IN CONCERT: Mother Mother (with Hannah Georgas)
When: Tonight, 8 p.m.
Where: Royal Theatre
Tickets: $34.75 to 43.50 plus service charge, at rmts.bc.ca or 250-386-6121.
Also performing at Duncan’s Cowichan Theatre Saturday, Nanaimo’s Port Theatre Sunday and Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre Monday.
When a Gulf Islander writes an album about back-to-the-land rejection of modern society, the connection seems obvious.
But Quadra Island-raised Ryan Guldemond — lead singer, guitarist and songwriter behind Vancouver alt-pop quintet Mother Mother — says he doesn’t see it that way.
“It would be false to say that my upbringing hasn’t found its way into my expression,” he said in an interview last week. “But it’s just that the impact isn’t substantial. At least from what I can tell.”
Still, it’s hard to deny some similarities.
Guldemond’s link to Quadra Island goes back to his parents — a carpenter and a bookstore owner who moved there under “fairy tale-esque” circumstances soon after marrying in Duncan.
They would separate while Guldemond was “swimming in the womb,” after the birth of his sister and bandmate Molly, but he said their initial plan to start a new life, with a new family, had an auspicious beginning.
As he lists the reasons for choosing Quadra after a stint in Victoria, he pauses between each: “Just freedom. And originality. Staking their claim. Inventing their own story, not having someone else invent it for you, or try to fit in some kind of mould or structure.”
His lyrics on Bit by Bit, the centrepiece track of Mother Mother’s fourth studio album The Sticks, may not be as direct in their intentions. But when you write about building a cabin on a little mountain — then say it’s about searching for authenticity — the similarities continue to grow.
“It’s pretty appealing,” he says, reflecting on his parents’ choice. “If I hadn’t gotten into music, I might have just had to do something similar. Because music feels like a total renegade occupation and so does moving to a feral island and starting from scratch.”
Guldemond speaks with an air of reflection. But having just celebrated his 30th birthday, which he calls “a numerical farce,” he says it’s a mistake to give some things too much significance.
“I get reflective on how one shouldn’t get too reflective,” he said, of how he treats the milestone.
It’s probably good he feels that way, as a 23-show tour crammed into a one-month time span doesn’t leave much time for it. Shows in Victoria, Duncan, Nanaimo, Campbell River and finally Vancouver will wrap it up for Guldemond and bandmates Jasmin Parkin (vocals/keys), Jeremy Page (bass/horns), Ali Siadat (percussion/electronics) and sister Molly Guldemond (vocal/synth).
But riding on the popularity of 2011’s Eureka, which included radio-ready tracks like The Stand, touring has become more comfortable for the five-piece. The group has graduated to a bona fide tour bus, earned a set-up crew, which gives them some down time, and enjoyed other spoils of moderate success.
In the past, for example, they would ration studio time in the face of strict budget restrictions.
This time, they set up camp at Vancouver’s Hipposonic Studios (formerly Mushroom Studios) for five weeks and “whimsically changed gears,” through the recording process.
“We didn’t have to feel transient or fragmented in that experience,” said Guldemond. “It’s paramount, the difference.”
As they roll into a sold-out show in Campbell River, where the Guldemonds attended high school, they expect to see many familiar faces. Among them, their parents.
“I think it’s important to them that their children are happy and not aimlessly wandering down some wayward path,” he said.
“They understand how confusing and hard it is to trot oneself into the world and make sense of it. But I think they’re very happy it’s working out the way it is.”
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