Mother Mother - Dance and Cry Tour

Live Nation Presents

Mother Mother - Dance and Cry Tour

Said The Whale

Thu, March 7, 2019

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Algonquin Commons Theatre

Ottawa, ON

This event is all ages

  • Paid parking is in effect at all times.
  • The venue is located on a non-smoking campus.

Mother Mother
Mother Mother
With the world roiled by fear and division borne out of politics, economic uncertainty, and terrorism, perhaps there is no better time for the arrival of music underpinned by the belief that love wins. Into the maw of anxiety comes Vancouver’s indie synth-rock band Mother Mother and their new album No Culture, which posits that society uses negative byproducts of culture — such as narcissism, hedonism, and addiction — as a means to nurture its fears of the unknown. “ If we can strip back the culture, or the masks, attitudes, and stories that feed our differences, and just connect as people we might be more united ata time where we really need to be,” says Mother Mother’s frontman, guitarist, and lyricist Ryan Guldemond. To amplify No Culture’s themes, the album’s cover art depicts a painted-white baby doll dabbling in black paint, suggesting the immediate imprint society makes on us once we enter the world. As its creator Molly Guldemond, Ryan’s sister who sings, plays keyboard, and makes all the art for Mother Mother, puts it: “ The idea for the image came from careful consideration of what culture is and how it is used in society as a form of self-identification and belonging. What would it be like to be clear of this? How much of our identity is placed on us from the environments we are born into? A baby, shiny and new, is without culture. It is the tabula rasa, the clean slate. Slowly through immersion in domestic and social environments, it is painted with the brush of other people’s ideas, fears, and beliefs ... it is imprinted with culture.” For Ryan, stepping away from cultural influences was crucial to his ability to write Mother Mother’s new album. Unless he did so, Guldemond was afraid he’d never be able to write another song, much less an album — a significant concern given that Mother Mother fans were expecting a follow-up to 2014’s Very Good Bad Thing, which hit No. 1 on Canada’s Alternative Albums chart. In 2015, the band, which also features singer-keyboardist Jasmin Parkin, drummer Ali Siadat, and bassist Mike Young, was nominated for a Juno Award for “ Best Group” andtoured the U.S. extensively, including dates with Imagine Dragons and AWOLNATION.
When it came time to write, Guldemond retired to a home studio he had built in the woods on his dad’s property on Quadra Island off the Eastern coast of Vancouver Island where he and Molly grew up. “ It was so perfect and quiet that it became deafening and self-defeating,” he says. Three months before heading there, Guldemond put down a long habit of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. After a few months of sobriety, the honeymoon wore off and he fell into a depression and “ a regression back to the shit that I was trying to avoid when I was a kid,” he says. “ That stuff just lies dormant.” A debilitating period of writer’s block ensued, which inspired No Culture’s anthemic first single “ Love Stuck.” “ It’s about the condition of overthinking and how it creates blockades against creativity,” Guldemond says. “ I wrote this on my birthday at the height of my funk and so, always having believed in the magic and synchronicity of the universe, despite not feeling it at the time, I told myself that some element of cosmic numerology would inform the birth of a song.” As a result of his paralysis, Guldemond was forced to write autobiographical songs for the first time in his life. “ I was having my own identity crisis at the time so I couldn’t help but write about it, despite not wanting to,” he says. “ So I really had to capitalize on everything that I was going through. The clean-living experience surprised me with a lot of discomfort and confusion, and a loss of confidence. I was second-guessing everything, what my intentions were with the music, what good was, what bad was, what authentic was. I had grown used to conducting myself with a kind of intensity, and sobriety seemed to take that ability away from me. I found myself more open and softer, which allowed for more authentic connection.” It turns out that exploring life, songwriting, and his own identity —and being clear of mind and substances during the year that No Culture was written and recorded — resulted in Mother Mother’s most emotionally honest, vulnerable, and least cynical album to date. Guldemond says he felt free to explore lyrical concepts unfiltered by persona, a move away from the allegorical and conceptual writing the band was known for on its five previous albums. “ The Drugs” is about the euphoria, or “ high,” that one gets from being in love and replacing one source of dopamine with another, with love being the “ true” path of light and health. The piano ballad “ Letter,” a song Guldemond sat on for years as he searched for a deserving chorus, morphed from a simple idea rooted in unrequited love into a lament for the past: “ a case of toxic nostalgia, which I directly related to, being in my own state of longing, looking back on the good old days and indulging their mythological qualities,” he says. On “ Baby Boy,” Guldemond delivers confessional verses that admit his penchant for self-destruction and deceit, while Molly takes the lead with a melodic intervention, singing: “ Baby boy, baby brother, we’re losing you to the gutter.” Molly also shines on the album’s closing track, “ Family,” which began as a fairly caustic take on the Guldemonds’ family dynamic, but eventually softened into something that celebrates the idiosyncrasies of kinship.
But just because the album’s themes skew dark does not mean the sonic mood of No Cultureis gloomy. “ It’s not a down record,” Guldemond says. “ There's never a dark theme that isn't accompanied by an answer or a way out. And it was crucial to take introspective themes and prop them up with energized and optimistic music. Sometimes sadness is better carried in a vehicle of happiness.” On their new studio album, Mother Mother continue to honor their synth-driven sound with aspects of alternative pop, creating a shimmering blend of strong hooks, big beats, ethereal vocals, and sing-along choruses, with an injection of punk-rock energy. The listener is taken on an epic sonic journey that is filled with emotion, similar to Guldemond’s experience during the writing process. Now he’s relieved to have some distance and to be able to represent his journey from a place of objectivity. “ I think a story is better told when you're not so entrenched in living it,” he says. “ I look forward to performing these songs from the vantage point of having moved on from what led to their creation in the first place.”

