By Keith Sharp
As Vancouver’s Mother Mother launches an ambitious national tour which takes them across Canada from Trenton Nova Scotia (Feb 23) to a triumphant five-night stand at their hometown Commodore Ballroom, (March 25-30) band lead vocalist/guitarist Ryan Guidemond can take some vindication in escaping personal drug and alcohol demons to write the material for the band’s new release, `No Culture’.
By his own admission, penning the band’s sixth opus was a challenging experience. Clean of the stimulants which had fuelled previous efforts. Guidemond faced a major case of writer’s block as he set out to explore lyrical concepts unfiltered by his previous disposition. The fact that No Culture is currently one of the country’s top selling records is a testament to Guidemond’s perseverance in battling that writer’s block to emerge with a set of tracks that are quite autobiographical in nature.
“As a songwriter, you have to look at what is happening in this world, how it appears to you and you try to discover creative ways to express those feelings,” noted Guidemond. “The funny thing about being creative is that as soon as you step into that domain, you set yourself up to disappoint yourself. The big lesson is to let yourself go of all expectations, to take complete control of your own creativity, you are the author of the elements around you.”
As the chief songwriter for the band over a six-record period, stretching back to their self-titled debut 2005 which was re-released as `Touch Up’ in 2006 after signing a four-record deal with Last Gang Records, Guidemond, his sister Molly (vocals/keyboards), drummer Ali Siadat and new bassist Mike Young are constantly pushing themselves to be more creative.
“You always want to be the best version of yourself,” Guidemond allowed. “You are the author of the elements around you. You always want the melodies to be better, the lyrics can always be more focused and the arrangements can always be tighter and more creative. It’s an evolution we continually strive to achieve. It’s our incentive to keep going.”
Autobiographical in nature, a number of the record’s 10 tracks deal with Guidemond’s personal struggles. With “Baby Boy”, addresses his penchant for self-destruction with sister Molly singing “Baby boy, baby brother, we’re losing you to the gutter.”
“Back To School” cant be taken literally as Guidemond despised his experience attending public school. “This song is about going back to the school of self. I think we die when we stop learning,” he allowed.
Although allowing that “The Letter” is a form of communication which has been eradicated by technology, Guidemond notes the song’s essence is “to reflect on a portal back to how you feel and what you feel when you are lost”.
“The Drugs”, the band’s energy-charged first single is about the euphoria and depression of a personal relationship while the band’s closing track, “Family” again spotlights Molly’s vocal skills with a fitting reflection on how the band has stuck together through on-going hardships which now seem to have been resolved.
For a band who has blossomed from an indie unit to a major recording force, helped by signing to Universal’s Island Records label in 2014, Mother Mother have seemingly survived Guidemond’s internal fight against his demons to emerge stronger and more coherent than ever. The band’s current tour reflects this growth in maturity and their five-night stint at the Commodore is a fitting gauge to the band’s on-going evolution.
As for the band’s future, Guidemond notes “it feels like we are in a whirlpool of activity and we are just happy to be caught in the swirl.”
Mother Mother Tour Dates:
02/23 – Moncton, NB @ Tide & Boar Ballroom
02/24 – Halifax, NS @ The Marquee Ballroom
02/25 – Halifax, NS @ The Marquee Ballroom
02/28 – Peterborough, ON @ The Venue
03/02 – Kingston, ON @ The Ale House
03/03 – Ottawa, ON @ The National Arts Centre, Southam Hall
03/04 – Montreal, QC @ L’Astral
03/06 – Oshawa, ON @ The Music Hall
03/07 – Waterloo, ON @ Maxwell’s Concerts & Events
03/09 – Hamilton, ON @ Hamilton Place Theatre
03/10 – London, ON @ London Music Hall
03/11 – Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall
03/14 – Winnipeg, MB @ Burton Cummings Theatre
03/15 – Saskatoon, SK @ O’Brians Event Centre
03/16 – Edmonton, AB @ The Shaw Conference Centre
03/17 – Grande Prairie, AB @ Better Than Fred’s
03/18 – Red Deer, AB @ Bo’s Bar & Grill
03/20 – Calgary, AB @ Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
03/21 – Nelson, BC @ Spiritbar At The Hume Hotel
03/22 – Kelowna, BC @ Kelowna Community Theatre
03/24 – Victoria, BC @ Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre
03/25 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
03/26 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
03/28 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
03/29 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom