'Fuzzface' is out May 21.
Brothers Spencer and Darcy Ward of indie pop duo Mother Culture are celebrating the release of their latest single ‘Fuzzface’ which you can listen to Friday, May 21!
We sat down with the band to discuss all things Mother Culture, their personal story, musicianship and of course, the new track.
Thanks for coming to have a chat with us guys! To start off, for those out there who haven’t had the chance to listen to Mother Culture, tell us a bit about yourselves. What’s the best way to describe your songs, your sound and your personality as a band? Do you have any major influences?
Darcy: We’re two brothers, Darcy and Spencer Ward, we record, write and perform all our songs in our home studio. We’re sort of the combination of indie, pop, rock, psychedelia. I guess you could say we’re ‘deep space pop rock’.
Spencer: We spend a lot of time hanging out in the studio just making stuff that makes us feel good, whatever excites!
Darcy: As for major influences, probably the Beatles would be the first pick.
Now, given the gimmick of you two being brothers, I’d imagine music has been something you’ve engaged in throughout growing up. Could you tell us a bit about your background?
Darcy: Yeah our family is very musical, dad was really into music he played guitar, bass, drums. He tried to sing but… (laughs). Our mum was a performer as well, a dancer and a singer and our grandfather was a performer too so we sort of grew up into it, we didn’t really get much of a choice.
Spencer: Yeah we’d both been learning instruments since we were pretty young, say five or six. I guess when we turned seventeen we took it a bit more seriously getting into digital audio recording and looking at studio equipment which kind of introduced a whole other aspect to music for us when you can record something and listen back on it. Everything just kind of built up from there.
Leading on from that, was there a key point in your lives where you really felt the change from being young talents to a full blown band?
Darcy: Well I don’t know if its still happened yet (laughs). I guess we’d always talked about making a band together but around 2019 is when we turned around and decided to start doing this seriously together. Mother Culture as a project had kind of been around for a while, I’d sort of been in it with a few mates from high school originally which eventually broke up and stuff. I then did a few things solo and Spencer who was playing live in the band with me and we started working in the studio together, so we decided to make it [Mother Culture] our thing, take it seriously and go in a new direction.
So ‘Fuzzface’ is your latest single which premiers today; awesome track just quietly. Can you tell us a bit about it? Its tone, its energy?
Darcy: Well it’s actually an older song that was written back when the band looked a bit different. We originally uploaded it as a demo to Soundcloud back in 2015-16 or something and over the years it just amassed a lot of streams, like 150,000 now so people must really dig it. So we kind of decided to rework it with a new sound and soul as a thanks to all the people who’d been listening over the years you know. It’s kind of a combination of acoustic and electric instrumentation. We tried to strip it back a little bit but also give it our full sound that we love to do. Spencer handled a lot of the production on this one so I might hand it over to him.
Spencer: Yeah there’s a bunch of moments in the song which are pretty bombastic and random things sort of fly in and out for a second or so. There’s a lot of ear candy you might not hear consciously but it helps make you feel a certain way. It’s definitely not just four guys in a room jamming along and I think it definitely sounds bigger than that, it sounds more particular or deliberate.
Darcy: Yeah I guess we were just trying to create an emotion and be evocative with it, to enhance the story that the song’s trying to tell.
Spencer: Its a singer songwriter style of song and then but then it gets a bit more indie and psychedelic.
Darcy: Yeah very indie inspired. Originally it was written after a breakup as a lot of songs are!
Well I was going to ask about that, because those lyrics are pretty catchy but they’re also super raw!
Darcy: It’s quite funny looking back on it, I kind of find some of the lyrics to be a little naïve, which is sort of just what happens when you’re eighteen and going through your first big breakup. You feel the weight of the world crushing down on you so I guess I was just channelling that. But I think it’s got a great hook which I’m really really happy with!
Is there anything more you’d like to add about the release of the track?
