OD – With reference to the many styles of influence in Mother Mooch, would it be possible to describe the heart of the band’s sound and any major influences that have helped to form the true ethos of the music?
Sid – Well, Ferl and I have been mates for around 15 years and bonded over our love of Sabbath, Kyuss, The Stooges and QotSA. I love the sound of Amber Webber and Steve McBean from Black Mountain’s voices together, so that’s how we started looking for a female singer when we started the band. Throw in some Alice in Chains and Nirvana too, and everything from The Cure to Corrosion of Conformity. Mark Lanegan, Mazzy Star, Monster Magnet, Faith No More, Dead Meadow and Sonic Youth also. Desert Sessions are some of our favourite albums. Chloë loves The Doors, Danni loves John Bonham and Dave Grohl, Farl’s a big Krautrock fan and there’s some shoegaze in there too. Basically, we all just play whatever we want to play and whatever fits the song we’re doing.
Chloë – Yeah, I think our main common influence has always been Queens of the Stone Age, but it’s the multifarious range of influences that each of us brings to the table that makes us sound the way we do and makes us so difficult to define. If I had to put us in an already established category, I’d say we lean most towards grunge at the heart of things. But even that isn’t quite right. Whatever it is, it seems to work anyway.
OD – Ireland is such a small territory when compared to the other countries, however, our underground heavy music scene is blossoming with some fantastic bands. From your perspective, do you find that the Irish doom / stoner collective is in a good place or would you like to see more progression over the next few years?
Sid – Yeah, it’s a pretty small population compared to other countries too, though, but I’ve been around the Dublin metal scene for a long time and I honestly think that Ireland, as a whole, is producing some really great bands at the moment; right across the whole metal/rock spectrum. There’s obviously a huge market for stoner, doom, sludge, psych or whatever you want to call it throughout Europe and the rest of the world and there’s a load of Irish bands who are making a mark right now. Obviously, Slomatics are really doing well at the moment and it’s taken them over a decade to get where they are. Mourning Beloveth is probably the biggest doom band to ever come out of the country and you’ve got bands like Weed Priest, Dread Sovereign, Electric Taurus and Two Tales of Woe, who are well known outside Ireland.
Mother Mooch, zhOra, Venus Sleeps and Wild Rocket, are getting there too and then there’s Ten Ton Slug, who are really doing well after winning the Bloodstock Ireland competition this year and are really raising some eyebrows in the UK. Elder Druid and Between The Lines are bands I really dig, The Magnapinna, Partholón, Soothsayer, Harvester… I could probably name another twenty quality bands off the top of my head. In terms of progression, we really need to start working together to get gigs outside the country too, but there are plans in place to do just that. We’ve been making good connections and friendships with a lot of bands who are willing to put in the hard work and hopefully we can all help each other out.
OD – Following the release of the album on vinyl, will you be making plans for a tour of any description be it in Ireland, UK or mainland Europe?
Sid – We’ve got our first ever European shows next month, one in Netherlands and one in Belgium and we’re planning to get over to the UK in the early part of next year and hopefully take it from there. We’re 100% DIY so we pay for everything ourselves and then you have jobs, college, mortgages and family responsibilities to factor in, but we’re getting there slowly but surely. We’ve got people all over the world listening to our music, so we know people dig what we’re doing.
OD – ‘Hive Mind’ was released this past June with a fantastic video. Will we be seeing any other single / video releases in the near future?
Chloë – Thanks, it is a fantastic video! Shannon Moncrief did an excellent job directing it and Philip Blake is a master cinematographer. I’d say we’ll wait until the next album to do another video of that calibre but Danni’s currently working on editing live footage of us, so there might be a live video or two before then.
Sid – We had loads of fun making the video. We had a hand in every stage from conception to production to post-production and we’re incredibly proud of how it turned out. We would love to make loads more videos of that quality in the future. Again, though, we paid for it all ourselves – with no financial support and no record label… so it’s a matter of prioritising how we spend our money.
OD – The title of the album Nocturnes, can you give an explanation behind the title?
