Mother Mother building audience stateside

The musical evolution of a band is something to be embraced, not feared. At least, this is the viewpoint of Mother Mother frontman Ryan Guldemond. Though his band had initially started off with a decidedly lush indie-rock sound, the band has leveraged the infectious sounds of keyboards and synthesizers for their newest record Eureka. Try to listen to first single The Stand and not be immediately entranced by the infectious keyboards and call-and-answer style given to the vocals in the song. From a tour stop in Regina, Guldemond says the band made a conscious effort to move towards a modern, electronic sound with the songs on Eureka.

“We definitely moved away from the folkier moments that we explored on our earlier records,” he says. “For this record, we treated the songs as interpretive vehicles and approached them with the band’s ability and instrumentation in mind.

“On O My Heart (the band’s 2008 release), we had a lot of lush strings and horns and instrumentation that we had to use keyboards and synths to recreate for the live setting. In a way, Eureka was born out of the touring we did for O My Heart. That touring ultimately helped us find a new aesthetic for the band and we wanted to make a record that was representative of that.”

Though some bands start to hit their stride and find their real musical identity on album number three, Guldemond says that he hopes the band will not necessarily be settling into a keyboard-driven sound for the remainder of its career.

“One aspect of Mother Mother I really enjoy is the fact that people can count on some musical flippancy from us from one record to the next. There is a consistent inconsistency to our sound that I like to think people can count on us for delivering.”

While the band’s profile is continuing to rise here in Canada, they are also making in-roads in the highly coveted and highly competitive American market. Guldemond estimates the band has played between 50 and 75 dates for American audiences and has enough buzz behind them that they are able to count on show attendance in many American markets.

“The coast cities of the United States and big hubs like New York and Los Angeles treat us very well. As you go more inland or south in the U.S., attendance definitely thins out for us.

“It’s nice to have this little bit of momentum behind us when we play down there though.”

Guldemond is the first to admit that Mother Mother still has many dues still to be paid in the U.S., but is seemingly up for the challenge.

“A music fan is a music fan no matter where they live. Geography doesn’t change the experience of people connecting to your songs.

“We do feel a lack of kinship with American audiences because we don’t necessarily have the promotional muscle behind us there, including from our side. The American market is so cut-throat and competitive but the idea for the band is to continue breaking ground in North America so that we can eventually go to Europe with a ‘story.’ It is generally seen that if you have a story here, it helps to create a new story elsewhere.”

Mother Mother will be performing at Moncton’s Manhattan Bar and Grill on Tuesday evening with opening act Whale Tooth. The show is scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m.

Article published in April 15, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript