Mother Interview: “This feels more close to home.”


Debut single ‘Petrichor’, is out now.

Mining an energetic and math inflected indie rock sound, here come Oxford’s Mother. Produced by Mark Gardener (Ride),’Petrichor’ is their debut single and sees them exploring a world of swirling, hypnotic memories, melody, and tension. It will be a highlight of their upcoming EP Remnants of a Wasted Dream. No doubt.

We spoke to Josh Alden from the group about the meaning of the word ‘petrichor’, working with Mark Gardener, and their future plans. Aces.

Overblown: Your debut single is called ‘Petrichor’. A ‘petrichor’ is: “a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.” What does that have to do with anything?

Josh: “Well, when I wrote the song I had this little room in a shared house, with a bed that sat underneath the windowsill. I had been smoking out of the window the night before and I was drunk so I forgot to close it. When I woke up the first thing I could hear was heavy rain, I opened my eyes and could see the big drops hitting the window and sliding down into the inside of the windowsill and then I could smell this fresh familiar scent of damp grass and slate from the rooftops. I got up, made a cup of tea, went back to the bedroom, sat on the bed with a small half size Gretch acoustic and wrote the song. When I had finished, it seemed pretty obvious to me the song had to be called Petrichor. The song developed into something larger when I sent the idea to Danny and worked on it with the rest of the band.”

Overblown: The track is produced by Mark Gardener from Ride. How awesome is that?

Josh: “It is awesome actually, we’ve been asked that quite a bit since it happened and the question always takes me by surprise because I never wanted to work with Mark because of RIDE, When I met him I had never listened to RIDE! I just got a great vibe from him, he’s all about the music, there’s no ego, no bullshit and he’s very knowledgable about music. He is a very good listener both in the studio and out. He can pick up on the smallest changes in sound or tone and pin point things that I would have passed by but also we actually spent a lot of time talking on the phone about general band stuff and the frustrations that come with it. He’s got a lot to offer.”

Overblown: The artwork for the single features a Rubix Cube. Did you ever solve one?

Josh: “No sadly I haven’t, the Rubix cube thing started in a kind of sweet way, my little sister Bea asked me to fix my little brother Will’s Rubix cube because he had muddled all the squares. I (trying to be an awesome brother) said “It will be fixed and back to normal by your bedroom door when you wake up”. That was at 7pm when they go to sleep… I was up watching youtube videos on how to solve it and trying to fix that thing until 5am! I kept getting so far with the algorithm and then making 2 wrong moves and couldn’t backtrack and had to start again each time. It’s the worst.

I think Chris Barker (guitarist from Willie J Healey and solo artist) can do them because I had a fixed one on my table in my kitchen around the time of the video shoot for Petrichor and as we were chatting about guitars he casually picked it up without me knowing, changed all the cubes and put it back. When I looked at it next time it was all in perfect crosses with a different colour cross on all opposite sides! He didn’t even look at the cube when he did it, I know that because we were talking and I hadn’t noticed at all… I think he’s some kind of wizard.”

Overblown: The band’s name is Mother. Did you feel you had to have a new band name for this project? Why?

Josh: “Personally I think this name is more timeless and doesn’t feel like it holds a genre to it and therefore for me, I feel mentally, free to write anything I want, in any style, with any instrument, and sung in any way and bring it to the guys. Whereas before I wrote in a style for the namesake of the band thinking it had to be consistent with our outward image. This feels more close to home.”

Overblown: I see you supported Bo Ningen. I love Bo Ningen! How was that?

Josh: “ I have a friend Jon, who’s always been really supportive of our band and for years he would tell me about “This Japanese band Bo Ningen! They’re so good, no one is doing what they’re doing, you have to check ’em out!” and this was 10 or more years ago! It’s crazy! He saw them play Moth Club I think when literally a handful of people knew about them and they played to about 30 people! So yeah to play at Ritual Union Festival, an amazing festival that takes place on the legendary Cowley Road with Bo Ningen was really special, they’re a really special band. You can usually always say about a band “oh THAT band, that sound s bit like …” or “ they remind me of …” but with them, they truly have they’re own style and sound.”

Overblown: Your debut EP, ‘Remnants of a Wasted Dream’, is on the way. Is ‘Petrichor’ a good indicator of the music on that record?

Josh: “No actually. I mean in terms of production and quality then yes for sure. But I think it’s quite a varied EP. I’m not sure where each track would fit into genres, they’re not radically different from each other but they do feel like stand-alone songs to me. But I always think I’m too close to the songs anyway, once they’re recorded they’re not really yours anymore. I can say that Petrichor has this repetitive rhythmic vibe, Lyrically and musically, which is intentional but the rest of the EP goes a lot deeper lyrically and musically and explores a wider range of emotions and sounds. I see Petrichor as our take on a dance tune, like some chilled 90’s dance track with a blow out chorus, except played by a band with fender’s instead or synths. ”

Overblown: What are your plans for 2018?

Josh: “ Well I could make a very long list of things we would like to achieve this year but I will just say that we have another EP planned which we are recording in Feb and we’re talking with Rob Stevenson of A Silent Film to produce it. Also that we are hoping for BBC Introducing in Oxford to put us forward for some bigger festival slots this year, they’ve always championed us. We’re an unsigned band who manage and book our own shows, we’ve not played Reading & Leeds, Truck Festival, Great Escape etc. so they’re a few goals of ours. We have our hometown Headline show on Independent Venue Week on 1st of Feb at The Cellar which is looking like it’s gonna sell out so we’re already having a great start to the year! Go get a ticket before you miss out on something special!

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