In their zeal to keep moving forward and growing, artists often dismiss their earliest work as the product of a half-formed sensibility—the new stuff is what really matters. Ryan Guldemond, on the other hand, says he has a “really healthy relationship” with the songs his band Mother Mother wrote and recorded for its 2008 sophomore LP, O My Heart.
When TikTok influencers latched onto some of those songs last year—specifically “Hayloft”, “Arms Tonite”, and “Wrecking Ball”—Mother Mother’s music went viral. That’s one reason why, despite having a new album called Inside to promote, the band will dig deep into its back catalogue for five back-to-back shows at the Commodore from December 2 to 5. Another reason is that Guldemond still really likes the rambunctious chaos of the songs his younger self wrote.
“Those songs came from out of nowhere, and very unlike Inside, I wasn’t thinking of what they meant,” Guldemond tells the Vancouver Guardian in a Zoom interview. “The words were flying out of the sky and through my creative vessel, and coming out as these wildly quirky, courageous, verbose, abstract songs—and none of it was intentional or premeditated. And so those songs, now that I get to reacquaint with them in this way, are reminding me that great art comes from letting go of yourself and connecting to something bigger somehow and letting that energy flow through you.”
Mother Mother’s latest is a very considered piece of art, and that’s not to its detriment. Inside is a concept album about human resilience set against the backdrop of COVID-19. The pandemic kept Guldemond off the stage for nearly two years, and he’s not taking his return to action for granted.
“I think we’ve always been connected to the lucky gift that it is to be in a band and make it work, and play in front of people and have people want to see you,” he says. “But I think this long hiatus has instilled a new perspective, a new sense of gratitude. So we’re really just awoken to that truth now more than ever.”