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Mother Mother's Ryan Guldemond Reveals the Secret to Happiness

By Lane Nieset

Canadian quintet Mother Mother may be selling out shows and headlining festivals in Canada, but this band from Vancouver is stepping into uncharted territory in the U.S. With their fourth album, The Sticks, dropping in the States. on February 12, the band is gearing up to hit the road in March on a U.S. tour with Awolnation.

New Times caught up with the frontman and principle songwriter, Ryan Guldemond, who also produced the album, to see how the band is preparing for their gigs stateside. They will be playing at Revolution Live on March 15, on their first trip to Florida, where Ryan says they have "a little pocket of fans."

New Times: Since the U.S. tour starts in March, what will the band be up to until then? 

Ryan Guldemond: We're kind of taking the precious time to do unrelated things, but it's hard to escape the consuming nature of being in a band and being in the middle of an album cycle. I'm actually thinking a bit further ahead and trying to write for the next record at the moment just because there is a bit of time and that next chapter can sneak up on you, so it's nice to get a headstart on the writing. 

What was the inspiration behind this album? 

A lot of apocalyptic and, I guess, protesting the modern grit. I mean, it wasn't really overly political, politically intended. There are just a couple songs that could send a message and add weight and poetic power, I suppose. This sort of inspired a reiteration of a theme. 

How do you feel your music has progressed, since this is your fourth album? 

It's hard to say if it has or not. For us, we're getting better at doing it. Our emotional experience is becoming more peaceful, more calm, and even tempered and understood. But whether or not the music is perceived as progressive from where it started by band-goers is really very subjective. 

You know, I'd like to think that I've grown as a songwriter, and I'm sure everyone in the band would like to believe they've gotten better and are more in tune with the rigamorale of putting records out, but then you'll talk to a fan and they'll say we were as genius as we ever could be on the very first record, and that's their subjective angle and I kind of like hearing these paradoxical point of views that counteract my own. And the idea of progressing and evolving becomes something that belongs in the eye of the beholder. 

Was there anything that the band disagreed on when it came to working on the new album?

No, it was a pretty clear: open forum. This record, we wanted to -- not put so much pressure on some idea of cohesion and viability -- but rather just choosing songs we liked the most, regardless of whether or not they necessarily fit together. I mean they ended up fitting together nicely, and I think that's what traced feelings of a classic album, these moments of contrast between big and small, loud and quiet, angry and sad, happy, and etc.

We just kind of really embraced our own preferences and used that as a model as opposed to using any sort of crystal idea of what makes a successful record as a model, not that that's ever really been the mandate. I mean, I guess that's how we've progressed. 

We just kind of get more comfortable in our own skin, and just knowing what it is we like and want to do, and doing that. And therein lies happiness, if you're doing what you want and feeling authentic while doing it. 

What are you looking forward to most about the U.S. tour? 

I think most of the places we're going we have not been, and the venues, I think, are going to be far superior to what we're used to down there. And it's kind of nice to get into that role as a supportive opening band and to watching someone else's ship navigate. 

You said you haven't been to a lot of the places you'll be touring. Have you toured in Florida before? 

Never been to Florida; always wanted to go to Florida. I know there's a little pocket of fans in Florida. We get some Florida fan mail; we have for years. I don't know, it might be three and a half people, it might be 20. I don't know. It's always been a bit of a sore spot, not having that opportunity to get to places like Florida, or New Orleans, or Atlantic City. This tour basically encompasses all of the places we wanted to go in the States. 

Mother Mother. With AwolNation and Blondfire. 8 p.m., March 15, Revolution Live, 100 S.W. Third Ave., Ft. Lauderdale. Tickets cost $23 in advance, $25 at the door. Visit

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New Times Staff

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