Sid – It’s kind of a multi-faceted thing. Mother Mooch comes from a misheard lyric in ‘Symptom of The Universe’ and to me, she’s always been some kind of space goddess and there’s also the fact that we’re a bunch of comic book and sci-fi nerds. We’d originally planned on releasing an album called “Preludes”, which turned into an EP, so as a tip of the hat to Neil Gaiman’s ‘Sandman’ comics, we ended up calling the EP Preludes and the album Nocturnes, which in the grander scheme of things fits perfectly ‘cos a “Nocturne” is the term for a piece of music inspired by night time, which is pretty much all of our songs, but more importantly it comes full circle, because Mr. Gaiman was tipping his own hat to Frédéric Chopin when he named the first Sandman collection Preludes and Nocturnes.
Comics also bring us to the amazing cover art from Emmet Mulligan, who we gave a crappy sketch, to and asked for a cross between Jack Kirby and Alphonse Mucha and he put a lot of time and energy into producing a truly wonderful album cover. We love it!
Chloë – There’s also an amazing live album by Siouxsie & The Banshees called “Nocturne” and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have a studio album called “Nocturama” that I love, so I’ve always thought of it as a bit of a nod to them too. We seem to be following in a grand tradition of night music in the best possible company.
OD – Bearing in mind that the debut only came out earlier this year, has there been any new music / ideas in the works?
Sid – Yeah man, we’ve got a bunch of new songs we’re working on right now. Just after the album came out, Barry who played bass, left the band and then Farl had a baby in January, so we were out of action for the first couple of months of this year. Léon joined us in April and we started rehearsing the album songs with him first so we could get him gig ready and then we did a little mini tour of Ireland with the boys in Ten Ton Slug ,which included a couple of new songs in our set and now we’re in full-on writing mode, with an eye on demoing songs in January and taking it from there.
Chloë – We already have the title for our next album and three songs completely finished for it, plus a load of half finished riffs and melodies that we’re currently working on. Anytime we just let loose and jam things for fun, we seem to come up with something new, so there’s a lot to go back over and pick and choose from. One of the songs for the new album is actually about 5 years old but we kept tweaking it until we were all happy with it and now it’s one of our best.
OD – Finally, are there any plans for 2017?
Sid – So far our plan is to get busy on album number two and play some gigs in the U.K. in the early part of the year. Once we have that in the bag, then we’ll start working on plans to do a proper tour around Europe in the summer.
Chloë – World domination (laughing)! Oh, you meant band plans? Yeah, what Sid said. Disregard that first bit… (laughing)
With Mother Mooch’s debut album available now, earlier this week (October 24th) it was finally released on a limited vinyl pressing, which you can order from this link. In celebration of this, Overdrive wanted to get under the skin of Nocturnes, with a breakdown of each track from the album.
1. This Tempest
Sid – The verse riff for ‘This Tempest’ is something I wrote about ten or fifteen years ago and it was something I’d always jam with other riffs but nothing ever really suited it until one Saturday morning I was messing about with it and ended up coming up with the rest of the riffs and pretty much brought the finished structure into rehearsals.
Chloë – I wrote the lyrics loosely based on the play “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare, however the title of the track originated from the brand of hand-dryer in the bathrooms of Temple Lane studios; where we rehearse. I asked Sid to give the music a title before I’d written the lyrics, so it was easier to find among the recordings we’d made on various phones and devices and he inadvertently named it after the dryer because he’d just used it and had seen “Tempest” emblazoned on its side. He realised about twenty minutes later that that was where he’d seen it and we all had a good laugh, but the title fitted the music so well that it didn’t matter. Just goes to show that inspiration can strike you anywhere.
Chloë – ‘Sinners’ is a track about serial killers. I suppose the title is fairly self-evident once you know that. I had been half watching some documentary while I was writing it and it filtered into my consciousness. That often happens with books I’ve been reading or films I’ve watched or things I’ve seen on TV, or in the news. Sometimes the shape of the narrative becomes more apparent when the lyrics are closer to being finished and then you can step back and look at where it came from. I rarely set out to write a specific story with my lyrics, I tailor them to the music and what I think suits the feel of that particular song.
Sid – It’s the oldest song on the album and it’s the second song that we wrote together as Mother Mooch. Farl had home recorded a demo of this song, just before Chloë joined the band in early 2011 and then she wrote the lyrics once she joined. It’s evolved a lot since then and it’s much, much faster now than it used to be. The version on our Preludes EP is a lot slower, but I think with the faster tempo on the album; it actually works much better. We play everything faster live anyway!
