Man Plus Building
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Man Plus Building

Band Rock


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"No Words, Four Musicians, Plenty of Taste"

When most people think of a song, the first thing that comes to mind is the lyrics. Not so for Man Plus Building. “The day we feel like a song of ours would be better off with lyrics, so be it,” bluntly declares Jesse Kees, guitarist for the instrumental Baton Rouge quartet. “The most honest answer is that none of us are even remotely talented singers,” admits drummer Joshua Nee. “We are all better at playing our instruments, so we stick with that. We have one song that has about 30 seconds of soft chanting, and we are terrified of playing that song in front of people.”

On debut album Because My Name Is Lion, the band often careens between slow contemplative passages and fiery moments, weaving between moods seamlessly, usually within a single song. It’s difficult music to describe without invoking contestable terms like post-rock and progressive rock. “The other day I was sub-genre-lizing in my head and came up with the term ‘compositional rock’,” Kees offers.

Nee agrees. “‘Compositional rock’ has a funny ring to it. I think I’ll go with that.”

The complexity of Man Plus Building’s songs can be traced to the diverse musical backgrounds of the members: Kees and Nee have gigged in the local jazz scene for years, guitarist Rory Ventress studied classical guitar at Southeastern Louisiana University, and bassist Mitch Wells has played with several local bands. The group draws on their experience when crafting songs, but avoids the elitist trap into which many seasoned players fall. “Our music might be a little more involved musically than that of a three-chord rock band, but those are some of my favorites,” Nee says. “Whether you thrash on two chords for a few minutes or write really orchestrated parts depends on the song. It just comes down to being tasteful.” - 225 Magazine

"Man Plus Building At Spanish Moon"

What have you accomplished in the last four months? Is it anything worth writing home about, or have you simply been going through the same motions?

For four Baton Rouge natives, the last four months have proved quite successful, as this is the amount of time it’s taken them to form a band, record an album, perform nearly a dozen shows and produce a line of t-shirts.

Jesse Kees (guitar), Rory Ventress (guitar), Mitch Wells (bass) and Joshua Nee (drums) formed the band Man Plus Building in January of this year, and in less than four weeks performed its debut show Feb. 21. This Friday, April 25, will mark yet another first for the band: They will host a CD release show at The Spanish Moon.

“We got together in January and in a month we had six songs written and played a house show,” Nee said. “The response we got was incredible, and that’s when we decided we needed to do something with this and we booked the recording date soon after.

“This is our first recording, and we did it at Apocalypse the Apocalypse with Fred Weaver, who recorded, mixed and mastered the album,” he said. “We recorded nine songs over three days in March. We basically holed up at Fred’s house for an entire weekend.”

The album is titled “ … Because My Name is Lion,” and is entirely instrumental, except for one track, “Save it for Another Night,” that has a vocal harmony.

Nee explained the reason for excluding vocals is a simple one.

“I guess for us, the easiest answer is that none of us are singers,” Nee said with a laugh. “For us, vocals are just another instrument we employ, and we’re just not good at that instrument.”

Nee also said that it is highly unlikely that the band will add another singer.

“The chemistry of this band is so good, and it’s not like we’re trying to get some great message out there that needs vocals, so we’re going to keep it this way for the time being,” he said. “What we write is able to stand on its own, because it’s melodic and an explosive show. I think having a front-man mentality can only mess that up. All of us are able to shine in this environment, and so far we haven’t had any negative feedback about not having a singer.”

More than anything, Nee said the ability for Man Plus Building to write music so fluidly is due to the chemistry between members. All four have known each other for years, and Nee and Kees have been performing in bands together for nearly a decade.

“I’ve been in so many bands where there was no chemistry or you can’t hang out with the people you’re playing with, and that makes it hard to work with somebody,” Nee said. “Thankfully, the four of us have been friends much longer than we’ve been playing music together. I think we would all agree that being friends is the most important thing to a successful band.”

Whatever their formula for success may be, it seems to be working. Recently, Man Plus Building caught the attention of the local t-shirt design company Giraphic Prints, which operates out of Storyville, located on Chime’s Street at the North Gates of LSU.

“We’re going to be playing a show for Giraphic Prints at The Varsity Theatre on May 31,” Nee said. “They’ve been printing band shirts. Mitch is friends with them, and they heard some of our stuff and invited us to come and play the show with Terror of the Sea and justinbailey. It’s a pretty big deal, and we’re super-stoked about it.”

Along with performing at The Varsity, the deal is critical to the band because they received a free line of t-shirts for performing in the show. Merchandise is a crucial element for the success of any band, and rarely does that opportunity come so early for a band.

“It’s been a crazy four months,” Nee said. “There’s no faster way to break up a band than to put a CD out. I think if we can make it through this initial surge, then we’ll be ok.”

All signs point to a bright future for Man Plus Building, as this summer the band will begin touring more. They have also landed a few out-of-state shows.

“We’re going to be playing shows in Athens, Ga., this summer,” Nee said. “We’re getting booked to open for some pretty big names, too.”

Performing at The Spanish Moon with Man Plus Building on Friday, April 25, will be Baton Rouge-based bands Terror of the Sea and Wilderness Pangs.

For more information about Man Plus Building, visit their MySpace page at
- The Baton Rouge Advocate

"10 Genres + 10 Local Bands = 1 Great Christmas Present"

Man Plus Building

Creating buzz as an instrumental band is no easy task. However, in less than a year, Man Plus Building has built a major name in local music with their debut album “Because My Name Is Lion,” recorded locally by Fred Weaver at Apocalypse the Apocalypse. Members Jesse Kees (guitar), Rory Ventress (guitar), Mitch Wells (bass), and Joshua Nee (drums), built a sort of living soundtrack, which can be enjoyed by those of all different kinds of musical tastes. The album can be purchased online at, or you can contact the band directly on their MySpace page at - Tiger Weekly


April 2008 - ...Because My Name Is Lion
1. Horse Mountain
2. Elixire de Teufels
3. How To Do Things With Words
4. Inconvenience (No Elevator Buttons)
5. Save It For Another Night
6. Diversions -or- Proof That It's Possible To Live
7. Bobby Peru
8. The Last March of Hiram Abiff
9. Never To See Any Other Way



2008 proved to be a whirlwind year for Man Plus Building. The instrumental quartet from Baton Rouge, Louisiana formed in January and within a few months had written a handful of songs and played a couple house shows and club dates around town. Quickly becoming "the band to see" in Baton Rouge, Man Plus Building's captivating soundtrack and unique visual presentation began drawing larger and larger crowds. In April, their handful of songs were put to tape and released as their debut album entitled "...Because My Name Is Lion." By the end of the year, the band had played over 30 shows, including dates with Colour Revolt, British Sea Power, David Dondero, Ghastly City Sleep, and GIRL TALK.

The New Year will, appropriately, bring a new record and new tour dates. More to come...