Friday, February 11, 2011

Bands in the Neighborhood: Mother

This latest installment of Bands in the Neighborhood is on Mother, a duo who play interesting and really good sort of electronic/ ambient/psychedlic indie rock. I mentioned them before with their QR-Code posters.

Their albums are available on their Bandcamp page, linked above. I spoke with Casey and Brad from the band.

If you have a band in the neighborhood, let me know. 

How did you all choose the band name?
CASEY: I needed a word to put into iTunes so this music would stay together. It was just me at that point, but Brad and I collaborated on some of the stuff, too. The name Mother was vaguely spiritual. The Mother of all things being Nature or God or insert-name-here. I don't care what something is named -- after a little while the content is
the key descriptor, not the word. That said, it would've been easier with a less common name. Choosing a band name is about as ridiculous a process as you can get.

BRAD: It's the worst, normally, and generally takes months of teeth gnashing and stark disagreement, ending in a compromise that no one's happy with. Deciding on Mother was the quickest and easiest band name process that I've ever been involved with, and I genuinely like the name.

How did the band form?
CASEY: I was playing keyboard in a band called The Hard Tomorrows, which was an amalgamation of several previously existing bands. Before and during my being in the HTs I was writing and recording songs and
soundscapes, as a kind of therapy, which ended up being four full-length records. I never asked myself why, because it was just happening on its own. But at a certain point I was like, "I really like this music. Maybe other people will too." I sent the music to some friends and Hard Tomorrows bandmates and they liked it and I asked them if I got a group of creative players to explore the songs, would they form a band with me. The HTs broke up, people joined and started new bands, and Mother was one of those. I knew Brad was down -- we had talked about it in passing and he had always liked the music. And knowing Brad's abilities as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, it was obvious that we would team up.

BRAD: I was excited, because knowing the players, I expected it to a trippy psychedelic rock band, which is my favorite genre. We didn't quite hit that groove at first, but we eventually got there. Plus, I got to play guitar early on, which is something that I'd been wanting to do in a band for years. I'm mostly a bass player.

How many members live in Columbia Heights?
CASEY: All members, except some former members who live in Petworth and Mount Pleasant.

BRAD: The former members recently left. It's just Casey and I now. But it's good, because we're throwing ourselves into making our next record, and since we've no one else but ourselves to please, it's smoother sailing. Casey and I collaborate well.

Do you practice in CH? How about play any gigs in the neighborhood?
CASEY: We've been playing at my house at Columbia and 13th since Mother's inception. Long before the movie, 'Inception'. We've played lots of local gigs near Columbia Heights (Crab's Claw in MtP; Adams Morgan; U St.) but I don't think any in CoHi proper.

BRAD: We played Wonderland Ballroom once, didn't we?

CASEY: That's right. Forgot.

What are your band's influences?
BRAD: Mine range from Beatles to Radiohead to White Stripes to Interpol to MGMT to Beach House to Animal Collective and all of its mammalian subsidiaries. Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, electronica, Pink Floyd, especially Syd Barrett, Blur, My Bloody Valentine...

CASEY: Eno, The Cure, Mr. Bungle, Sonic Youth, Brian Jonestown Massacre, M83, Nick Drake, Genesis, King Crimson, Elliott Smith of course, Kevin Sheilds, REM, Donovan, Mars Volta, Don Caballero, Neil Young, Medications, Jonathan Fire Eater.

Do you have any records out? What's your next show?
BRAD: We have two records out. Our first is called “Electric Fancy” and our second release is “Oktopus Klap”. You can listen to and download both for free at We recently festooned parts of the city with posters featuring QR codes that can be scanned with smartphone apps that'll take you right to "Oktopus Klap". I believe your blog wrote about these posters? Anyway, pictures of them outside of Black Cat actually made their way onto a blog in France. I have no idea how that happened!

CASEY: We're waiting to finish our current record before we book more gigs.

Gone on any tours? Any crazy and terrible tour stories?
CASEY: We did a couple tours in Europe because a rich guy in France paid for us to go. We did dive bars and small clubs, which in Europe are full of sweaty drunken Europeans, which in general I like, but not in southern Germany. Everyone's nice until you start getting loud and distorted. We would churn out a wall of noise for a bit and they'd think they were at a Rammstein concert or some industrial shit. I got a black eye after a show in Stuttgart, from a huge woman and thought that was pretty bad. We played in Munich two days later and I actually
got my ass kicked. Brad was like, "Dude, this is where the Beatles started!" and I was like, "I just got my ass kicked you fucker!"

BRAD: Yeah, but the Beatles got their asses kicked in Germany, too, and you saw where that got em!

CASEY: Got Stu Sutcliffe a terminal brain embolism.

What’s your take on the local music scene in Columbia Heights and DC?
CASEY: It's small so bands work hard to get what another city would provide more easily, such as a small artsy town. I'm from a part of NY near Ithaca and the Finger Lakes where there are *only* small cities. These places are designed so you get to know other people. Being aware of everything is possible. Ithaca has a thriving music scene, but it's like a tenth of DC's size. I will say that being hooked into the net gives unbelievable access to any kid in a rural shit-town who makes a brilliant record in his basement. Anything that can disseminate art and ideas like that, we don't even know the potential yet. Not even close.

And if you had to rename your band for something in Columbia Heights, what would it be?

BRAD: Wonderball 11


  1. Where the heck is Crab's Claw in Mount Pleasant?

  2. Crab's Claw is a periodic house party/band show in MP...

  3. I really like 'Octopus Klap'(sp?). What's the new record called?

  4. No name yet. Still early goings.


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