Man Man overboard: Pop goes the experimental rock band

Man Oh Man: Pow (Chris Powell), T-Moth (Jamey Robinson), Honus (Ryan Kattner), and Chang (Billy Dufala), and have created a worldwide cult fanbase on their intricately weird pop songs.
Photo courtesy of Anti Records

Man Man leader Ryan Kattner swears that he’s just trying to write the next great pop song, yet he boasts about how the band’s sound is completely different compared to anything else in contemporary music.

“Musically, I don’t feel like we have a kinship with any bands and, five records later, we still don’t,” said Kattner, who sings and plays keyboard and piano.

Comfortably setting itself apart from others, Man Man has been a torch bearer of experimental indie rock for a decade, producing an amalgamation of eccentric acts in the vein of Mr. Bungle and Tom Waits.

Kattner, who goes by the stage name Honus Honus, said movies and visual art have influenced him more than other musical acts — which is clear from the band’s raucous live shows, with members sometimes adorned in day-glo warpaint, looking absolutely radioactive.

Other members go by Pow, T-Moth, and Chang — also known as Chris Powell, Jamey Robinson, and Billy Dufala.

For the band’s last album “Life Fantastic” producer Mike Mogis, best known for being a member of Bright Eyes, helped weave a dense and frenetic tapestry of synth, melodica, horns, and orchestral strings. The lyrics are much more personal on previous albums than on this outing, but the zaniness remains.

Mogis is also producing Man Man’s newest album, which the band plans to test drive during the tour — just to see if it’s got the right balance of pop and preposterousness.

“If we don’t blow all of our deadlines, it will hopefully be out by this summer,” said Kattner. “You make your monster in the lab and then you take it out and see if it picks flowers for the little girl or if it eats the girl.”

Man Man at Music Hall of Williamsburg [66 N. Sixth St., between Wythe and Kent avenues in Williamsburg, (718) 486–5400, www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com]. Feb. 28, 7:30 pm, $20.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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