The latter half of 2019 saw Canadian band The Man Who not only finish a string of tour dates supporting Indie Rock musician, Banners. But reissue their EP, Bet on You, and release two new music videos, “Down” and “Natural Villain”. They also played a show in Los Angeles for School Night at Bardot. Ahead of their performance at Bardot, I sat down with the band at Capitol Records. We talked about music, touring with Banners, and even favorite Christmas songs. Check it all out below.
Interview edited for clarity
THE MAN WHO: How long have you been doing the blog?
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Uh, about maybe three years now. Yeah, so, yeah, I’m trying to go for a bigger better year for 2020 I gonna start a podcast too, Yeah. I think I’m trying to push myself and do the podcast.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I always start out with a icebreaker question. It’s kind of a fun one, so Pancakes or Waffles?
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO: Can I say neither? I’m not gonna speak for all of us. But I personally don’t actually eat pancakes or waffles. I’m a weirdo. French toast, though. I’ll go with that.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: That’s my fave actually! You have to get a really good french toast because it can go very wrong.
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO: Yeah, our grandmother actually makes a lot of good homemade bread so I think that’s probably where it comes from. It’s easier to get a good french toast than it is waffles.
DAVID WALSH // THE MAN WHO: I’m more of a savory guy.
FRANK GOERZ // THE MAN WHO: I’ll go french toast as well actually, cuz I’m sucker for eggs.
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO: We’re a bunch of Canadians, we love maple syrup.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Yeah, you guys have really good maple syrup.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: For my readers who are new to you guys how did The Man Who come together?
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO: Yeah, so David and I are cousins. Frank was living down in Nashville and was making a living as a session studio player down there. I was living in Toronto and David was out west working in the oil fields. David and I kind of started sending song ideas back and forth. We kind of started realizing that some of the songs we were writing weren’t bad, we thought they’re pretty good. So at that point, David took the plunge to move to Toronto. Then I called up Frank because Frank and I used to tour together in bands back in the day. So, he was the first person I thought of when I knew that we needed one more person to kind of complete the band. Then, when they both moved to Toronto, we just kind of honed in on the project, we wrote Bet on You and put it up. The streams kind of started happening, and lead us here to these fine people. It kind of all started from that.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Awesome, cool. Can we talk some on how your recording, writing and creative process was for the EP, “Bet on You”?
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO: So it kind of happened over the course of two years. So it was a little spread out. But at first, it was David and I working in his basement, we have a little studio set up there. We’d try to figure out what sound we were trying to go for because the stuff we were writing previously was a little bit more, in the kind of alternative like folky kind of things. We wanted to find something that hit a little harder. We started experimenting with like, retro hip hop drum loops and then brought in some vintage synthesizers. We would layer the guitars on top of that. Then when we got enough songs that we thought we had something. We started introducing, or like showing them to some of the producers that are around Toronto, that I knew were working on some big records, and a couple of they liked what we’re doing. They kind of helped us hone in on the songs that they thought were best. Then we went into the studio. Frank started playing actual drums on top of everything. We started re-recording the demos that we started on. But, the writing process was over, I say about two years.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I have another question that’s kind of an addendum to that one. What’s a typical writing and recording process like for your band?
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO:
Yeah, kind of evolved over the course of a few years. I think we actually went through three or four producers in the course of making the record. And in the end, Tawgs, the guy who ended up producing the whole thing, kind of came in and reproduced some of the early tracks and then we did a lot of new stuff.
DAVID WALSH // THE MAN WHO: He made it more cohesive.
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO:
So I say that when it started, it was mostly us just working on demos in our basement, and taking them to guys and evolving them from there. Then when we met Tawgs, and he kind of really understood what we’re trying to go after. He owned a lot of gear that we just kind of fell in love with and wanted to play, stuff that we couldn’t afford to have ourselves, and he just had the right studio space. I think Down was the one that we wrote 100% just in the room, just kind of jamming as a band. We were trying to write a different song that we had already started as a demo. It didn’t seem to go anywhere. And we’re like, Well, you know, let’s not be too precious and waste the day let’s just scratch it and see if we can, get some inspiration going just by jamming on some instruments. Then we just wrote that one, right on the spot and finished in like a six-hour period, so yeah there’s not like a set way that we write our songs, but it evolved once we found Tawgs. He kind of understood how to get the best out of us I guess, instead of us just searching trying to hone in on it ourselves, he kind of could help us in the right direction.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: It was a mutual collaboration.
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO: Yeah
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: That’s great. How did the music video for “Down” come together and what was filming like? How different was the experience for filming “Natural Villian”?
FRANK GOERZ // THE MAN WHO: Yeah, it was. They were both like really exciting to me because those were, like our first music videos, and we had a very different experience with both, so like for “Down” we got all the lights and this great space.
DAVID WALSH // THE MAN WHO: And a massive crew!
FRANK GOERZ // THE MAN WHO: Yeah, a big director we were kind of overwhelmed a little bit as like, like our first video. So that was really neat experience. And then so the “Natural Villain” we actually did with a friend of ours in his apartment with using a green screen, which was also like really neat and just just to kind of see his creativity and like how we could build this world out of nothing, which was, was we’ve never done before. So it’s really neat.
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO:
Yeah, and the “Natural Villain” shoot, there’s maybe six people in the room and on the down, shoot, there was probably like, 30 people there. So it’s like, it was quite the contrast and the styles and they’re done, but both are very enjoyable. Very cool.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What was touring with Banners like? Did he give you any tips for future tours?
