With the recent release of their EP No Culture: Live Sessions, alt-rock band Mother Mother show a raw side of themselves, putting out six live and acoustic versions of songs from their latest full-length album No Culture. Mother Mother is composed of Ryan Guldemond on guitar and vocals, Molly Guldemond on vocals and keyboards, Jasmin Parkin on keyboards and vocals, Ali Siadat on drums and percussion, and Mike Young on bass. We caught up with Ryan on their sound, inspiration and first live EP.
Asymmetric Magazine: Congrats on your tour and new EP! What can we expect to hear?
Ryan Guldemond: Thank you. We're excited about this EP, as we've not yet released anything live. The tracks I'm most excited about are the acoustic renditions of Love Stuck and Letter. On the studio album, they're both big songs in their production but work so well stripped down. It's always a good test–seeing how the melodies hold up without a fortress of sound behind them.
AM: How would you best describe your sound?
RG: It's like a really pleasant day, but all the colours are different and things are skewed. The sky is purple, the trees are blue, the hands you shake have three and a half fingers, etc. I guess what I'm trying to say is there's something familiar or nostalgic about our sound, but it's bent somehow, or glitchy. Like you're at a picnic, and your mushrooms are starting to kick in. I don't know. It's a hard, almost intolerable question. If you ask a radio programmer, they would say "alternative".
AM: What's your biggest inspiration?
RG: That which arrests the soul, I suppose, and that can be something either beautiful or horrifying, but both images have a way of elucidating how precious life is. Amazing songs do this, you know, the ones that encapsulate universal themes with lyrics so simple yet novel. And portraits of urban dystopia, or the smell of tomatoes on the vine, or leaving somebody who loves you or being left by somebody you love, or both at the same time. Good sex, bad sex. Being yelled at, being cradled. Amazing people. Shitty people. I think life is my answer. It's a very inspiring ordeal, life.
AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
RG: I spent a lot of time in LA writing for No Culture. I wrote the first and last songs on the record in LA while I was staying at a little artist apartment in Silver Lake. Can you hear it?
AM: What themes do you pursue through your music?
RG: On No Culture, the big theme was truth: finding it, denying it, and reconciling with the lies you may have been living or telling yourself, but also falling into longing for them or your old brain which believed in them. And like with most of our stuff, the central themes of any given album are often cloaked with existential, antiestablishment, or ironic overtones. The play between extremes and opposites is also common. It's important to me that, if a song is dismal, there's a silver lining, and vice versa. If the thematic lens is rose coloured, then dark clouds loom in the bridge.
AM: How did you land on the name "Mother Mother"?
RG: An Oedipus Complex
AM: What other musicians are currently inspiring you?
RG: Perfume Genius, Angel Olsen, Fleet Foxes, Nick Cave, Vince Staples, The National, Karen Dalton, We Are The City, Blake Mills, Sharen Van Etten
AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self?
RG: I really wish I knew where that was.
AM: Whats the best advice you’ve ever received?
RG: Be safe, but not too safe.