Photography by Down The Barrel.
What is a Mother Mooch? According to the good ol internet to ‘mooch’ is to “loiter in a bored or listless manner”. Having said this there is absolutely nothing boring or listless about psych rock Dublin band Mother Mooch. Quite the opposite in fact. Their music is eclectic, ranging from grunge to punk to hard rock to punk covers of folk songs. Their diverse sound is reflected in the varied projects and interests of guitarist with the band, Sid Daly.
We had a good chat with Sid soon after Mother Mooch’s recent gig in Fred Zeppelins in Cork about song writing, the vigorous Irish music scene, Nick Oliveri, Canalaphonic Fest, and what the future holds for the Mooch.
Overblown: It’s been nearly a year since you released your debut album. Any plans for another one?
Sid Daly: Oh yes, of course! We’re working on a new batch of songs at the moment. We had to take the first few months of the year off ‘cos Farl had his first baby in January, and Barry who played bass on the album left the band, so we recruited Léon in April and set about breaking him in, while using the down time to promote the album and our ‘Hive Mind’ video online through a lot of cool underground websites around the world we’ve developed friendships with. We’re looking at demoing the new songs in January and working from there.
O: Has your approach to song writing changed the longer the band has been together?
SD: Not really, but we’ve gotten a lot better at it though haha. Generally either Farl or myself will have some riffs we made up at home, and we then sit down with Danni and work out the structure and then everyone else joins in. Chloe sits down while we jam and works out the vocal melody and then writes the lyrics. Sometimes it takes twenty minutes to get a song right and sometimes it takes months of jammin’ and reworking until everyone’s happy with it.
O: I love the artwork for the album (see above). Kind of reminds me of the album covers for Baroness. Who designed it and what is the concept behind it?
SD: The artist’s name is Emmett Mulligan, of Illustrations by Emmet Mulligan. He’s a friend of mine from way back. We first met when I was working in Forbidden Planet and Emmett was coming in there to buy his comics. Mother Mooch came from a misheard lyric in Symptom of the Universe, and to me has always been some kind of space goddess, so I did a rough sketch and told Emmett I wanted it to look like a cross between Jack Kirby and Alphonse Mucha and he knocked it out of the park! He’s big into geometric design and all the colour is done by pointillism! Incredibly, incredibly detailed work. He also designed our Amp Worship tshirt.
O: Your music is quite diverse. What/who inspires the songs musically?
SD: We just have incredibly diverse taste in music. Farl and myself go way back, and bonded over our love of Sabbath, Kyuss, QOTSA, Dead Meadow, Monster Magnet and The Stooges which is where our tastes cross over, he’s also big into Krautrock, punk, post punk and shoegazey stuff while I’m into I’m into Alice In Chains and COC, Misfits, Tom Waits, and newer stuff like All Them Witches and King Buffalo. I guess Chloe’s biggest influences would be Josh Homme, Mike Patton and Jim Morrison. She writes melodies and vowel sounds first and takes it from there. Lyrically, she writes whatever suits the tone of the music we’re playing and subject matter varies wildly depending on what she’s been reading or watching; Shakespeare, serial killers, Game of Thrones, people taking themselves too seriously…
I personally love her lyrics, she’s a very clever lady! ‘L.H.O.O.Q.’, along with being a Marcel Duchamp reference also contains a line in Italian, because Chloe figured the Mona Lisa in the song would be thinking in Italian…
O: Do you have a goal with your music?
SD: We just want as many people as possible to hear our music. We’ve been slowly reaching around the world via various websites and YouTube channels and the next step is to get out of Ireland and play in the UK and Europe where there’s a huge audience for all things stoner, doom and psych.
O: You supported Nick Oliveri of Queens of the Stone Age fame. He’s quite the character. Any good stories?
SD: Yeah, we supported him twice actually, once in 2014 and again last year. The first time we didn’t get to spend much time with him, but the second we all hung out after the show, had some drinks and laughs. He’s exactly what you would expect him to be! It’s surreal to support someone you’ve been listening to for years, and actually I’d say QOTSA are probably the only one band that everyone in this band loves equally.
