With their debut, ‘I Don’t Want You To Worry Anymore,’ out at the end of this week it was only fitting that we talk about all things music with Mothé. A constant in the LA music scene, Mothé has toured with The Wrecks, but took advantage of the negative over the past couple of years by focusing on the things they hadn’t had time to before. That’s where we started this back and forth but as things moved forward we got into loneliness, the ‘70s, and more.
Kendra: Navigating the LA music scene on any given day is hard, but add a whole pandemic on top of that…wild. Did you find yourself ever thinking that touring or even playing local was going to be gone for longer than it was?
Mothé: The day everything shut down in America I was about to get in the van and leave for a two-month long tour. It was absolutely terrifying to just see my whole little world dissolve the way it did, and I remember talking to friends while the timeline for the virus went from two weeks to six months and so on.
I was looking around thinking I was going to have to find a new way to make a living, touring was something I’d been doing for the last five years in various projects and capacities, and ended up really cherishing the break though. I didn’t think touring was coming back for quite some time and it forced my hand into learning more in the studio. When everything shut down I was good at playing live but I wasn’t so good in the studio and it gave me two years to sit down and understand recorded music better.
Now I’m able to produce my own records as well as other artist’s records which has been a real treat for repositioning my relationship with music as a whole. I am missing playing shows though. It’s been so long and I think I’ve only played three shows with this project so it’s what I’m most looking forward to now that touring is available to us.
Kendra: The past couple of years knocked the wind out of many of us but it seems like you’ve kept the wheels turning in your head, releasing new music throughout. One song in particular between then and now being “It’s Okay to be Lonely.” As someone who just moved outta California and has made zero friends, do you have any advice on finding solace during the lonelier moments?
Mothé: I wish I had any real advice, I wrote that song because I’m really quite bad at spending time alone. It is something I end up doing a lot though; I have no bandmates or coworkers and I keep a unique schedule so it’s hard to find people who are completely able to hang out with me. Being alone tends to make everything go by a lot faster so I would make real attempts at slowing down. Take an extra three seconds on everything you look at, everything you eat, everything you do. There is quite a bit you miss when you’re stuck in your head.
Kendra: Now let’s focus on the new, like your April release, ‘I Don’t Want You To Worry Anymore.’ Was there any emotion that took the lead role when it came time to write and record, and were there any others that acted as the supporting cast?
Mothé: The emotion that takes the spotlight on this album is empathy, mostly towards myself. This was the ending of a chapter in my life of self-destruction and instability. When it was time to make this album I spent most of the writing time accounting moments of fear and moments of embarrassment, so when I found the title ‘I Don’t Want You To Worry Anymore’ it felt like closing the chapter on that part of my life.
In a lot of ways it did become the start of a new era. I got sober after this album and found myself among new friends in a new city, and it was helpful to have the album for reflection. It felt important to close the album with the last track which is called “Everyone is Everything”. The song simply states that we all have to feel what we do to each other, and most mourning for the world at this point is collective. The track ends with a long and loud ambience, acting as a blanket of sound, which to me really summed up the purpose of writing the album.
Kendra: When I look at you, I get this very ‘70s aesthetic. Which I love. It’s the one modern decade I wish I could’ve experienced firsthand. Are you someone that likes to pull from the past, or are you more about looking forward for inspiration?
Mothé: The ‘70s thing is honestly a total accident. I just stopped being able to afford haircuts at some point and it all spiraled from there. I’m a really big fan of analog recording which I think innately leaves me pulling from the past, but I’m always trying to write modern songs and use sounds people couldn’t back then. To commit entirely to either feels boring and contrived to me, so I’m basically trying to write a song as good as Lorde and then finish it up with the soft sounds of vintage recordings.
I don’t understand computers that well and have a sort of object impermanence with digital things in folders, so it’s much easier to see it all in front of me. I prefer to capture a moment that actually happened in a room rather than recreate the feeling in the computer. But for me, that’s just because that’s the magic of music. I really love being surrounded by all the frequencies and will do anything to experience it in real life, or have a moment you can’t recreate so you have to be there for it.
Kendra: Speaking of inspiration, I noticed you showing love to bands like Turnstile and Every Time I Die. Did you grow up decked out in Hot Topic clothing and spending your summer at Warped Tour?
Mothé: I absolutely did, I was first introduced to alternative music through The Flaming Lips live, and then somehow found my way to Warped Tour while seeking more live music. I remember being a kid and pretending to not like screaming because I didn’t want people to think I was weird, but I was super about it, and still love the bands in the alternative genre that pushed the boundaries, like The Chariot, Deafheaven, and I Hate Sex, but it isn’t something I listen to as often anymore.
I grew up working for a promotion agency that booked all the metal tours and those shows were always just so fun and exciting. The most recent heavier band I’ve enjoyed is Idles, I got to see them recently at The Fonda and it really brought me back to life at a time when I was feeling stale about music.
Kendra: Time to take a step away for a moment…April is my favorite month not because of Easter, but the candy and treats. Plus, rabbits are one of my favorite animals. Anyways, if you could have a holiday basket filled with your favorite sweet treat and an album that you live for, what would they be?
Mothé: April is a fun month, I love the spring. I don’t eat too many sweets, maybe a nice dark chocolate would be ideal. As far as an album goes it would be nice to have a copy of the new FKA Twigs album, she’s really a wonderful artist.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘I Don’t Want You To Worry Anymore’ out April 8th, what else can fans both new and old expect from you during these spring months?
Mothé: Hopefully a lot of chaos. I am so excited about getting this released. I believe we’re throwing a party for it and announcing some real Mothé shows for the first time so I can’t wait to get out and play these songs live. It’s going to be such a treat to finally see these songs interact in the real world. Maybe a thirst trap, who knows.