Following their recent massive success on the social media platform TikTok, Lucy had the pleasure of talking to frontman Ryan Guldemond of the Canadian alternative rock band Mother Mother. After announcing the release of their eighth studio album ‘Inside’, Guldemond discusses the impact of the pandemic on the record’s creation and his own journey of self-discovery unearthed during writing.
The devastating year of 2020 was certainly not a triumph for musicians; whilst most artists crippled under the loss of live music and tours, this was not the case for the Canadian rockers of the band Mother Mother. TikTok may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it has seen the band’s following skyrocket after their songs ‘Hayloft’ and ‘Burning Pile’ went viral on the platform. Now icons among the non-binary community, their music has been met with the fresh new ears of the younger generation, just in time for the release of their latest record ‘Inside’ due this June via Parlophone Records. A phenomenal new edition to their discography, it touches on themes of self-honesty, the impact of isolation and finding light in darkness.
“I think we’ve led with a more positive side of themes on the record,” explains Mother Mother’s frontman Ryan Guldemond, following their latest EP’s victorious reception, which teases of the sonic direction that the album will take, “I think as we continue to unveil the rest of the record, things get a little darker which I’m always up for!” The band are famously known for their interesting take on different concepts lyrically and musically – see their imaginative eery lyrical decisions in the song ‘Burning Pile’ for reference. Guldemond adds, “I think that if you’re going to be positive in music, then you should honour its opposite.”
A band for over fifteen years, Guldemond feels that the quintet has not only grown in maturity as a collective but also as individuals since the independent release of their very first record in 2005, later renamed to ‘Touch Up’ in 2007. He admits: “I think as a band we know ourselves a lot better…we’re more fluent in the language of Mother Mother I suppose so there’s less squabbles, there’s less disagreements, and there’s less friction in the band than ever before.” Often, disagreements and clashing of opinions can lead to the break-up of a band – even The Beatles had their day and went their separate ways eventually – but Mother Mother have managed to see past their quarrels. “There were certainly times when it wasn’t easy – you’re younger, you’re kind of coming of age…and there’s all sorts of stuff going on,” entails Guldemond, “so it’s quite lovely right now – the culture of the band.”
Mother Mother certainly do an excellent job of portraying contrast within ‘Inside’, keeping its themes excitingly diverse and refreshing, as Guldemond elaborates: “Whenever we make a record, it’s a reaction to what we’re going through in life and I think if you look back, you’ll see a shift from a dark kind of tongue-and-cheekiness to something a bit more vulnerable…that’s probably indicative of the journey of our own humanity, especially mine because I write these songs, I write these lyrics.” For Guldemond, this record enabled him to delve into the depths of his soul and reflect during his time in isolation during the pandemic, away from the band. He describes the album as “a metaphor of what the world was going through.” He later digresses and adds, “I could never write this record again, maybe not unless there was another pandemic, like it was really a by-product of the time which gives sentiment to these songs.”
Though not a direct inspiration for the album’s sound, Guldemond admits that he listened to Big Thief and Phoebe Bridgers during the record’s construction. However, the main influence for the album came from experiences right on his doorstep as he explains: “I just started out by like taking voice notes of my walks before I could even write these songs and just built atmospheric kind of interlude pieces. One of them started with the 7:00PM applause – the healthcare salute – and I hadn’t even heard that before, and then the neighbourhood broke out in this crazy applause and I was shocked and quite moved. It felt very other worldly.” This applause would later conclude the album and shape the structural direction that ‘Inside’ would take as a collective of songs. “In that moment, I think a sonic version crystallized in that and I just wanted to borrow from the energy of this ordeal sonically somehow,” discusses Guldemond elaborating on the inspiration behind the arc of the album.
With the younger generation of TikTok followers supporting the rebirth of a band that was unfortunately slowly heading for collapse, Guldemond urges Mother Mother’s fanbase and young musicians to “make music that they love, that they’d want to listen to themselves that stirs their own soul, and not to try and please other people.” A true role model for fans wishing to gain the same stardom that the band has achieved, he encourages musicians to, “be true to yourself as cliché as it sounds – when you’re just comfortable in your own skin or in your own music, it’s like you can take a deep breath.” Surely many musicians can agree that people-pleasing only destroys an artist’s craft and by forcing something unnatural, it becomes exhausting, something Guldemond is completely against as an individual who believes in being honest with himself.
Incredibly grateful for their supportive fanbase, ‘Inside’ pays great homage to the band’s followers and has already been met with welcoming arms regarding the release of the first few singles from the record. There is no doubt that when the rest of the album’s tracks are unearthed, they will be met with the same roaring success as the band promote the record’s message of, “finding more comfort in just being yourself.” Placing the exploration of the mysteries of life and self-discovery at the forefront of the album’s meaning, Guldemond adds, “It’s a crazy thing that we just get to be here in this vessel and with a consciousness and take in the world through the lens of our life.”
With a tour planned for early 2022, there are nothing but fantastic experiences and successes on the horizon for Mother Mother. Having already conquered the realms of TikTok with viral hits, what will this sensational group of talented and humble Canadians achieve next?
‘Inside’ is out on the 25th of June via Parlophone Records.