O: You’re currently on a mini tour with Ten Ton Slug. Do you enjoy playing with them?
SD: Absolutely man! What a great band! I first saw them play a gig with Nautilus in Dublin last year, and I was at all their Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses rounds and the final and I saw them get better and better and better over the last year, and they thoroughly deserved to win the final and the chance to play at Bloodstock Festival, and man did they pull a big crowd there! Partholón really impressed me on the Cork leg too, and we played with a couple of great bands in Ballymena a few weeks ago, Elder Druid and Korvid. There’s some really, really great bands right across the whole metal and rock spectrum in Ireland at the moment, the whole scene is best the country’s ever been in my opinion, and the internet has blown it all open for these bands to get out and get their music heard.
O: Tell us a bit about the Canalaphonic Festival that’s on the horizon.
SD: Well Canalaphonic is certainly an interesting one haha. I work for Dublin City Council and I’ve always tried to keep my work life and my personal life separate, but I’m part of a group whose aim is to develop and promote the Grand Canal to it’s fullest potential as an amenity, so around two years ago I suggested putting on a small music festival around Portobello Harbour. I’d been booking and promoting gigs for us, and I’d been organising events in work so I figured I could certainly attempt to do a small festival. I was aware of the existence of Abner Brown’s Barbershop in Rathmines ‘cos one of my best mates, alt-folk legend in the making Jem Mitchell had played a gig there, so I asked Jem to put me in touch with whoever ran Abner’s, and that’s how I met Dave Judge.
Over the next few months my “little festival” idea turned into something absolutely amazing with something like 120 bands from all genres playing over 25 venues throughout Rathmines and Portobello, and somewhere around 4,000 people watching bands play on top of a barge at the Harbour! We actually got to be the first ever band to play Canalaphonic Festival, and of course I obviously insisted on our type of music getting it’s own stage ‘cos by and large us hippies and metallers tend to get overlooked by the “mainstream” and I wanted to make damn sure that if I created a festival there would be heavy shit at it! So I asked Mother Fuzzers Ball and Electric Taurus main man Matt Casciani if he wanted to have the Ball at Canalaphonic, and as a result of that Matt then asked me and Mount Soma’s Conrad Coyle to come on board running the MFB with him. So much for keeping work and life separate haha!
So the festival is back in September and once again we have two nights of Mother Fuzzers Ball, and this year we’re upstairs in Whelans for the late show on Friday and Saturday night with bands from all four corners of Ireland. Friday is Cork’s Ealadha, Mooch and Electric Taurus and Saturday the heavier end of things is out in force with Elder Druid playing Dublin for the first time, followed by Ten Ton Slug and Two Tales of Woe who are also after having a great couple of years since re-emerging on the scene.
O: What’s next for Mother Mooch?
SD: Well, next for us is a fancy gatefold coloured vinyl release of Nocturnes!! After we self released the album, German stoner/psych label Krauted Mind Records got in touch with us and asked if we’d consider releasing it on vinyl through them. I’d actually been looking into getting a vinyl edition pressed ourselves, but knowing how amazing the whole stoner scene is in Germany and the rest of Europe, we thought it would be a great opportunity to get our music to a wider audience so we jumped at the chance. I should have an actual release date by the end of this week, but as far as I know it’s the end of September. I do have a test pressing in my possession and we’re absolutely delighted with how whopper it sounds!! Just to hear that old vinyl crackle before ‘This Tempest’ kicks in was honestly a lifelong dream come true! Really can’t wait to see the real thing!
We’ve got one date in Netherlands in November and trying to get a couple more around the same time, and then we’re opening for Icelandic electro/industrial Goths Legend also in November and I think then we get stuck into album number two, and hopefully next year we’ll get some UK shows, and more European shows.
Thanks very much for taking the time to interview me, we really appreciate any opportunity to get our music heard by as wide an audience as possible.
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