Frontman Ryan Guldemond talks third album, new video and their supporting tour
Ryan Guldemond, frontman of Mother Mother and co-producer of their sophomore album The Sticks, had some time before his Winnipeg show to chat up the Calgary Journal and update us on the album’s success and the tour that followed.
So you’ve visited our fair city a few times with One weekend only, Calgary Stampede and now back Dec. 8th – what keeps you inspired to play in these cities routinely and how does Canada greet you each time?
What has been nice is, (the relationship) seems to be evolving each time. It deepens every time we revisit. It is just like nurturing a relationship with a friend, that is kind of how we look at it.
We try to create our relationship with the fans, the cities and with the venues. Without everybody’s help to support this dream of ours, that goes beyond just the simple act of giving and receiving. You know, there should be a secret handshake in there.
What about The SticksTour has had you raving? It seems through social media the band is having a lot of fun this go-around.
We are all loving it — it has been the best run ever. Everything is just better and bigger, and we are just more experienced. It is fun to pull from so many albums to create a, I don’t know, a celebration of your entire repertoire.
So after a few shows in you jump into a Mini-BC tour. How important is it for your band to canter around the home province for a week or two?
We owe a lot to our roots and those shows are always really spirited. We can’t be too patriotic, but we just go to where people want us. Or where there is a good reception you know. It is a pretty sweet deal being front his part of this world — in all its respect — especially where indie rock is flourishing.
Photo credit: Matt Borne
I watched the video for The Sticks recently, which was wonderfully executed by Chad VanGaalen by the way. I was reading a fan comment on YouTube that mentioned they understood finally what The Sticks meant. What was really being represented here and what was it like working with Chad?
Working with Chad was easy, and almost like not working with Chad. We just basically gave him free range to interpret the video and do what he may with it. Which is what we wanted, we kind of just wanted to see what someone in whom we were a fan of would create, so we were quite happy with the outcome, and I think there is some different interpretation of it, then you know, what maybe the purpose of the song is when writing it.
I think for “The Sticks,” it is an anthem for the guy or the person who decides to quit the societal norm, and kind of rebels against these crutches of modern controlled civilization.
It can be taken literally or metaphorical — it is pretty elastic — freeing this space that is in your mind or whether it is in your life, and just living more simply, more connected through, I don’t know, a sensor, so to speak.
What I liked about Chad’s representation is that he took it in a bit of a darker place, he kind of showed a new civilization discovering the ashes of an old one and falling into the same pitfalls, which alluded to their ultimate demise. There is something wonderfully sinister about that.
What were the collective feelings around releasing The Sticks in the months after, performing live and entertaining good reviews?
We are very happy with it and seems like the fans are very happy with it. That is great; first and foremost, we wanted to be feeling authentic and connected to this passion in music that we have to promote. Spreading it with the people who’ve helped us support this path of ours over the years — the fans that come out to the shows — it seems like everyone is on the same page that way. “The Sticks” is our only album where our second single has reached top 10 in Canada, and we’ve never had a second single do that which was really, really great.
“The Sticks” seemed like a very natural album and I read recently that though you were touring for a while, it still wasn’t rushed. What was the balance the band created to be able to write new material while touring?
When you have a writing bug you can’t shake it. No matter where you are creativity will come out in some way or another. There is no logic to it, because you could be at home with all the time in the world or somewhere quiet and free of distraction, and you’ll get nothing done. So it was just really following a whim of new muse. It just so happened that during the promotion of “EUREKA” the muse was antsy and it was just a great thing. It made for a quick turnaround, and an abundance of material to choose from in order to make what is now “The Sticks.”
Any work you were reading, etc. that inspired or helped you in the process of writing “The Sticks?”
I’ve read The Fountainhead, post-EUREKA and that is a great novel, which definitely challenges one’s relationship with their ego, and with their tendency to advance despite their integrity. So perhaps these things subconsciously found their ways into the process.
But I have to say, I really don’t know much about the process, nor do I try to know much about it or try to massage it. I don’t really do my research or do my homework to better tap into the writing process. To me it is an abstract, vague experience that you are kind of just more of a messenger for then you are the brainchild of.
Bucky Awards are being announced this week and you’re nominated for the favourite act category. If you were to win, what is your response to Canada, who clearly cannot get enough of you guys?
I would give a big hardy thank you! Yeah it’s a bit of a (special) thing, especially when the voting and that communication falls in the hands of the fans and the popular the vote, and not some panel of professionals. That is more of a contest I can kind of get behind, because I am not totally in love with the idea of giving people the best in the arts — it just seems too long defeat. With that being said, I think the popular vote is the way to go and should we win, I think we would be gracious and thankful.