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO: Oh, it’s awesome. We’ve known him for a long time. Mike Nelson is the lead singer for the band. And we met him when he had first moved over from Liverpool to Toronto to make his record. Actually, the guy who produced Bet on You with us produced his first EP. So we met him that way. When he invited us to go on the road with them, it was just kind of like, hanging out with a good buddy that we’ve known for years and his bands full of good guys. And it was, just a cool bonding experience. And, you know, he had kind of gone through over the last five years gone through the process of, playing his first show, to then headlining. The tips he kind of gave us was more or less, you know, just be comfortable on stage and soak it in and enjoy the moment, and, you know, everyone will have their two cents, you should be doing this or do that. But at the end of the day, you gotta just kind of go through the process yourself to realize who your identity is and how to deliver your music for people to enjoy it.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Anything else anyone would like to add?
DAVID WALSH // THE MAN WHO: It was just nice to kind of see a part of the states that we’ve never been to before. Get different reactions from the crowd. It was cool.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Did you guys have a favorite city?
THE MAN WHO: New York was really cool. And Chicago.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I like New York too, I haven’t been to Chicago but I like New York.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Continuing with the subject of touring… What are three must haves for you guys have to have while out on tour?
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO: If we’re flying also Ativan because I don’t flying.
FRANK GOERZ // THE MAN WHO: I think I need to have coffee. I drink a ridiculous amount of coffee every day. So like, that’s kind of like the starting point and every day starts with where I can get that coffee.
DAVID WALSH // THE MAN WHO: Earplugs for me. I find at the end of the day, like when I’m actually going to go to sleep. I have a hard time turning my brain off so if I don’t don’t have any distraction. I can usually fall asleep with earplugs.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Dream concert venue to play at?
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO: I’d love to play Madison Square Garden. But uh, that’s pretty dreaming pretty big.
FRANK GOERZ // THE MAN WHO: I would actually really love to play the Hollywood Bowl. I’m not just saying that because we’re here. I don’t know. It’s just something about it. I’ve never been either and I don’t know why I have this version of it. But all my favorite bands have played there.
DAVID WALSH // THE MAN WHO: Maybe the Scotiabank being that we’re from Toronto? That’d be kind of cool.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Okay, awesome. All very different answers!
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO: There’s two live concerts that I grew up watching both from Red Rocks. I think that’d be a cool venue to.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: If you could collaborate with any artist past or present who would you collab with and why?
DAVID WALSH // THE MAN WHO: There’s a lot.
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO: I mean, Fleetwood Mac is my favorite band. I would love to anything with anyone who worked on those records. Mike Campbell who is a guitar player in Tom Petty’s band was kind of like my Guitar Hero growing up, so I’d like to make a record with him.
FRANK GOERZ // THE MAN WHO: Um, do you know who I really like? I mean, I get on these kicks where I like find an artist, and then I’ll just like go really deep into it. So I’m really into St. Vincent right now. And I love the way that her brain works
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Oh my gosh! I love her! She’s so amazing!
FRANK GOERZ // THE MAN WHO: So I would love to make any kind of music with her. I saw her last Summer too and her show was just unbelievable.
DAVID WALSH // THE MAN WHO: Going back in time, and I don’t even know how the collaboration will go. But Sam Cooke has always been a big one for me. I’m not sure I’d be able to contribute anything.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Switching gears. Since the Holidays are coming up I have a Christmas themed question. What’s your favorite Holiday song or carol?
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO: Well, okay the record that I listen to every year at Christmas since I was a little kid would be the Bing Crosby record. I know it’s not the coolest answer but he was a pretty legendary guy.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: No my mom makes fun of me for listening to Michael Buble’s Christmas record. I’m like it’s not Christmas until Michael Buble comes on.
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO: Yeah, it really is his time isn’t it?
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I think Bing Crosby wins.
DAVID WALSH // THE MAN WHO: I kind of like all the old crooner stuff. I can’t believe this was where all the old Sinatra was recorded.
FRANK GOERZ // THE MAN WHO: I have a really vague memory of my dad playing The Pogues for me and I mean I feel like it’s played every single place but it’s still like as far as Christmas songs go that’s the one I can handle.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Yeah, yeah it’s a slightly weird one…
FRANK GOERZ // THE MAN WHO: …very weird
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: …it’s still so good.
FRANK GOERZ // THE MAN WHO: It’s gritty. Yeah, I love it.
Alas, the guys had to go and get ready for their show that night… but I was able to get in two more questions in.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What’s an album or song you heard from 2019 that you think everyone should hear?
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO: I’m gonna have to check on my Spotify Year in Review playlist.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I’ve never heard of them, I’ll check them out.
DAVID WALSH // THE MAN WHO: Yeah, it’s great.
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO: I’m horrible on the spot. I just love everything that Beck does. And he’s put out like, a couple songs this year. What was that one thing that kept telling me check out?
FRANK GOERZ // THE MAN WHO: Oh, Sturgill Simpson! I know, I know. I keep talking about Sturgill Simpson. He put out this amazing record this year. There’s also with like a video component on Netflix.
CHAD WALSH // THE MAN WHO: Trying to think of like something that like really struck me as an album. I’m a sucker for old records and I just kind of sit on them for years. Tim Baker just put out an record. That was a cool record. He’s a Canadian guy. He’s also from New Zealand.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: My last question would be, what’s next on the horizon for you guys, as a band?
THE MAN WHO: Yeah, the New Year looks pretty good. I think we may be heading over to Europe to play some shows. So I think the next step that I know that our agent is really pushing to get us on a West Coast tour, that’ll take us from Vancouver down to L.A. So I don’t know which one of those is coming up first, but hopefully both.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Oh, that’s awesome! Thank you for allowing me to interview you guys!
THE MAN WHO: No, thank you for your time!