Wollongong garage-surfabilly duo, Mother And Son, have excitingly spent their September touring Europe! Drummer Mat Teudt checked in from the road with Conversations With Bianca to tell us about the tour so far.
You’re currently on tour in Europe! Where are you?
MAT TEUDT: Right now, we are in Middelburg, a really cool coastal city in the Netherlands. It’s full of plazas, places to eat and drink and hang out. We are playing two nights in venue called Kaffe T Hoff. It’s run by the most legendary Hayo. Great place to play music.
What has been a) the greatest thing that’s happen so far and b) the worst thing?
MT: Oh, the greatest. Let’s see, it would have to be spending 4 days in Portugal and Spain. We were asked to play a global festival in Portugal and it turned out to be so much fun. We were the only rock n roll act there amidst a sea of Eurovision type acts. Super funny. The Portuguese totally got us though. Might be heading back to play a metal festival of all things next year, ha! We also got an opportunity to play with our all-time favourite bands Midnight Woolf (Melb) in Zaragosa, Spain. Super good times!
The worst, mmm. It’s actually been all positive so far, boring I know. We did manage to get one speeding ticket and three parking fines within the first three days though. Will see what the damage is soon I suppose. But yeah, so far so good.
What’s been the most amazing thing you’ve seen?
MT: We witnessed this 10-piece German band who played two different sets under two names. One was Berlinskibeat, I can’t even describe them. Think green outfits, bagpipes, choreographed moves, lots of drums and a German beer drinking melodies.
Their other band was Corvis Corax, a twisted viking based show with these extended bag pipes and tonnes of medieval percussion. Both were straight out of Eurovision.
Have you encountered anything interesting in regards to the culture and customs of countries (Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Spain etc.) you’ve visited?
MT: We just love the culture of riding bicycles over here. We hired some bikes in Berlin, cruised to the Ramones Museum then to some record shops and checked out some historic buildings. It’s the greatest form of travel. I ride as much as I can back home but you still have to battle your way on the roads. Here cyclists and pedestrians have right of way, the way it should be. Fuck cars. Ha!
Generally the culture in Europe revolves around good food and friends. We’re just getting looked after here by everyone we meet.
I’ve found that when I travel, folks in other parts seem to really love Australians; are you finding that?
MT: Absolutely, it’s a real conversation starter, especially in Portugal where the people would flip out when we said we are from Australia. Everyone wants to come to Australia. It makes us feel lucky to call Australia home.
Do you feel that you grow as musicians while being out on the road? How so?
MT: Not sure about growing as musicians, I probably think we are growing more as navigators and drivers,ha. Getting pretty used to driving on the other side and finding our way round now. I do feel that our live set is progressing though, especially when you play a dozen shows consecutively. Being on the road definitely broadens your ideas of what you can do with music. It opens doors to new friendships and makes the world an even smaller place, which is a pretty cool thing.
Before you left for tour you played the Drunken Moon festival; what was the biggest highlight of the night for you?
MT: Midnight Woolf, Midnight Woolf, Midnight Woolf, Midnight Woolf, Midnight Woolf! You know, the whole night was fantastic. Was great to see and play with all of our favourite bands that night, I mean Kira Puru and the Bruise and Brothers Grim, you can’t get much better than those guys. As soon as we get back from Europe the Wollongong and Sydney Drunken Moon Festivals begin. I get back the same day, let’s hope the jet lag doesn’t kick in.
What was your first introduction to live music?
MT: Shit, my brother took me to see Jimmy Barnes. It was terrible, ha! I then realised that I had to find my own music that spoke to me. I discovered the Hard Ons and Tumbleweed and would always be hunting down their shows in small venues. They just had an honest energy to them which I admire.
Mother and Son are from Wollongong; what’s the art and music community like there currently? Are there many opportunities for bands and artists? I read a previous interview with you from a little while ago and you mentioned you were kind of bored with what was going on?
MT: I think Bodie may have mentioned that he was bored with it. That’s why he lives in Sydney now. I’ve got a different take on it though. As a band from Wollongong, we have had far more opportunities to support bands then we would have had in Sydney. Wollongong is a small place and bands always pull in for a show on their way to/from Sydney. So you can get great opportunities to play shows. People love to moan about the Gong, but you know there has always been somewhere to play, there has always been a bunch of great bands and a strong artistic community. We have places like Music Farmers, which is great vinyl record store where you can play instores and have exhibitions. Then there’s the guys from Yours and Owls who always support musicians either through their own small venue or larger shows at the Townhall. Nothing wrong with the Gong.
What bands do Mother and Son feel are kindred spirits? Is there any scene/community you feel a part of?
MT: There’s no scene with our music. No uniforms, ethos etc. We just play the music we like to hear, but yes there is definitely a community of bands who also just play their own thing.
Brothers Grim, Midnight Woolf, the Yard Apes, La Mancha Negra, Kira Puru, the Toot Toot Toots, Gay Paris, Snow Droppers, Mojo Juju, Six Ft Hick are all kindred spirits doing their own unique thing.
Where did Mother and Son’s love of garage and surf music stem from?
MT: Early artists such as Link Wray and Dick Dale inspire us with surf music. But really, everybody loves surf music. It doesn’t matter if you’re into metal or latin music. Surf music is rad fun to listen to and play so that’s just what we wanted to do. The garage side of things just stems from our love of reverb and catchy hooks. It’s just a good soundtrack to our lives.
How did you guys first meet?
MT: At uni. I was working a merch gig for Mia Dyson and Bodie with his Mum came up and started to chat. Bodie wanted some cheap tee shirts. I told him to get lost but he never did [laughs]. We just started talking about playing music and right from the start we had the desire to play good rock n roll as a two-piece.
What do you do differently now as opposed to when you first started out in regards to creating music? Are you still doing recordings at home?
MT: In terms of recordings, we have upgraded from our two microphone home recordings to our latest recording, which was done at Hanging Tree Studios in Sydney. They use analogue equipment, which will hopefully capture our live sound better.
With Bodie living in Sydney now, we really don’t rehearse regularly anymore. Just when we can and when we need to. So this has its pros and cons but essentially it makes for a more exciting live show because it can go anywhere, any time.
When you get back from tour will you be working on some new music?
MT: Sure, just before we left we recorded a few songs for a 7- inch so we will have to start mixing as soon as we return.
A couple of months back you released a clip for Creature From The Swamp; what’s your fondest memory for making the vid?
MT: That clip was pretty tricky to make, no fond memories. Lots of rain, mud and water. We got out of it easy though. Luckily we had some amazing friends who volunteered to play the parts of dead girls, being dragged through the bush/swamp. They had the hardest job of all. Massive thanks to them!
Is there any other projects or things that you’re focused on right now or have in the pipeline that you could share with us?
MT: Stay tuned for an awesome animation clip of the songs Mosquito and Dengue Fever together!
What’s one of the greatest compliments you’ve ever received about what Mother and Son do?
MT: We played a show in Berlin and James from the Cruel Sea saw it. We had a chat afterwards and he told us: ‘you guys we get it’. So yeah, that was pretty cool because The Cruel Sea/Beasts of Bourbon are one of our favourite acts who mix the instrumental songs in their albums so well.
Mother & Son play:
Fri 12th Oct @ Digger’s Club, Wollongong with Brothers Grim & the Blue Murders, Jackson Firebird, Mother and Son and Howlin’ Steam Train and Sat 13th Oct @ Manning Bar, Sydney with Brothers Grim & the Blue Murders, Gay Paris, Jackson Firebird, Mother and Son and Howlin’ Steam Train.
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