The best music comes from people who have something to say. A lot of the time, the things that these musicians want to say aren’t easily digestible. The whole “tortured artist” cliché exists for a reason after all; art in its purest form is the expression of emotion and the most prevalent emotions in the world’s best art are misery, melancholy and malevolence. This is a bit more high brow than a regular introduction to Grind My Gears, I know, but this week’s artist performs with a fervor and ferocity that draws from the most vile of mistreatment. The subject matter of mothmother‘s devastating debut \ˈpe-sə-ˌmi-zəm\ isn’t light, so be warned.
\ˈpe-sə-ˌmi-zəm\ arrives with it’s own warning that the material within could potentially be triggering for survivors of sexual assault. The lyrics are delivered in a gut wrenching, raw manner, one befitting the subject itself. This isn’t a case of someone putting a show for the benefit of their fans or for the studio takes. mothmother are fronted by someone with the mental and physical capacity to deliver a message that most can’t bear to think about, let alone discuss. The language is direct and incredibly blunt with not a single word wasted. If you feel uncomfortable reading the lyrics then don’t worry. From an outside perspective, \ˈpe-sə-ˌmi-zəm\ and it’s message is a harsh reminder of the kind of atrocity that a human can commit upon another. mothmother don’t just fall back on their own message though, with proceeds of this record going to People Against Rape, a charity that helps provide and look after the survivors of sexual assault. This isn’t vapid, success seeking music.
Behind the vocals and message being delivered is some of the most stellar, doom laden grind I’ve heard in a long time. Much like their Carolina neighbours WVRM, mothmother utilise lengthier tracks to destroy, erase and create atmosphere within the confines of death, sludge and grind. It’s the darkest powerviolence display around. A million miles from the brutish riffs that Nails have become famous for, “Pressure” and “Taken” deliver coarse blasts and feedback in abundance, always threatening to unhinge entirely. The doom and sludge is just as engaging, with dirty bass tones growling under panicked, stabbed chords in “Dominate”, picking apart genres in the space of one track. The violence and cacophony is interspersed with shrill white noise and samples without ever relying on them, instead adding further layers of unease into the mix. \ˈpe-sə-ˌmi-zəm\ is a full force offering from a young band with an ear for the harshest, darkest noises; emotion driving art in it’s purest form. Listen to the deranged, detuned chaos of “Brave” and tell me this isn’t the most hostile thing you’ve heard this week.
mothmother took some time to give us a more insightful look into \ˈpe-sə-ˌmi-zəm\, where it comes from and what they hope to achieve with its release.
\ˈpe-sə-ˌmi-zəm\ carries some heavy personal themes and a very pointed message with lyrics that are fairly distressing and raw. I get a feeling like these words needed to be shared and that it could be therapeutic in a way. Am I anywhere near the mark or totally off target with this?
Cera (vocals): I would say you’re very much on the mark. Though the perspectives expressed throughout the album are often overlooked and can be difficult to speak about, it’s a tragedy and burden that myself and many others relate to. I took the opportunity to create a musical outlet and provide a voice for myself and those others affected
It’s fantastic that proceeds of your sales go towards a great charity but as we all know, sometimes that isn’t enough. What do you think people on the fringes of the all encompassing grind scene (powerviolence freaks, crust fiends etc) can do to help push this type of messages and others like it (anti fascism, racism intolerance) to make more of an impact?
C: With the vast majority of these organizations, such as PAR, being underfunded, nonprofit, or donation-based, any positive contribution, donation, and support is appreciated. We want individuals to become involved in their community and the movements that support the means of progressing towards a more open-minded and less conservative future. Everyone has a voice with which they can educate, express support of their community, and speak out against means of oppression and hatred.
What brings mothmother together when it comes to physically creating the music? Is there a shared end objective or is it more of a natural process of evolution in song writing and idea sharing within the band?
mothmother: From the start, it’s been a very natural process. With our shared influences, individual creative contributions, and overall ambition towards this band, we’ve been able to create something we’re all very much proud of with ease. Each of our music tastes and past musical experiences differs from one another and it really influences how each of us contributes our parts. We’ve been able to create a writing environment that fosters creativity, flexibility and a strong chemistry. What usually will happen is that one of us will come to the table with a single idea — and then it just flourishes from there.
There’s been a surge of fresh grind/violence acts popping up in the last couple of years, with a lot of this great new noise coming from the Carolinas as well as across the country. What is it about living in the States that you think is inspiring young people to smash their instruments and vocal chords in this manner? Why are people Grinding Against Trump and using violent music to push non violent agendas?
mothmother: It’s a genre of aggressively noisy music accompanied by violently passionate perspectives, whether they are expression of personal turmoil or political views. There are those drawn in either by the sound, message, or both. Many of those drawn in have been inspired to create their own means of violent musical expression to state and promote their ideals. Over our lifetimes we’ve all experienced and/or seen discrimination, oppression, and suffering whether it be due to lack of education, systematic flaws, apathy, etc. Bringing issues to light that are swept under the rug by the majority of the US and educating those individuals is important and it’s evident that there is a new wave of noise in the US that aims to do just that.