Photo Credit: Rachel Filler
In early June Los Angeles’ Momma dropped their latest, ‘Two of Me.’ An exploration of morality, youth and more we talked about the thematics, how they have utilized what they can while apart, and the future of the band – even with the uncertainty of the world lingering.
Kendra: This year we’ve had to get used to the idea of creating apart, but that’s something that isn’t new to you. Etta and Allegra, you two were over a thousand miles away from one another while in college but still managed to make music together. Then and now, technology has aided all of us in this unique gift that even 10 years ago may not have been possible. What tech tool helped the two of you most? Was it the ability to Skype, text, email new material – all of the above?
Momma: Honestly Voice Memos has seemed to be the most productive way of communicating our musical ideas. We’ve tried to do FaceTime writing sessions in the past, but the lag makes it super difficult. Our main tool is sending each other Voice Memos of little guitar parts or melodies.
Kendra: Now we have your 2020 release, ‘Two of Me,’ out now. On it, you explore morality, youth, and punishment. Do those ideas ever overlap? Like youth being a punishment in that, on one hand, you have the rest of your life ahead of you but, at this particular moment, you’re not seen as someone “able” to make decisions because of what some may call “inexperience?”
Momma: Morality, youth and punishment overlap on this record, but not necessarily in the way that youth is a punishment. In fact, we tend to embrace themes of youth in our lyrics – for instance, in “Double Dare,” we write about two lovers driving in a car together on their way to a county fair. To us, we see youth as a really important moment of understanding what one’s own moral code is. Morality, youth and punishment are all universal experiences. The characters that we write about on this album come from different age groups and backgrounds, but definitely reflect Momma’s personal experiences of growth and learning a sense of self.
Kendra: You describe “The Bug House” as this sort of “purgatory hell.” Purgatory is one of the most interesting aspects of afterlife theories to me. Did “The Bug House” come from a spiritual mindset?
Momma: In a way, “The Bug House” is a bit spiritual, but it’s not rooted in any specific belief system. The two of us are fascinated in the way that purgatory can represent a state of stillness. What separates “The Bug House” from common theories of purgatory is that it’s not necessarily an afterlife – it’s where people get sentenced to live out the rest of their existence.
Kendra: What interested me about “Biohazard” is that it’s about this person with a sort of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde thing going on, but it seemed universal in so many ways as we’re all always putting on various masks and personas depending on who we’re with or where we are. Why do you feel people find it so important to wear the right “mask” in life?
Momma: Putting on a mask is really just a way to make other people feel comfortable. When you put on a mask, you’re just projecting ideas of what other people expect you to be, and how they expect you to behave. In “Biohazard” specifically, this character switches between two different identities, but isn’t necessarily aware that the other side of themself exists. So, generally speaking, putting on a mask in public is performative for a lot of people – but in “Biohazard,” this character doesn’t have a choice.
Kendra: Momma was supposed to perform at SXSW this year for the first time but, well, the world had other plans. Do you have plans to try again in 2021 if things are back to the new normal then?
Momma: Definitely. We are already talking about touring in 2021. It’s been hard to make plans with set dates, because the fate of the world is still so uncertain. But playing shows and touring is our number one priority, when it starts to feel safe again.
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. You can go ahead and let us know what you have tentatively planned but can you also share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
Momma: Right now we’re trying to work on a third album. We’ve been writing and demoing new songs with our drummer Zach, as well as our friend Aron, who produced Two of Me.