Seeds Asks: What Impact Does Piracy Have On Your Records/Fanbase?

Click to Enlarge

ERIC EARLEY | Blitzen Trapper

It’s had a positive influence on our fan base. It’s had a negative influence on record sales, of course(laughs). That’s for everybody, I guess. It’s great for live shows though, you know? You go out on tour and everybody already knows all the words.

RYAN KATTNER | Mister Heavenly

I guess it’s positive because people find out about our music, but at the same time it keeps a lot of artists struggling, barely getting by. It gets to the point where you’re like, “I’ve worked really hard for it.” Concert revenues are always a justification, I think being on the road and making money gives them a way to justify it.


My office has a water cooler. It’s never gonna put Evian out of business.


Sorta seems like taking a stance on the ocean. Or a stance on the wind. If my music brings joy or inspiration to someone I could care less how it gets there. I don’t own it anymore than they do.


I don’t personally search for illegal downloads. If there’s a free MP3 somewhere, you know, I’ll just download it. I really just don’t care either way. I feel like it’s kind of exciting in a way. There’s a part of me that’s always hated any sort of authority. I grew up in a very strict upbringing, rules were everything. Anything that has that sort of ‘spirit of rebellion’, I have a soft spot for. It’s too early for anyone to tell if it’s a bad thing for the music industry. It’s nice that kids can listen to music, and that kids without money can listen to music.

NATE WILLETT | Cold War Kids

I could try to sum it up with this. I was looking on twitter the other day and a guy said “Hey, I’m dying to hear some more Cold war kids music. when are you guys gonna put something out?” and looking at it through that lens, bands very typically release a record every year and a half or so and everybody’s looking for more ways to put music out. For us it’s challenging and exciting to think in terms that “C’mon man, we just put an album out nine months ago, what do you expect?” but really for our band we could have a much greater output than we have. It kind of comes back to the internet as a solution to that. We’re really going to be challenging ourselves to make more music, find more places to put it and to be a creative band first and not a touring band first.


Our band is of the generation where we’re not really angry about it because we were a part of it all. None of us in Fun really had any significant success before the internet was this prominent. So there isn’t an ability, or feeling that we’re getting robbed. If anything it’s been instrumental in everything we’ve done. It’s this elegant thing. At the same time, we grew up in the 90’s and that’s when we started getting into music. That was an amazing time, there was so much mystery in music. It’s nice to make music and put it out there and have that be that. There wasn’t YouTube and things like that, so when Billie Joe [Armstrong, of Green Day] got naked at a show in 1994, it became a legend that you just heard about. You couldn’t just look at the video the next day. There is that element of mystery in music and art that is lost, so in any way that we can hold on to that, we’re still trying to. I think the only way to do that nowadays is not too grotesquely post every last feeling or irrelevant piece of content on your website or Facebook or whatnot. So it’s great to connect and use all those outlets to get our music out there, but I don’t think we’re really interested in having everyone feel like we’re all best friends.

Mister Heavenly | Interview

No band truly wants to be described as a “super group.” Acts like Monsters of Folk have only played with the idea in an ironic sense, while the upper crust of popular music reminds us all to “watch the throne.” When your colleagues consist of friendly and talented musicians who have an open-ended sense of direction with their careers, it’s completely logical to collaborate and try your hand at mixing and resurrecting different genres.

Touting the brainchild subgenre of “Doom-wop,” Mister Heavenly rocks and shouts and croons their way through debut LP “Out of Love,” which becomes more cohesive with each go-round when listened to as a single entity. Nicholas Thorburn, lead singer of Islands, often trades verses with Ryan Kattner, “Honus Honus” of Man Man, playing to a good cop/bad cop theatric that hearkens to songs like Micheal Jackson’s “The Girl is Mine.” As a trio, including Modest Mouse’s Joe Plummer, the band has found a comfortable side project, an outlet for increasing the draw towards their primary acts.

Kattner, or Honus Honus, shares his ambitions for the “super group” and reflects on the differences between the bands involved.

DailyER Nebraskan: Explain how the partnership between yourself, Modest Mouse’s Joe Plummer, and Islands’ Nicholas Thorburn (other than the fact that you’re on the same label) came about.

MH: Nick and I had been talking for a long time about collaborating. Then I had the same kind of conversation with Joe. When I started working with Nic’s songs, I figured it would be best to put my side away first, personally, and also get their problems out of the way at the same time.

DailyER: With the success of “Out of Love,” is returning to your respective acts going to be transformed in any way?

MH: I don’t think so. The thing about the band is that, hopefully, it raises awareness for our other bands, you know? I won’t just stand there. I think both of our bands [Islands and Man Man] don’t necessarily get the attention that we’d like to have. I still feel like we’re both bands that are under the radar.

DailyER: The back-and-forth nature of your two vocals combined seems to contrast quite well. How easy was it to arrange this new song structure?

MH: It was pretty seamless, actually. One of the big parts of the process is that we didn’t want to over-think things too much. It just felt right, and it felt good. We found ourselves singing the songs later without each other and it was completely wrong. They’re our tracks.

DailyER: What sort of changes in the creative process were brought about when working with Nicholas?

MH: One of the most notable things with Nic, another song editor—I differentiate between songwriter and arranger. With Man Man, it was amazing to have [the band] play with me. I’d just give them parts of the song, you know, the right pitch and such. When working with someone like Nic, it’s refreshing to hit a wall and have someone to pawn it off to.

DailyER: The live performances of Islands and Man Man carry completely separate energies. How different is the experience of the two combined?

MH: In this band I don’t get to put on a dress. Working with this band has been really fun; not that working with Man Man wasn’t fun, but it’s a bit more straight-laced. You’ve heard the record, right?

DailyER: Yes, a few times.

MH: The songs are definitely a lot different compared to Man Man songs.

DailyER: Describe the state of mind of Doom-wop. Was it just the general sound of 50s R&B that inspired you? Were there specific artists that inspired you?

MH: I think of a girl driving a corvette with her dead boyfriend in the trunk.

DailyER: You seem to have a lot of fun on stage with Man Man. Does that same sense of humor cross over into Mister Heavenly performances?

MH: It’s not so much the numbers, it’s just fun playing with other people.

DailyER: What gave you the idea for the name Honus Honus?

MH: It’s just a stage name.

DailyER: Do you retain it while playing with Mister Heavenly?

MH: It’s difficult, because I still use it now on stage, and when someone calls to me, “Ryan,” I’m wondering if they know me or not.

DailyER: In my opinion, 2011 has been full of some really impressive releases, especially from Sub Pop. What are listening to currently?

MH: I listen to a lot of podcasts. Super Ego. I really like the Tune Yards new album.

Interview by Dylan Bliss

Like and Follow Seeds!