Lyrically, THE STICKS is also the group's most cohesive and conceptual album thus far. When Ryan began writing for THE STICKS, one of the first songs to surface was "Bit By Bit", an explosive track with the opening words "Bit by bit, I'm going to get my bricks out in the sticks". This became a catalyst for a myriad of new songs encompassing a similar theme: a call to arms against the modern, man-made world and a campaign for simplicity and self-contained lifestyles. "It seems the more complex and voluminous our gadgetry becomes, the less equipped we become as people, both in original thought and survival skills," says Ryan on the subject. "Despite my upbringing", continues the Quadra Islandraised, "I'm not your quintessential woodsman, but I do admire the simple and self-reliant approach to life, believing it to broaden the mind and soul. This was a healthy concept to be channeling when both writing and producing THE STICKS. The outcome, I believe, is the most pure and unadorned music the band has made".

THE STICKS starts off with opening track "Omen", that begins with a sweet and haunting piano motif followed by the innocent timbre of a five-year-old lad singing alongside Ryan, "something about the world today makes a boy feel a bit insane". This brief and dichotomous lullaby sets up the album's ominous title track perfectly, like a calm before the
storm. The album's lead off single "Let's Fall In Love", an ironic homage to tunesmith Cole Porter, is a moody yet epic song about the foolhardy games we play in the arena of romance: "Stupid does it, ugly do it… Let's fall in love". The Beatles-esque number "Latter Days" is a playful anthem for the hermitic and reclusive while "Little Pistol", a paranoidal suicide ballad, is one of the most dramatic and dynamic songs on the album; laden with lilting strings, bass clarinet and a stunning vocal arrangement. In a similar vein is "Waiting For The World To End", the album's penultimate track, told from an indifferent and impatient onlooker of the impending apocalypse. "To The Wild", a steady and mesmerizing song hauntingly carried by Molly Guldemond in her unique, airy voice, is the perfect closer to an intense and dynamic journey, distilling the record's theme in a few simple words: "Take off your cage, and go back to the wild". Of course any Mother Mother album could not be fully realized without the accompaniment of a striking visual interpretation by Mother Mother's resident artist Molly Guldemond.

Veering away from the signature animal themes of its three predecessors, THE STICKS album artwork quite simply and effectively encapsulates the darker subject matter of the
record's sonic offerings. The cover features Mother Mother's signature tri-scratch design taking the form of three yellow sticks against a white background maligned with a
stenciling of the group moniker and album title with black spray paint, while the artwork inside the packaging depicts the orderly, complex and calculated modern world in a losing battle against nature, wild and anarchistic. "The songs lent themselves to artistic interpretation with a rich pool of imagery to draw from," shares Molly, "there are a lot of
literal translations of the lyrics in the artwork. I love strong simple graphics, and I like how they juxtapose with the theme of this record. It's the untamable chaos of nature crashing into the man-made structure of pop culture."

THE STICKS was released in the Mother Mother's native Canada in the Fall of 2012 and has already surpassed the successes yielded by its predecessors. Lead off single "Let's Fall In Love" peaked at #2 at Canadian Modern Rock (#3 at Alternative) and remained in the Top 15 for over 20 weeks, while follow up single "Bit By Bit" has recently cracked the Top 10 in its ascent up the Canadian Alternative chart. The group also embarked on a national headlining tour of Canada playing 1000-2500 capacity venues, selling out many of these in THE STICKS' wake. The group's rise to the top of the Canadian Alternative Rock scene of course also stems from the fantastic reception of their earlier recorded efforts. THE STICKS followed a whirlwind year of near constant touring in support of Mother Mother's
previous release, the critically acclaimed EUREKA. The album once again put Mother Mother at the top of Canada's indie charts, but also planted the group quite prominently
onto the mainstream radar. EUREKA produced three Top 20 alternative radio singles including the infectious smash hit "The Stand" which peaked at #3 at Canadian alternative (#5 at modern rock), and yielded a Juno-nominated music video. Already widely commended for their exceptional live show, it comes as no surprise that Mother Mother's popularity on the heels of EUREKA has since translated into sold out performances in nearly every major market in Canada and rendered the group a summer music festival attraction with appearances at some of Canada's most popular music festivals such as Ottawa Blues Fest, Osheaga, Hillside and Calgary Stampede to name a few. The album's success also earned the group their first Juno Award nomination, as well as two Sirius XM Indie Award nominations. With the American release of THE STICKS this February, Mother Mother will continue to build on the international reception they've received already from institutions such as BBC Radio, MTV, and tastemaker publications Q, Spin and Paste, among others.

