With their latest album, ‘Our Pleasure’ about to be released, it has been a bit of a labour of love for Canadian four-piece Single Mothers. For a band which burst into the scene and quickly gained a reputation for a band to keep an eye on, things all of a sudden when quiet for the quartet. With the band low on funds and taking some time away from touring, there was no real drive or push to release another record after their debut album, Negative Qualities.
“I had been kicking around the idea of another album but didn’t know where to start,” frontman Drew Thomson told Already Heard. “I got a call from this guy Darren, who got my number off of a mutual friend, and asked if I’d want to come check out this studio he works at, so I called Brandon (Jagersky – drums) and we went over there to check it out.
"That’s all it took. We didn’t bother looking at anywhere else, we didn’t have a guitar or bass player yet, we pretty much just said ‘sure, we’ll take the next chunk of dates you’ve got’ and figured it out later.”
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Thomson added: “Wade MacNeil (Gallows/Alexisonfire) heard we were going in to record and asked if we wanted any help in the studio producing – and that was that. It all just fell into my lap, like it was meant to be – the gods, they wanted a new Single Moothers record, and they got one.”
This has sort of been a common thread for the band, who have continually had moving parts and line-up changes to get to the point they are at now. But is this constant state of change which keeps Thomson on his feet and what he believes has made the band a better outfit. He continued: “Single Mothers have gone through so many incarnations – but it was so bad at the very beginning, the bar was set low enough that each change just made the band stronger and better, and so we kept it going through all the changes and band members and crap that goes along with it.
"As a vocalist, I don’t really think I’ve gotten better or worse. As a front person – I’ve gotten more confident with the role and even learned to enjoy it. I used to be terrified of the stage, now I feel empty when I’m not on it.”
It is this emptiness and vulnerability which has been one of the main draws for fans to the music of Single Mothers, but for Thomson, his lyrical process is one that he admits he doesn’t even know if he is being serious or tongue in cheek.
“Single Mothers is a great outlet,” he added. “The stage is great because it’s a one-sided conversation. I have the mic – you have to listen to me. I just write what I write – I don’t over think it.
"Most Single Mothers songs trot a sarcastic line between of ‘is he joking or is that real?’ type of persona, and sometimes I don’t even know if I’m being serious or making fun of myself trying to write a song while writing. It gets very meta, quick. A spiral of unconscious narcissism that my ego is the centre of. But really – all the jokes or references I slide into the discography are too subtle for anyone else to attach meaning. I think that’s how I should answer this question, or am I just answering it the way I would think I’m supposed to.”
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For ‘Our Pleasures’, there is a bit of a step away from what is to be expected of Single Mothers, Thomson and the rest of the band have almost taken an entirely different approach to this record. But it is that different view point, which the frontman has led to bringing out the true identity of the band.
“I was definitely going through some shit when we started recording. For a while, I was running on these ‘fuck the world, fuck everyone, fuck everything’ fumes, drinking way too much and basing most of my decisions on spite. A person can’t function that way for long. At some point, you have to grow up and sober up and take a look at the where you are and what got you there.
"I sobered up half way through recording, and I think you can hear it in the record. There is a transition and a balance of ‘fuck you guys I’m so hard done by’ and ‘oh shit how am I going to clean up this mess I’m sorry’. [On] ‘Negative Qualities’ – I wasn’t there yet as a person and it’s more the ‘fuck you guys’ only. Ignorance is bliss. I think we were trying to be the band on ‘Negative Qualities’ we’ve become on ‘Our Pleasure’.”
‘Our Pleasure’ by Single Mothers is released on 16th June on Big Scary Monsters Records (UK/EU) and Dine Alone Records (worldwide).
Words by Tim Birkbeck (@tim_birkbeck)