Turns out that the US does not take after Las Vegas, because what ultimately happens here does not stay here. The circus known as our leadership spilled over to our neighbors of the north to influence one of the singles from ‘Train of Thought,’ the October 28th release from Mother Sun. We talked not only about “Orange Colossus’ but also Nintendo tunes, train adventures, and more in this back-and-forth exchange.
Kendra: It’s been a few years since you dropped your 2019 debut LP, ‘Caramel Clouds,’ and in that time you’ve dished out a lot more material. Looking back on that record and at 2022’s ‘Train of Thought’ how do you feel you’ve grown as lyricists?
Mother Sun: I think the ‘Train of Thought’ songs are more focused lyrically than some of the earlier ones. ‘Caramel Clouds’ we were still figuring out what kind of songs we wanted to write and the lyrics were maybe a bit more abstract, not as thematically connected. With the new album, a lot of the songs are about the mental burnout of modern life while being overloaded with information, and each song is sort of focused on an individual aspect of that existential dread. During the slower pace of life during the pandemic, I was writing more about plants and the natural world which turned into a few singles from last year; “Marbles” and “Mycelium” and some newer songs we’ve yet to release. We write pretty constantly so aside from that I think the growth comes from writing in new ways and being more intentional about how the words interact with the music.
Kendra: Now let’s talk about one of your most recent singles, “Orange Colossus.” It feels very timely and I could see how the past couple of years would have influenced this song about how when frustrations linger they can turn into hate. You’re a Canadian-based band, but I can’t help but think that orange and the idea of hate is very much American…am I on the right track?
Mother Sun: Being so close to the US a lot of cultural influence spills over into Canada through news, politics, and media for sure. In the past few years, things have felt particularly tense, and it feels like a lot of people are increasingly willing to aim their contempt at the most convenient enemy without much thought. There’s a lot of space for understanding and empathy that’s lost when the mentality is always us vs them; the “Orange Colossus.” In the song is a personification of that willful ignorance and how the recognition of it can be an opportunity to fill that space and try to understand one another.
Kendra: On a lighter note, before you served up “Orange Colossus” we got to hear “Webbed Feet.” It has this sort of big band intro to it that I enjoyed. With that, what Super Nintendo game do you think “Webbed Feet” would fit best in and why?
Mother Sun: Love this question. One Super Nintendo game I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is ‘EVO: The Search for Eden.’ I used to play as a kid, you start as a fish and evolve your organism into an amphibian, reptile, dinosaur, mammal, and eventually human; so lyrically that one comes to mind. The horns part in that song has that triumphant battle victory vibe from something like ‘Final Fantasy’ or ‘Chrono Trigger’ I think too.
Kendra: All of the above can be heard on ‘Train of Thought,’ out on October 28th. The record got me thinking, if this train was an actual one – based on the record as a whole, where do you feel the destination would be?
Mother Sun: First I gotta talk about the journey – I think the train would kind of cruise along a river for a while, past some farms and mountains and forests, as the sun goes down entering a bustling city at night after that. In the city it would lurch underground through a subway for a while, which actually turns into a glass underwater passageway, angling gradually upwards and then the train emerges out of the tunnel on this beautiful tropical beach! but then a storm cloud comes in and there’s like smoke and fire all around out of NOWHERE.
Then it’s pretty much smoke for a while and it gets super thick and you can’t see where you’re going but you’re chilling in the air conditioning of the train car and the train’s on the tracks so it’s not really a problem. The smoke finally starts to thin and you can now see the train is very high alongside the edge of a cliff beside a deep rocky valley. It goes around some pretty precarious turns and then you’re back beside the river again, but then you notice the river is about to turn into a waterfall up ahead and the tracks are about to end so that’s pretty terrifying. When the tracks end, instead of falling the train floats off into the clouds, past some rainbows and birds and other shit, and lands back where it started and loops.
Kendra: It’s time for a side note: With it being spooky season, I’d love for you to share your favorite movie to watch around Halloween – could be scary, funny, or a little of both!
Mother Sun: We all went through a big ‘Twin Peaks’ phase around Halloween a few years ago. It’s kind of one really long, pretty disjointed Halloween movie if you think about it.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Train of Thought’’ out on October 28th, do you have plans in the works for 2023 as far as touring is concerned?
Mother Sun: Yes! We’re applying for a lot of festivals and are planning to tour the Pacific Northwest in the spring. We’re pretty close to Vancouver so start there and drive to LA and back. Probably some time on Vancouver Island and some other spots in western Canada through the summer then another tour in the fall. See you soon!