Mother Mother's rapid ascent from an acoustic folk trio touring the open mics of their hometown to an internationally revered alternative pop/rock five-piece touring the clubs, theaters and event centers of North America and Europe not only demonstrates just how far they've come but has also blazed the trail for what's to follow. Featuring the multitalented line up of Ryan Guldemond (vocals/guitar), Molly Guldemond (vocals/synth), Jasmin Parkin (vocals/keys), Jeremy Page (bass/horns) and Ali Siadat (percussion/electronics), Mother Mother's unique blend of clever lyrics, stunning vocals, quirky arrangements and a multi-dimensional sound both on stage and in the studio has amassed the group a reputation that's brought about their celebration as indie darlings, all the while endearing to the mainstream. The release of THE STICKS to the world promises to maintain that delicate balance for the group while poising them for far greater milestone accomplishments and accolades both domestically and abroad.
Said The Whale
Said The Whale
Long before Vancouver’s Said The Whale became a JUNO Award-winning, radio chart-topping indie rock band, it was an exploratory songwriting experiment led by high school friends Tyler Bancroft and Ben Worcester. Now, a decade since their 2007 formation, they have taken the project back to its freeform roots while simultaneously venturing forward into uncharted art-pop territory.

As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide is the group’s fifth album, and it was recorded amidst a period of turnover. Following the success of 2013’s hawaiii, which spawned the Canadian rock/alternative number 1 hit “I Love You,” bassist Nathan Shaw and longtime drummer Spencer Schoening both left the lineup. Now operating as a trio — with frontmen Tyler and Ben and keyboardist Jaycelyn Brown — the group briefly considered making separate solo records before ultimately deciding to enter the studio with no preconceptions and no concrete plan.

“It’s a return to how Tyler and I used to make music, which is just experimenting with anything and everything,” Ben remembers. “We started out using Casio keyboards and drumbeats on our computers, and then we turned into a rock band. This is a return to being free to make anything.”

Recording took place in various Vancouver studios, with We Are The City’s Cayne McKenzie serving as producer and helping to guide the record’s organic synth textures and unpredictable structures. Arrangements were chopped up until they became unrecognizable from their original form, scratch vocals were soaked in effects and used in the final mixes, and assorted song fragments were gutted and stitched together. The sessions were briefly interrupted by the birth of Tyler’s son, and Jaycelyn got married and had to record some of her parts while on honeymoon in Southeast Asia.

And yet, regardless of the piecemeal recording process, the result is the most focused album of Said The Whale’s career to date. Thick bass grooves and shimmering electronic tones unify the album and permeate the space once reserved for guitar strums. “This is the most cohesive record we’ve ever made, between my songs and Ben’s songs,” Tyler says. “Musically, there was more collaboration than ever before.”

Previous Said The Whale records highlighted the contrast between Tyler’s eclectic rock influences and Ben’s salt-of-the-earth folksiness. Here, their styles become one: Ben-sung lead single “Step into the Darkness” rides a giddy drum loop towards its towering pop chorus, while Tyler’s “Confidence” sets soul-searching lyrics about the harsh realities of adulthood against a sublime backdrop of dance beats and deconstructed synth stabs. “Emily Rose” is an aching tribute to a friend who passed away in a car crash, and “Heaven” is a bittersweet eulogy propelled by swaggering blasts of electronic bass.

Despite the album’s many adventurous sonic forays, it remains true to the spirit of Said The Whale’s classic work. At its core, As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide is a singer-songwriter record, guided by introspective lyrics and alchemical group harmonies from Ben, Tyler and Jaycelyn. “This is our most personal, earnest record for sure,” Tyler says. “Even the upbeat songs are lamenting and sad.”

After so much change and uncertainty in recent years, Said The Whale has emerged as a unified force. While some listeners are bound to see the overhauled sound as a reinvention, it’s really just the latest step forward. They’ve evolved, but the DNA is the same, and the group’s musical partnership is more fruitful than ever.
Venue Information:
Algonquin Commons Theatre
1385 Woodroffe Ave.
Building E
Ottawa, ON, K2G 1V8