3. My Song 21
Chloë – ‘My Song 21’ got its name from the program it was recorded on, that was the order it came out in and we left it because we liked it. It’s about Robert DeNiro’s character in Scorsese’s, Cape Fear – Max Cady.
Sid – Chloë wanted a three-minute punk song, so I wrote her a two and a half minute one instead. I was probably listening to Misfits that day. (laughs)
4. Into The Water
Sid – “Into The Water” was one of those rare ones that we wrote in 20 minutes and is probably the second oldest song on the album. The previous week in rehearsals, Farl was messing around with a ring modulator effect and jammed out some riffs and at the very end he played what would end up as the chorus riff for ‘Into The Water’, so we stopped recording and got him to record the riff again on its own and the following week we decided to try and tease a song out of it. I came up with a real heavy Electric Wizard type descending riff, which Farl then turned into that beautiful finger-picked arpeggio thing he plays for the verses and I took the Electric Wizard type riff and made it a bit more dynamic for the bridge and Farl banged out a savage bluesy solo, while our old drummer Mateusz, started the snare build into the double time ending and hey presto, song done!
Chloë – It’s about something that happened many years ago that doesn’t really hurt anymore. Time is a wonderful thing.
Chloë – ‘L.H.O.O.Q.’ references a piece of artwork by Marcel Duchamp of a postcard of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, that he drew a moustache and beard on. It’s all about people taking themselves too seriously and is the only song we have with a line in another language (so far) – there’s a part of the song that mentions something Mona Lisa is thinking about and I figured she’d be thinking in Italian so I translated it. It’s one of my favourites to do live.
Sid – ‘Misery Hill’ is the newest song on the album and quite possibly my favourite of our songs to date. It’s named after a street in Dublin, which I discovered years back, thought it was fuckin’ cool and looked it up. Turns out that it got its name because that’s where the corpses of those executed at Gallows Hill near Baggot Street were strung up to rot; as a warning to others, also in the 13th century it was used as a leper colony. Back then the Liffey (Dublin’s main river) hadn’t been walled in and the water came all the way up to Townsend Street.
Chloë – It’s about the fight, and the story surrounding it, between Oberyn Martell and Gregor Clegane in A Storm of Swords by G.R.R. Martin. The history of the street it’s named for, ties in nicely with the imagery of the battle and geography of King’s Landing, fictional though it may be, where it took place.
Sid – There’s two solos on there, one from each of us. I play the first one and it’s by far the solo I’m most proud of, and then Farl listened to a recording of what I was playing and reworked it for the first part of his solo. Class! Gary added the flange to my guitar at the end of the song, and I liked it so much I went out and bought a flange pedal.
7. Hive Mind
Chloë – ‘Hive Mind’ is a dark song about a difficult subject. There were a lot of stories coming out about abuses in the Church, when I was writing it which I found very affecting: the idea of vulnerable people with no voice being, preyed on by powerful men, who held dominion over their communities deeply saddens and disgusts me. It goes against everything they were supposed to stand for! To betray those that most needed their protection. So the lyrics focus on those worst aspects of control in institutional religion and the sense of condemnation that the victims must have felt when they first came forward for what would have been seen as upsetting the balance of things.
8. Out on the Western Plain
Sid – A couple of years back we were invited to play at a gig called Rory Gallagher Re-Worked, where five bands were asked to perform their own takes on three of Rory’s songs. Chloë wanted to do, Out On The Western Plain and we didn’t know what to do with it really and then one drunken Friday night Karl, (one of our many previous bass players) started playing this kinda post-punk sounding bass line and Danni jumped straight in and the rest of us started making weird noises. There’s a nod of the head to Alice In Chains’ in the lead I play throughout the song and the technical term for the weird shit you can hear in the breakdown is “space helicopter”! True story.
Chloë – We loved our version so much that it got to stay in our set list and then found its way onto the album. It’s always difficult to follow a version of a song that’s so revered with one of your own, but we’ve gotten the approval of many a die-hard Rory Gallagher and Lead Belly fan for ours and that’s the highest praise you could hope to get.
Mother Mooch Nocturnes is out now and available from iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp. For the limited edition vinyl, click on the graphic link below or simply visit Krauted Mind Records on this link.
© OVERDRIVE 2016
Band Photography – Down The Barrel Photography © 2016