever. Constantly hustle. I have always felt that I am not just some dude in a rock band, I could do other things as well.

“Heavy Jesus” was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun as well. I feel like my whole career has kind of been like that. I never thought I’d be in a band and now I have a band. This was just something I felt like I should try. I think that if I had been more prudent, had more foresight, and really thought about things, I should have tried activities like investment banking or becoming a venture capitalist. Instead of getting involved in the non-profitable arts, I’d have my own island.

TK: How the songwriting process for this, your first solo record, been any different than your typical work with Man Man?

HH: I don’t know, I write songs the way I write songs. Here is the thing that I think works in my favor, though at the time it seems like the most maddening process where I want to jump off the nearest cliff, is that I go through this thing where after every record is done I forget how I even wrote a record. It seems like I have to climb a mountain again to try to figure out how to write songs again. It is good though because it forces you to kind of reset and then try not write the same kind of songs.

TK: You have described the record as an, “apocalyptic LA pop album”. Care to expand upon this already intriguing description?

HH: Well first off, when I define a genre like that my tongue is obviously firmly planted in my cheek. But as with all the Man Man records, the writing is dictated by where I am in my life mentally, emotionally and even geographically, and so being on the west coast definitely seeped into the music. I have always been fascinated with Leonard Cohen’s record The Future, and I always wanted to make kind of a LA-centric record.

That isn’t to say that you have to be familiar with LA to appreciate the record. They are still songs which deal with all the usual stuff that songs deal with; desire, heartbreak, etc, but they also deal with what I have always been attracted to with LA even back before I moved here. I like LA as a place where dreams go to die, and also where dreams are born. It is where the album title Use Your Delusion comes from. Obviously, I am joking a little bit about another album with a similar title that is from LA. But also you have to be delusional to make music and want to make a create stuff in this day and age and think there can be any sort of livelihood or anything to come of it. Just use it, believe in it, if no one else believes in it, at least you believe in what you’re doing. Follow your vision, create your own language.

Use Your Delusion is set to be released this October; information about the Pledge Music pre-order can be found here.