MoTHER has been buzzing on the local circuit since 2013 — but 2017 may be their breakout year with the release of their heavy-hitting first single, “Medicine”. I had the chance to speak with Johnny (bass) and get his thoughts on MoTHER bringing hard rock back into the spotlight again.
Tell us about the history of MoTHER.
We place our beginning around 2013 but the origins go back a bit further. We were brought together by a combination of Craigslist and years of being friends. Nick and I had played together in a previous band and we were lucky enough to catch a starry-eyed, fresh off-the-bus Mike Gowen when he packed his bags and moved to NYC from Pennsylvania to start his musical journey.
What does each member bring to the band?
Perspectives. Everyone has their very own distinctive view. Nick brings a sweet sense of songwriting on the piano with soaring vocals, Mike brings his brand of riffing while maintaining a solid swing on the guitars, and I bring…. something. I’m sure it’s something.
What kind of music do you play — and who are your musical influences?
We have recently started turning to more of a bluesy and swampy variety of rock. It has been an exciting journey getting to the current style of music from our humbled beginnings and will continue to evolve as we do over time. We all have a variety of influences, but we have recently decided to focus more on our roots as big fans of blues, classic rock, and soul music.
You recently signed to Flexitone Records but you guys have been putting out EP’s since 2013. What was the road like trying to get discovered?
Very long. That is another big step in what has been a long, yet amazing journey. We met with the man behind Flexitone Records, David Ivory, at a music conference one year ago and immediately hit it off with him. We then went down to his studio to record “Medicine.” After we were done with the process, he liked working with us enough that we all decided to forge a longer working relationship with his label.
You guys are from the tri-state area. How difficult was it getting the band out there to the masses with no designated local radio station?
Unfortunately, this is one of the most difficult parts of being a band in this day in age. There is so much sensory stimulation and so many other bands out there all competing for attention. We tackled this the same way we do everything else — we plugged in our instruments and played our asses off to as many people who would listen to us.
It seems like it’s beginning to pay off. Every band has a message they want to portray or a goal in mind — what is MoTHER’s?
We really just want to be the best rock band we can be.
You just released “Medicine” and it’s great! What inspired the song and what was it like recording it?
This song is inspired by that thing that every person needs to make themselves all right. It could be anything — sex, drugs, a new car, whatever your poison that takes you to where you need to be. Recording it was a long process for us, but it couldn’t have come out more perfect. David Ivory really took the giant balls from our live show and somehow squeezed them into an awesome recording.
Do you have any plans to record and put out a full-length album?
We are always writing and recording. The music is what decides when we will record. We expect to record more soon, but it could be in any format. We have a tendency to be very freewheeling in this regard.
You guys have a few shows coming up — why should readers come check you out?
Check out our music, if you dig it, you will dig our live shows. We are lucky enough to also have some of the best fans out there. They make the shows amazing.
Check out MoTHER at rockyourmother.com or in person at Arlene’s Grocery on April 1st! You can also check them out on Facebook (@motherband) and Instagram at @rockyourmother.
It would be easy to recommend my favorite music hotspots — but chances are, you’ve already been to them! Here are five that you may have not heard of already — check them out and thank me later!
The Wellmont Theater is a concert hall in Montclair that resembles a huge ballroom but is tiny enough that concerts feel intimate and personal. It’s also located in the heart of Montclair so you can hit up the nearby shops or grab a bite to eat before the show!
The Stanhope House is a New Jersey gem that used to be a legendary blues house in the 70s — but today it’s a great haunt for those who want to hear some live tunes. Stop by — and keep an eye out for the Stanhope House Ghost!
The Blue Room in Secaucus is a small “alternative” venue that is right next to a strip club — and it’s perfect for those looking to check out some local no-frills bands!
If you’re looking to venture into New York….
Baby’s All Right: I ended up at this Williamsburg bar for a private after-show and absolutely fell in love with the eclectic back room where they host their mini concerts. The floor is modeled after the maze in The Shining (yes, really!) and the light installation makes you feel as though you are in a music video. Make sure to stop by the next time you’re in Brooklyn — it’s unlike anything you’d find in Jersey.
Roxy Bar: This fancy little lounge in the middle of the modern Roxy Hotel in Tribeca is a perfect place to have a cocktail while checking out some jazz. It’s a trendy hang out where you may catch sight of a celebrity or two — but don’t bother asking for pictures, just play it cool!