Mother Mother

Mother Mother Adjust to Life on a Label

Mother Mother are a fairly new band, but since they released their first record in 2005 -- and then a reissue release in 2007 -- I've heard them on the radio, seen them in the papers, and watched them on TV.

Now, with 2008's O My Heart granting them great reviews and an opening slot with Matthew Good, I had absolutely no choice but to talk to them in person.

I spoke with Ryan Guldemond at this year's CASBY Awards. They were nominees in two categories, but didn't win. However, I did get to see them play -- if only for two songs.

"Two songs is okay, yeah. Sometimes two songs is just right."

After we got down to talking, I briefly confessed my admiration of Matthew Good and my jealousy of Mother Mother for playing with them, Guldemond expressed his excitement about the tour.

"We have only great anticipation about the tour. We found out a while ago, but I totally agree with you. Matt Good is iconic and is an important part of Canadian rock music, so it's sentimental somehow. Also, for us we'll be playing in some classy venues that we're not really acquainted with -- the soft cedar side of touring that I guess we'll be getting to brush with. We better get our bow ties out."

As the main songwriter in the band, Guldemond revealed that the difficulty that some songwriters/bands have writing a second album was something he could relate to.

"I've heard that a lot, and it's true. You don't have very long to write the songs, unless of course you picked from a very large batch when you did you first album, because there's always spillover. In this case there wasn't. It wasn't any less prolific; the undertone was just different. There was pressure to do something different, which we did, but I guess there was also trepidation that the difference in sound would be poorly received by fans that were happy with the original stuff. But it seemed to go over well."

Because they were the second band to take the stage, I only had a couple minutes with Guldemond, so I quickly asked him to define that "difference" between the band's first record and the second.

"I think the sound is more electric, and maybe a little more modern. Maybe more cohesive and less... belligerent almost. It was less conscious, more just a natural flow. There were songs written for the first album that just came from such an unadultered place. There was no pretense; just writing songs for the sake of writing songs. It was fun to do things outlandish and not really relate it to things identifying a band or even myself. It was just wordplay or songplay."

Then what happened?

"Well everything changed when we put it out and got signed [to Last Gang Records] and became the professional machine that toured and had an image and a face to portray. While it probably wasn't a contraceptive, it probably just influenced the natural course of my writing."

Mother Mother will be playing two shows at Massey Hall alongside Matthew Good, on Friday, December 18 and Saturday, December 19.

Photo taken by Chris McKibbin.

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