Darcy: I’d just like to quickly thank all the people that have been along the way with us. I couldn’t have written it without my mate Dhanesh who I originally started the band with. Big love to him, he even named the project so we wouldn’t be here without him. And just all the people along the way who’ve listened to us, it’s pretty crazy to see people listen to a crappy demo and just fall so in love with it, so we owe it to them to make it properly this time. Hopefully, people like it.
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Just by listening to the two versions back to back, it’s clear how much you’ve grown as musicians. Could you perhaps tell us about some of the key experiences that have shaped the band over the years? Any big moments or lessons you’d want to share?
Spencer: I think lockdown was a big thing, it kind of gave us time to realize that we didn’t want to sound crap (laughs), so we practiced heaps and figured out what we needed to do to sound good. Even up to our latest EP release, comparing that to Fuzzface there’s a big difference. Even before the lockdown period we were practicing a lot, learning instruments and reading because when you do it all out of home you have to get into the whole mixing side of production as well which takes hours and hours to figure out. Or maybe it was just because we bought new monitors… (laughs)
Darcy: I guess there was also just playing shows and gigging as band without really getting anywhere. It felt like we’d been playing for years slogging it out in pubs playing to ten people including the sound guy and your drummers girlfriend or whatever. We just kind of got a bit over it so we decided to focus in on becoming good at our craft as musicians and songwriters to really just try and get things down and create music people want to hear so maybe they’ll actually want to come see us.
Spencer: And that’s kind of the crux of it at the moment. Instead of doing shows to garner a crowd through hype that way we decided to just put out tunes and build our audience first. Having listeners that would be dying to see us live because they’d been listening to our songs but can’t because we’re not playing shows at the moment builds a bit of hype rather than catching us every weekend at the pub.
So what does the future hold for Mother Culture? Can we expect to see any releases or major gigs on the horizon?
Darcy: Yeah we’ve got another single lined up for a couple of months after ‘Fuzzface’ drops, it’s another one of the original Soundcloud demos that we’ve reworked so we’re looking forward to that. Other than that we’re really just trying to get in the studio and get the next EP done. We’ve got about two of the tracks pretty well on the way and we want to have the EP out by the end of the year.
Spencer: We’ve got a bunch of ideas and songs we’re just kind of nutting out so thought we might as well record all of them. We’re really looking forward to getting those songs out there.
Lastly, is the song’s name still referencing an effects pedal or has it taken on some ‘deeper meaning’?
Darcy: Nooo! So it’s funny because when I originally wrote it I didn’t really have a name for it so I just called it something arbitrary like “song 23” or whatever. But while we were working on it we just had to give it some kind of working title so I looked at the ground and had a Fuzzface guitar pedal so I said “yeah let’s call it ‘Fuzzface” and it just stuck and never changed. We didn’t even use the pedal at all on the song.
Spencer: There’s definitely other fuzz pedals on there but I can’t believe we didn’t even think of that.
Darcy: I think we tried to get it in at one point but it just didn’t quite sound right.
Spencer: Ah it would have been that lead guitar line, the ‘two weeker’…
The two weeker?
Darcy: Yeah it was just this guitar part we were screwing around with for two weeks trying different things everyday, it was an absolute joke.
Spencer: You can hear it in the second chorus, just this tiny little droning guitar part that took two weeks to record! That’s why it takes us so long to get any music out (laughs).
Darcy: We’re too pedantic, I mean some would call it perfectionism but others might call it something a bit more inappropriate (laughs).
Well thanks for having a chat guys, were there any last-minute closing things you wanted to get out there before we wrap up?
Spencer: Just to reiterate on this song in particular our friend Dhanesh Jayalesn was a big part of it especially in terms of the original single release.
Darcy: Yeah big thanks to him and Oliver Collins as well, he helped write the original drum part and Nathan Lana who played on the original demo as well. Those guys were all the original members so big thanks to those guys. We just hope they like what we’ve done with it.