Article by: Colton Eddy
Since forming in 2005, Mother Mother has released four critically acclaimed records and developed their own brand of oddball aesthetic with infectious hooks.
It’s a sound that’d be embraced by the new wave hysteria of the eighties; It’s a sound of urgent authenticity, bleeding off the headlines into a hurricane of glamourized angst. They stir up a world of controlled chaos and their live show elevates it all to another level. Blending deep album cuts with a strong handful off the last two records (Eureka, The Sticks), their live set holds together like one long song.
Before they walked down the short gravel road toward their ferocious set on the EdgeFest main stage last month, the siblings stretched out in their trailer for a quick conversation. Ryan and Molly Guldemond tripped through their pre-show headspace with Sticky, shedding light on the tragic dance of insecurity and comfort.
Sticky: How’s the day so far? Rainy weather must make you all feel at home.
Molly: We’re used to it. Rain. Actually, I’ve seen more rain over here in the past month that over at home. It’s unusual.
Ryan: My home is a transit place. I am home.
Sticky: What makes you feel home? Is it being together? Is it the stage?
Ryan: It’s wherever. It could be anywhere in the universe, as long as I’m there it feels like home.
Molly: Is it a state of mind more than anything?
Ryan: Yeah. It’s a state of mind.
Molly: He’s very grounded.
Sticky: When you get on stage, needing to trace back to that mental state. Is there somewhere that you go to?
Ryan: I think the less that you say about what you need to do, the better. Just do it. We all know what we need to do to get into the zone. You don’t want to over intellectualize something so abstract as performance art.
Molly: Yes, I don’t intellectualize anything. [laughs]
Sticky: When it comes to the songs that are a little more personal, how do you track back into that headspace of somewhere more honest?
Ryan: There’s not a lot of anecdotal music in our catalogue, that’s not really the M.O. Actually, there’s no real M.O. – the M.O. is no M.O. What just ends up happening is these tales, themes, characters delivering some sort of message surrounding the human condition. It doesn’t necessarily have a lot to do with us. They’re not personal stories. It’s not like we need to purge our experiences and the effects they have on us through the lyrics. It’s not therapeutic or cathartic in that way.
Sticky: How do you know that it is time to write a new album?
Ryan: Well, it is always time to create. Every waking moment or sleeping moment is time to be creating on some level, so when you’re in the position of having a band as a career then the two marry quite well. But, it’s not like "Sweet, we finished a record and now I don’t have to create for six months". At least that is not how it works for us. It’s just perpetual.
Sticky: When you take these songs to the stage, they’re not finished. You continue to watch them grow, change or transform.
Molly: Yeah. We were just talking about that actually.
Ryan: I think it is always finished and unfinished, at the same time. Yeah, these stamps of finality, they’re kind of irrelevant. It’s like something is born and in a sense, it is finished in that moment, then everything that comes after it is just recreations of that initial intention. Whether it is a record, an on-stage performance or its stripped down, once a thing is born, it is done and the essence is complete.
Sticky: Is letting go of it something that you are not comfortable with?
Ryan: I think we’re good at letting go, yeah. That’s actually quite liberating, once you make the record and release it, you can move on. Your job with it is done. Your handling of it is complete. It is like a relay race, where now you pass it off and forget about it, in a sense.
Molly: Gets beaten by the world. Like a kid, you put it out there and send it to school and whatever happens, happens! You’re done.
Sticky: Does the performance change from being a headliner versus a part of a festival?
Molly: Yeah, well as a part of a festival, there is not as much pressure with any of this than to being the headlining act. It is easier to just be natural. They each have their ups and downs, pros and cons really. I mean, headlining tours are great because it is your show, but these festivals are awesome too because you get to see other bands and you get to feel part of a big entity instead of just alone yourself.
Ryan: You’re at the party instead of throwing the party, right?
Molly: Yeah, I mean its always different. You could throw a rad party or sometimes it is a lot of pressure and stress, right? Going to somebody’s party is usually, almost always enjoyable.
Ryan: But you have to perform, you have to behave. You wanna leave a mark at the party. You don’t want to just be these social rejects in the corner, so there is that pressure too. When it is your own party, it is like you don’t have to really work so hard on a social level to be embraced. You are already embraced, just by the fact that it is your gala.
Sticky: Half of the fun must be finding the balance between the two.
Ryan: Right. Well, life is a delicate imbalance.