The New Brunswick band ends their Canadian tour at POP Montreal
Motherhood: a soft, nurturing and beautiful word. It is also the name of a gritty, dark, industrial rock band. From New Brunswick, Motherhood has been touring across Canada since the end of August to promote their most recent album Baby Teeth, which was released this past summer. They performed in Montreal on Sept. 23 for POP Montreal’s music festival.
Brydon Crain, is the lead singer, guitarist and vox player; Adam Sipkema sings backup vocals, plays the percussions and vox; Penelope Stevens sings, plays the bass, organ, synthesizer and vox. The bandmates go way back. Crain and Sipkema went to high school together, then moved to Fredericton where they met Stevens. The band formed in 2010.“Fredericton influenced us in a major way lyrically. We write as if no one pays attention to it. There are no expectations of what a band should sound like from Fredericton,” said Crain. The lack of expectations has led them to bend the rules and become a more experimental band.“We’re more about the concept behind the music and not the genre. We mess around with ideas. If they sound cool, we use it,” said Crain. Motherhood is a mixture of punk, blues and country sounds. They are also influenced by bands from various genres. “We all like Dear Rouge, Captain Beefheart and Death Grips,” said Crain.
Their recent album, Baby Teeth, expresses their anger and emotions towards various issues. Their song “Greed” is about the negative impacts of consumerism. Even though a lot of the lyrical content isn’t very happy, Crain’s goal is for people to think their music is interesting.“The lyrics are stories from the different universe that I write in. For this album, we practiced twice a week and came up with ideas. We basically banged our heads against the wall until we found something we all liked,” said Crain.Overall, Baby Teeth is about being from New Brunswick. “It’s a mix about being happy about New Brunswick but also being frustrated because there’s a lot of shitty stuff going on there which is affecting being there right now,” said Crain.
Everyone contributes the same amount of work to the band’s creative process. This is something that Crain said he loves most about Motherhood. “Both my bandmates have musical brains,” he said. “They are always ready to hear my floppy ideas. Adam plays drums unlike any other. Penny is good with harmonies and has more of a technical background, which is very helpful to the songwriting process.”
Motherhood has performed in Montreal a few times before with local band Smokes. They also brought a music festival from Fredericton to Montreal called the Shifty Bits Cult. They called the Montreal version of the festival the Shifty Bits Circus.“We chose Montreal because of the city’s hard-working people in the music scene. It was a good mix of New Brunswick and Montreal bands,” said Crain.
The band’s performance at POP Montreal took place at O Patro Vys bar. Catriona Sturton, an indie-rock and blues singer-songwriter from Ottawa, opened for Motherhood. Her deep bluesy voice, along with her harmonica playing, gave the performance a folk-rockish feel. She also mixed in her sense of humour, throwing in jokes between her songs that got the whole audience chuckling. Her charisma on stage was undeniable. When Motherhood took center stage, Sturton joined in for their two first songs and rocked it.
Motherhood’s music sounds all the better live. Their rough guitar riffs, industrial sounds and screeching voices are greatly intensified when they hit the stage. Their song “Twosies” is meant to be heard at maximum volume. The trio gave it their all on POP Montreal’s stage.“I love to perform live. It’s a chance to act crazy, scream, do things that I’m not aloud to do in normal life. When the show is good, I’ll come off stage not remembering what happened. I’d just be like, wow, that was so much fun,” said Crain. The band has been touring with Little You, Little Me, who also played later that night. “Little You, Little Me are more rock and roll, and heavier than us. Their influences come from a lot of different places in rock,” said Crain.
Motherhood had a piece of advice for any musicians planning on touring across Canada: “Bring a good book—Canada is huge.”