What makes the latest album from indie rockers Gomez different than all previous efforts? For starters, frontman Ian Ball said, "it sounds like it's the same band all the way through the record... this would be a first for us."Self-ribbing aside, Bell is excited for Whatever's On Your Mind, the first album the band has self-produced since 2001's In Our Gun. He and band members Paul Blackburn, Tom Gray, Olly Peacock and Ben Ottewell put the album together first via various computer methods (methinks they sampled tracks at first via Skype) from their respective homes in Brooklyn, Brighton and Los Angeles.
While the album is still a few weeks away, the band were gracious to let The Huffington Post premiere the new track "Song In My Heart" exclusively. Look for Gomez on tour this summer -- they're part of Dave Matthews' Band Caravan and will roll into New York City at Terminal 5 July 14.
Speaking of which, when asked what other plans for the sunny season, Ball said he and his bandmates will be "searching for valuables and necessities in dark, unknown places." Um, OK. Anyway, listen...
"Mother Mother" isn't just the name of a killer 1990s one-hit-wonder by Tracy Bonham, it's a pop rock quintet from Rick Moranis country AKA Canada that's gradually been gaining momentum. The band's been a hit on Canada college radio, scored high on Canadian iTunes, and CMJ, and their latest release Eureka seems to be on the way of bringing them mainstream success beyond the Canuck luck. They've already, by the way, shared the stage with Pearl Jam, Weezer and Spoon.
I spoke with frontman Ryan Guldemond recently, and talked pop hooks, touring, and making Eureka.
Talk to me about how you came up with the band name ...
Ah yes, our cryptic moniker ... Well we used to be just "Mother," a word we felt represented the ambiguity and extremity of our sound. We eventually doubled up to avoid legal hassle as there were a slew of other bands called "Mother." I like to think of "Mother Mother" as the orphan's cry for rescue from displacement, an idea which I think resonates well with the band as we're hard to peg and people don't always know where to put us. But unlike the orphan, we enjoy this conundrum.
How would you exactly describe your sound?
The songs follow pop structure but are often disguised with some twists and turns in the arrangements, creating what I think is more of an illusion of atypical structure than an actuality. Melodies and lyrics are a biggie, which are both a little bent, and we aim for exultant choruses which can often result in a sense of sweet melancholy due much in part to the dark subject matter. I think it's catchy music, but isn't meant to pacify the listener, but rather engage him/her.
Well said... What was the process like making the new album?
Before going into the studio, we rather fully realized the songs in their arrangements and recording strategy. We knew tempos, instrumentation, roomy sounds versus tight sounds, etc. We even had charts laying out the tones, textures and overall vision we were going after. We were very preliminarily organized so when it came time to actually record there was little confusion or debate regarding strategy. As for location and timing, we took 10 days at Mushroom Studios in Vancouver, a studio which is famous for its big open room that yields amazing drum sounds.
After these 10 days, we moved to a smaller studio called District 4, also in Vancouver, where we tracked vocals, electric guitars, percussion and synth, which lasted a couple months. Once tracking was complete, we made rough mixes and lived with those for a month before having Mike Fraser properly mix the record at The Warehouse Studios. Andy Van Dette at Master Disk in NYC mastered the album and by that point it was close to half a year after the first day of tracking.
How did your recent tour go?
Well now that the tour is over, I can recount its glory and ingloriousness with the advantage of retrospect. I can say it was mostly glorious, save for some long drives. Canada isn't necessarily set up for touring, geographically speaking, but our citizen's vigor for music is second to none. Every show was a rather inspiring vehicle for unadulterated escape, which is what we always hope for, but are not always met with, sometimes due to our state of mind and sometimes due to the audience's, but I can say at these shows the chemistry between us and them felt really good and aligned.
Professionally, it was also rewarding as we were playing larger venues then we've ever on our own steam, selling more tickets and merchandise. Also, traveling with two crew members, which was a first, elevated the production value of the shows and made logistical life easier all around. The tour felt like a step up in every regard.
Nice. Who inspired you to get into music?
I'm not sure I can give that award to any one person. Before I ever remember gleaning musical taste or influence from an actual person, I recall already being rather committed to music by way of tinkering on mom's piano. Of course she was a great aid in my musical pursuits having funded piano lessons and being generally very supportive of a life in music, and I would group my father in that category as well, having introduced me to bands like Pixies and The Violent Femmes, but as far as I can remember, the inspiration was there from the get go, all by itself.
Who inspired you to not get into politics?
I suppose the politicians themselves, and perhaps my very short attention span.
What album(s) are you currently playing to death?
None actually. One of the biggest complaints I have about myself is that I don't listen to enough music, or have the insatiable desire to, like proper enthusiasts who play albums to death. I will say however, that I'm currently enjoying Pixies' "Bossanova" and John Lennon's "Plastic Ono Band."
If Justin Bieber stopped making music, what's the first thing you would do?
Hmm, Justin Bieber, you say. Isn't he but a small article riding a large conveyor belt belonging to a massive machine? If he fell off and was forgotten, I hardly believe production would halt, which is what it might take to stir a reaction in me.
Follow Jon Chattman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thecheappop