An Interview With “Mothers” At Lollapalooza 2016
One of the things that I loved the most about Lollapalooza is how the festival allowed me to see so many of my favorite bands over the course of one long weekend. BUT in addition to that, I also loved how the festival gave me a chance to discover many talented bands that I may not have discovered on my own. That’s how I came across the band Mothers!
I came across the band and their music, when I saw their name listed on the 2016 Lolla lineup. Mothers is an indie-folk band from Athens, Georgia which consists of four incredible musicians: Kristine Leschper, Matthew Anderegg, Drew Kirby, and Patrick Morales. After hearing Kristine’s delicate voice and really getting to experience the band’s intimate tunes live at Lolla, I haven’t been able to stop listening to their songs. Check out my interview with the band below!
Photo by Shervin Lainez
Pearl: How did you guys first meet?
Kristine: Me, Matt, and Drew were living in Athens [Georgia]. We were in school at the time and we were sort of all playing in different projects. I was playing as a solo act. Matt and Drew were actually playing in another band together. So we kind of just met through the Athens music scene. We started playing shows together and just sort of hit it off.
Drew: Me and Matt started playing music together when we were still teenagers and just got into Athens to go to school. We played in bands growing up, but just kind of coalesced around on this project after we met Kristine and done a lot of shows together.
Where did the band name “Mothers” come from?
Kristine: I was studying visual art at the time I named the project. I was making a lot of work about animals and nature and their nesting patterns. I was specifically very interested in rabbits because I had two pet rabbits at the time. And I had been reading about how when rabbits prepare to give birth, they start pulling all of their fur out from their chest area with their teeth and then they make a nest area for their young. And I just thought that was a beautiful metaphor for creation – like the tragedy of making something and putting so much of yourself into something that you make. So I started to relate that to being the mother or the creator of the songs and the music that you put out into the world.
Have you always balanced between both visual art and music?
Kristine: Not always. I definitely got into both of them at the same time, which is sort of a struggle because I was in art school as I was discovering music. One kind of led me to the other because as I was studying art, I started to feel empowered and like I had some things to say. Or maybe I wanted to express myself more than I was when I started making visual art. And so that kind of led me to this other form of expression – playing music.
Music sort of happened for me because of visual art and because of my interest in that. But it is always hard to balance that. Especially being on tour a lot, it’s hard to make time for the visual work. So it kind of flip flops in between. If we have time off, I’m able to make more visual stuff and vice versa.
How did you transfer your process of expression from visual art into music?
Kristine: Visual art often starts out for me as an idea in text form – like a writing piece or something that I thematically have written down; sort of like what I want to obtain by making the piece [and] what it’s about. So usually it starts that way rather than just going into the drawing of it. It’s very calculated. So music has been sort of the same way where it always starts out with a written idea. It starts out as written text for me and then that’s just kind of expanded upon throughout the process of hashing out the melodic ideas of the song. But they sort of start the same way. There’s always a theme or something that I’ve written that’s the starting point.
And how does the rest of the composition come together?
Kristine: It usually starts out with an idea that I’ve been working with. Then the rest of us get together in a room and play it over and over again until it starts to make sense. And it sort of grows from there.
Mothers at Lolla 2016 (Photo by me)
What has it been like to release your first album and touring with it?
Kristine: It’s been amazing. I think that this whole year of touring has been incredibly successful for us in a sense that people have been at our shows and we’ve met some amazing people. It’s cool that enough people are interested in what we’re doing to help us keep doing it sustainably. That’s been sort of surprising, I think, to us and really amazing to be a part of.
Drew: [It’s been] surreal, I guess, but in a way that drives us to try and do a lot better because we have a pretty amazing chance to do that – to really throw ourselves and our lives into this project.
And what has it been like to see so many people interested in what you’re doing and getting your vibe?
Kristine: Pretty weird and honestly, kind of humbling in a weird way. Personally, I find that [when I put out an idea] I sort of nitpick it and question it. It sort of makes me analyze what I put out more – like why is this getting attention, what did I do here, how did this happen? So it’s really a humbling experience for me, maybe for all of us.
Drew: I think it’s weird for sure. I also think that we don’t think about it very much because we really only see the people in front of us at shows or that we’re talking to. So past that, it’s [something] that we don’t pay a lot of attention to. But it can be comforting because it means that we get to try crazier and crazier things because they responded to the initial ideas of the project.
You guys have been playing both a ton of festivals and concerts! Do you guys have a bigger preference toward one more than the other?
Kristine: I definitely love small venues – like small club shows with a hundred people in a room that’s dimly lit and smells kinda weird.
Drew: But the sound is great somehow.
Kristine: Those are always the ones that are the most fun. That being said, I feel really lucky to have been able to play festivals this year. I didn’t really expect for us to be here. It’s amazing, but we’ll always prefer the vibe of small, kind of lousy club shows
Drew: The intimacy is definitely the big key thing that gets lost at festivals, but it’s an interesting experience in and of itself and we’re lucky enough to do it.
Check out Mothers’ mesmerizing Tiny Desk NPR performance below! And if you want to check out my Lolla interview with the band Dreamers, you can click here!