Image & Video by Luke Paul
“Honestly, I thought it’d just be fun to have a brief flirtation with music,
maybe put out one truly bizarre but well-meaning record
made by someone who doesn’t know how to really play music,
and then move on with my life.”
— HONUS HONUS
Honus Honus, the stage name of Ryan Kattner, is set to release his debut solo album on November 4. He has released five albums with Man Man, most recently On Oni Pond in 2013, as well as one album with Mister Heavenly, 2011’s Out Of Love. He’s also the music supervisor for Fox’s TV reboot of The Exorcist.
Honus Honus, the stage name of Ryan Kattner, has built a career as the frontman of Man Man and Mister Heavenly. Now he’s ready to step out on his own, releasing his debut solo record Use Your Delusion, an “apocalyptic LA pop album”, on November 4. He’s brought in a talented team for the album, including Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse and the Shins, actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, comedian Jon Daly and Shannon Shaw of Shannon & The Clams, with production by King Cyrus King, composer for Adult Swim.
Where are you from?
Currently, Los Angeles. Birthed in Texas. Road Tested in Philippines, South Carolina, Germany, Illinois, Alabama and Missouri. All-weathered in Philly.
When did you start making music?
If we’re going on specifics here, I guess it was the first time I banged my head on and off the keys of my grandfather’s upright piano. I was probably 2-years-old then. Rattled something loose in both the piano and my head.
Who did you listen to growing up and who is your music influenced by today?
How would you describe your musical genre/style?
How and when did you decide that this is what you were going to do?
Still not sure this whole thing was a very good idea.
What’s your story of getting started as a musician?
Went to college for screenwriting and film. After I graduated, to fill in the gaps of my days of working in coffee shops and bars and writing, I thought it’d be a novel idea to try and put together songs, maybe put together a band and play some shows around town. All of this was without ever having been in a band before or having any knowledge of how to play music. I’m definitely untrained. It was scary and overwhelming trying to discover my own voice, but naive me was all, “if you don’t know the rules then there aren’t any to break. Just sing it how you feel it.” Honestly, I thought it’d just be fun to have a brief flirtation with music, maybe put out one truly bizarre but well-meaning record made by someone who doesn’t know how to really play music, and then move on with my life. Have it be just a short chapter of “when I was in band,” and pull that record off the shelf and look it for a few nostalgic moments before putting it back on the shelf next to my food rehydration machine, self-lacing sneakers, and 4-D printer. Kind of botched that plan.
Going to art school, I’d spent a lot of time around music majors, composers, exceptionally talented technical players, but none of them ever made any music that connected to me in a personal way. It was all too polished and learned, stiff. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was probably hearing Screamin’ Jay’s “I Put A Spell On You” during a screening of Stranger Than Paradise when I was 18; that probably had the most significant impact on my developing musical mind. I had never heard a song so raw and crazy and, more importantly, from the heart. Made me realize that you can get a lot across with only a few chords if you mean what you’re saying. No matter how “out there” what you’re saying may be. A few year later, fresh out of college, I saw Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain and I was hooked. I wanted to make music that sounded like how that movie’s visuals made me feel. Make something so ugly and so beautiful at the same time. I’m never going to be a contestant on The Voice or any other karaoke show, so you gotta work with what you got. Blame Jarmusch & Jodorowsky for me making music.
“Still not sure
this whole thing was
a very good idea.”
— Honus Honus
How does it feel to have finished your album? What was the process like?
I always viewed Man Man as my solo output, so I never really thought about making a “solo” album before but I’m surprised by how much I’m loving it. I have Cy (King Cyrus King) to thank for it since he pushed me to do it and really pulled the best outta me. What I was really dreading was putting together a new band but I lucked out with all the wonderful weirdos who drifted aboard. I’m so lucky to have such killer players, unique personalities backing me. Now…if I can just get all those Man Man fans out there to realize this album exists. That’s the ultimate challenge.
Who would you most like to collaborate with and why?
Leonard Cohen. To me, the most beautiful songwriter that’s ever lived. I’d just like to go see a film with him, we don’t need to talk music or life or anything really. We can collaborate on eating a pizza together afterwards.
What are you working on now?
Juggling a lot of things right now. Prepping for tour. Getting all the Pledge album pre-order stuff together to mail before I leave for tour. Not news to anybody who’s done it before but self-releasing an album is a lot of work! Let’s see, what else? New Honus Honus tunes. Anxious to get another one written. Directing another Honus Honus music video for JASH. They produced the Heavy Jesus video I directed in the spring (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rliv3gm89I). Hoping to finally head into the studio and record the next Mister Heavenly album this winter. Songs are demoed out, so we’re just trying to sort label stuff right now. Just finished writing the first book of a long series graphic novel that my friend, the talented Leah Samuels (@negaleah on Instagram) is illustrating. That’s still a few years from coming out but I’m really excited. Trying to figure out what to do with the “Booger Bubble” album/project/bizarro “kids” album that Cyrus and I made last year. Looking for some talented animators to bring aboard. We wanna make a series of interstitials in the vein of Pee-wee’s Playhouse but we need to find the right home for them. My buddy Casey and I also have an animated series spinning its wheels in development over at Starburns (Rick & Morty). Be nice for that one to get some legs. It’s such a wild idea. I also write an occasional column for The Talkhouse (http://thetalkhouse.com/artist/ryan-kattner/) whenever pushed by the lovely editor to do so. Lastly, wrangled music supervision gigs on the new Exorcist TV series and over at the insane Super Deluxe YouTube Channel. Both completely bonkers. And yes, my head is going to eventually explode from all of this.
What’s your favorite book, film, and music right now?
Deep Northern Soul cuts.
What are your interests and passions outside of music?
I’m a huge NBA nerd. I can talk NBA till I’m blue in the face. Devoted Sixers fan. Trust the Process. I also got coerced to “act” in my friend Justin Carlton’s short film So It Goes (http://napavalleyfilmfest.org/so-it-goes) last year opposite the before-mentioned Mary Elizabeth Winstead so I have a bit of bug now to be in another project of his. I don’t wanna be an actor or profess to be any good but I’m willing to try it again if the project fits. If Westworld needs me to get killed in any episodes in Season Two, I’m your man, man. Who’s on that?
I almost optioned a feature script this year but it fell through – which was heartbreaking but par the course – so I started working on an off-kilter LA noir story. I haven’t had much time to focus on it but I really wanna dive in and get the pilot episode written next year. And there’s the next book of the graphic novel looming. Need to get started on that pronto. Really make Leah’s life hell.