Oct 30, 2012

From the sticks to the limelight

Mother Mother talks about their musical coming-of-age and return to Montreal

Leyang Yu

From the sticks to the limelight
Mother Mother tours its latest album, The Sticks. (Todd M. Duym / www.mothermothersite.com)

After the recent launch of their fourth, full-length album, Vancouver indie band Mother Mother is back, kicking off a nation-wide tour on November 7. While the band has been on and off the road this year, opening for Our Lady Peace, appearing at summer festivals, and headlining shows of their own, the upcoming tour will mark the first time they draw material from their latest album, The Sticks.

“Releasing a record is like letting free a caged bird,” says lead singer Ryan Guildemond. “It flies away, quickly out of eye shot, and you start to forget all about it. Going on tour is our turn to be a bird in a cage, doing tricks. The only thing that matters in a day is getting better at our tricks.”

While every band needs to practice their tricks, Mother Mother is no stranger to the business of touring. While continuing to deliver quality tracks, they’ve consistently toured every year since the release of their first album, Touch Up, in 2007. They’ve even garnered enough attention to tour internationally several times—a milestone for every indie band.

“It’s the difference between getting invited to a sort-of-friend’s party where you don’t really know anyone, and throwing your own party where you know everyone,” says Guildemond, when asked about how recent shows compare the recent shows to their early gigs. “The former, you have to execute your gestures with grace and precision to win ‘em over. The latter, you have more leeway to blunder. That said, no one really likes a sloppy host, so we tell ourselves that every additional impression is a first impression.”

In between dominating the nation’s indie-music industry, touring, and experimenting with reverb chamber closets in the studio, it’s hard to imagine that Mother Mother actually has time to sit down and write music.

When asked where the inspiration comes from, Guildemond responds, “Music is a very fun medium of creative expression that offers a wonderful escape from the mundanity of the everyday. Once you experience that, you realize that staying prolific is to the soul’s benefit, so you best not be lazy.”

Mother Mother’s music falls somewhere along the spectrum of “a random clash of pop and rock that just happened to sound amazing,” and plain noise. They have standouts that stick in listeners’ ears long after the first listen, as well as tracks which border on the quickly-forgettable;  both darker songs that experiment with multi-dimensionality, and those for easy-listening.

“How we come off to others  [in terms of] challenging versus easy music is likely to show inconsistencies, and which of the two I prefer, I don’t really know. I just want to do what appeals to me and the band, because you can’t please them all,” says Guildemond. “The indie-diehards will say we’re banal while the mainstreamers will say too weird, and therein lies the meaningless subjective beauty of art.”

Still, their repertoire is broad enough—it’s a little bit of what mainstreamers love, and just enough of what indie kids don’t.

Mother Mother play on November 21 at the Corona Theatre (2490 Notre-Dame West). Tickets are $26.90

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