When listening to Ryan Guldemond of Mother Mother speak about his band’s musical style — genre is too limiting a term — you immediately notice his immense love of words.
Guldemond never speaks to the point. His sentences often trail into each other. Nothing is distinct.
The Sheaf recently had the opportunity to catch up with Guldemond of Mother Mother. Based out of Vancouver, BC, the band is currently touring Canada and the U.S. with Europe on the agenda for later this fall. Consisting of Guldemond, his sister Molly, keyboardist Jasmyn Parker, bassist Jeremy Page and percussionist Ali Siadat, Mother Mother has been touring long and hard this year, making two appearances in Saskatoon over the months.
Guldemond describes the time between April and September as a “mercurial vortex.” The use of such an abstraction is typical of Guldemond and carries over to Mother Mother’s music. The band belongs to no single genre and trying to pin them down musically is difficult, if not impossible.
“I guess I would say that there’s an element of strangeness. There’s an element of melodic-ness,” said Guldemond with a laugh. “And yeah, it’s a very vocally driven thing. It’s vocal. It’s melodic. It’s weird. It’s eclectic.”
Guldemond, who is “mostly in charge” of writing the songs, carefully chose his words, making sure not to misrepresent the band’s ideas about music.
“We do what we do in a natural way to express music diversely.”
This is apparent to anyone who has listened to the band’s latest record, Eureka. Songs such as “Getaway” are mellow and experimental, while “Problems” and “The Stand” are far more driven and alt-rock. In an odd, whimsical way, this diversity within the album pulls it together.
“It’s strange to discriminate from one genre to another. Sometimes music calls for changing genres from one song to the next,” said Guldemond.
This organic approach to creating music sets Mother Mother apart from so many other artists who never stray from their genre. Another trademark of the band is their melancholic sound, which isn’t necessarily depressing, but simply honest.
“It’s funny. I do gravitate towards slower, darker songs and sometimes I kind of feel like I need to remind myself to be positive. Happy songs irk me. I like cold, dense and realistic portraits of humanity, which inevitably I think are quite humourous.”
Since Mother Mother’s third album was released, the band has been getting more acclaim and, of course, a larger fan base. For a private person like Guldemond, it hasn’t necessarily been an easy transition to make.
“There’s something about that that’s scary. I like feeling anonymous in the world. The idea of being mobbed is fairly unappealing,” he said.
Even so, the band will definitely be receiving more public recognition after this tour. They have never toured in Europe and hope to make headway there.
Gaining a fan base “hasn’t been as speedy as [in] Canada, but then again we haven’t focused as much on other territories. The States is coming along quite nicely, and we’re heading over to Europe in October. Hopefully that ball will get rolling with more speed and momentum.”
As for future of the band, “a subsequent album is always looming.” The most important thing for Mother Mother is constantly moving forward.
“The cycles always finish up and it’s time again to record another album. I always try to remind myself of that impending time,” Guldemond said. “Hopefully we will take less of a hiatus than we did between O My Heart and Eureka.”
The band was asked whether they would ever want to tour with the Sheepdogs considering the local band’s recent exposure, but the idea didn’t sound too promising. However, knowing how much Mother Mother loves unconventionality, with them anything is possible.
Mother Mother is playing at Louis’ tomorrow, September 7.
photo: Jennifer Picard Photography