The release party for “Soul” was held at King King in Hollywood late last week with an impressive line-up of opening acts, including Jesse Cole and Life of Riley, who performed to an excited crowd eagerly awaiting Manns’ new set. The clear crowd pleaser of the night was the encore, Manns’ cover of “The Weight,” which he had also recently performed as a duet with Ackles at the Jus In Bello convention in Rome. Ackles, though in the audience, declined to perform, allowing his buddy his full shining moment in the spotlight.
Manns said the evening was the first time he was able to play with a full band, whose layers complemented his warm sound perfectly. But for Manns, playing live in general is always fun. “The crowd is number one,” he told My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture. “To have all of that energy focused on the music right then and there is very addicting!"
The crowd at King King was lively, but in general Los Angeles can be a tough place for independent artists because there are just so many of them in a town where so many big acts pass through so frequently, as well. Manns enjoys the energy here but also pointed to the U.K. as a place in which he really loves to play live because “the crowds are really attentive and responsive.” He also hopes to make it back over to Rome to play again.
And since Manns mentioned Rome, of course it had to be asked if his “impromptu” performance on stage with Ackles really was as unplanned as they made it seem. Manns assured that it was. “I brought my guitar backstage, and he just kinda gave me a look like 'Nope,'" Manns explained. “We joked about how funny it would be to carry it on stage, do the stage talk, and carry it off stage, never really making mention of it, and never singing. We got down to the last question, and she asked if we would sing. We were laughing that we almost made it through, and you all know the rest!”
In case you missed it, you can see it here right now:
Manns admitted that his inspirations on this second studio release are definitely different from those of his first. “I really tried to…challenge myself to go beyond my comfort zone,” Manns shared. “There's still love songs on this one, but that's not the focal point quite as much. I think this album shows a bit of musical maturity-- at least I hope so!-- from the first. Some of the songs are a bit more complicated, and I dabbled a bit in some other musical genres [as well].”
Mann’s favorite track on the item is the title-one. He calls that “probably the most collaborative song I’ve ever written.” “Soul” was penned by Manns, his guitarist Henry O’Connor, his drummer Jonah Dolan, and his brother Matt. He mentions that when asking others their favorite song, though, he gets a wide variety of answers. “It’s been pretty evenly distributed between all of the songs on the album, and I really like that!” Mann exclaimed.
“Soul” is available now online (at CD Baby and iTunes). Manns also has an independent film available for downloading on iTunes or Video On Demand that he produced as well as co-starred in. Rock Slyde is a parody of old-school film noir about a “down and out detective who engages in a turf-war with an upstart quasi religious cult.”
“My buddy [writer/director] Chris Dowling is a funny guy, talented writer, and all around good dude,” Manns started when discussing how he got involved in such a project. “I read [the] script he wrote, and for some reason just knew we could make it. We put a great team together, raised some money, put in some of our own, and made this fun little comedy. We surprised even ourselves with the cast we were able to get. Patrick Warburton, Andy Dick, Jason Alexander, Eric Roberts, and a bunch of other fun cameos. I'd suggest seeing it...because it's funny and...interesting to see what some newbies can do with literally 1% of a Hollywood comedy budget!”
Dowling was also the mastermind behind Clownana, which Manns and Ackes acted in, alongside Kristoffer Polaha. It’s a small world, folks!