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FYI

Mother Mother’s Career Zooms With TikTok Breakthrough

After 15 years, eight albums and more than 20 singles, Vancouver-based Mother Mother is breaking through on a global scale with concerts scheduled in 16 countries, including 5 at the Commodore Ballroom, and TikTok is the catalyst that kick-started the whole shebang.

Mother Mother’s Career Zooms With TikTok Breakthrough

By David Farrell

After 15 years, eight albums and more than 20 singles, melodic rock ensemble Mother Mother is breaking through on a global scale, and spurring a concert tour that at last count includes 16 countries, including five shows at the Commodore Ballroom in their adopted city of Vancouver, and TikTok is the catalyst that kick-started it all just 14 months ago.


In a phone interview yesterday, Darren Gilmore at Watchdog Management in Vancouver relays the fact that “I’ve never been busier in my career” and enthuses about shows in London, Dublin and across the US that are either sell-outs six and eight months in front, upgrades to larger halls in Canada, the U.S., Germany and in other EU countries–and  about the global reach of TikTok that  has given them the opportunity to play in Moscow and St. Petersburg in spring 2022.

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The new momentum actually caught Mother Mother and its team off-guard at the start of the pandemic and between record company deals. The idea was for the band to take a hiatus from the road while co-founder Ryan Guldemond booked time to make a solo album. That’s when Gilmore and his team noticed that the band’s Spotify numbers were trending fast in an upward trajectory. Further investigation showed them that TikTok audiences were behind the newfound interest in the band’s earlier catalogue of four albums released by Last Gang Records. Gilmore thinks the band’s new converts made their discoveries as a result of sitting at home, and spending more time streaming and discovering music.

Whatever it was, newfound fandom put jet-fuel behind their online metrics.

As Alex Hudson succinctly summed up in Exclaim! last week: It all “changed very quickly in 2020 with the band's Cinderella-like rise to viral stardom, when their first two albums, 2007's Touch Up and 2008's O My Heart, suddenly went stratospheric on TikTok. The hip-hop/rock barnburner Hayloft logged hundreds of millions of streams, while the trans community embraced gender-twisting songs like Touch Up and Verbatim (the latter of which features lyrics like, ‘I wear women's underwear / And then I go to strike a pose in my full-length mirror’).

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"A glowing feature in Rolling Stone and an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden followed, and Hot Topic began stocking the band's T-shirts."

Working on building an enhanced presence on social platforms worked as Mother Mother now  has accumulated over 1.3 billion streams and views, and won itself a loyal and dedicated 15 million monthly listeners.

After leaving Last Gang in 2013, the band did a deal with Universal, but that concluded last year, which is when discussions with RCA, Sony and Warner Music started, and the band went into a creative surge writing and recording the new album that came out last week on WEA, entitled Inside, set up by the lead single I Got Love that hit No. 1 on Canadian radio charts and remained there for six weeks. That was followed by Stay Behind, Forgotten Souls and Pure Love which cumulatively racked up 12 million streams before the album’s release.

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On the day of the album’s release, came Sick of the Silence.

From his base in L.A., Last Gang founder (now Global President of Entertainment One Music) Chris Taylor has been watching the band’s rapid ascent on the world stage.

“It’s a phenomenal story for such a genuine and unique act,” he said yesterday, adding that “it’s been a joy to watch them fly over the past year. The first to spot them was Jen Hirst, our all-star A&R person at Last Gang at the time.”

He judicially adds that “we’ve learned it’s hard to initiate a viral TikTok moment, but once it sparks there are many tools to burn the fire brighter.”

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Warner Canada senior marketing & publicity manager Dave Stelling says he’s seen the success acts can have when TikTok fans get behind an act (Fleetwood Mac as an example), but, he tells me, this is the first time this has happened on a global scale for a Canadian act.

While Mother Mother now prepares its show, Gilmore has been furiously working the phones with Jeff Craib at the Felman Agency here, Corrie Martin at TeamWass in the U.S., and James Whitting at Paradigm tasked with co-ordinating the UK and European shows.

With Watchdog Management a division of A&F Music, it has given Gilmore access to expert advice from Bruce Allen and Sam Feldman, both of whom have extensive contacts and success on the global stage and, he tells me, he and the band are particularly proud that the tour is going to be “a very, very Canadian” affair, enhanced by his longstanding relationship with Live Nation that has Canadians in key roles in the U.S. (President and CEO Michael Rapino and Global Music Chair Arthur Fogel), former Canadian music executive John Reid (now President, Live Nation Europe) and of course Reilly O'Connor (Chair of Live Nation Canada)

Mapping out and locking in the 66-date tour during lockdowns (with additions and venue changes occurring routinely) “has been nuts, but it’s also been totally nuts where everyone on the team has had to work collectively on a tour that covers multiple territories with different travel and health restrictions, and connecting all the dots when more people are working remotely out-of-office than not."

The team's efforts of course are all for the band, a construct that includes two female singers and a rhythm section that hits as hard as a battering ram. Musically, the ensemble weaves sonic magic as majestic as Arcade Fire at its finest, and harmonies as perfect and rich as  classic Fleetwood Mac.

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As Hudson at Exclaim! writes, it’s a Cinderella story and a classic example of how cream rises to the top, even in a world obsessed with predicting the next big thing. Ultimately, it’s about fan discovery, and no smart marketing is ever going to beat that.

 

2021 Tour Dates:
Sep 17  Summerfest /Warehouse Stage        Milwaukee, WI
Sept 19 Riot Fest                Chicago, IL
Oct 03    Austin City Limits Music Festival    Austin, TX
Dec 02    The Commodore Ballroom    Vancouver, BC
Dec 03    The Commodore Ballroom    Vancouver, BC
Dec 04    The Commodore Ballroom    Vancouver, BC (early show, all ages) – SOLD OUT
Dec 04  The Commodore Ballroom    Vancouver, BC (late show) – SOLD OUT
Dec 05    The Commodore Ballroom    Vancouver, BC

 

2022 Tour Dates:
Jan 07  White Oak Music Hall        Houston, TX
Jan 08  Scoot Inn            Austin, TX – SOLD OUT
Jan 09  The HiFi            Dallas, TX- SOLD OUT
Jan 11  The Van Buren            Phoenix, AZ – SOLD OUT
Jan 12  Music Box            San Diego, CA – SOLD OUT
Jan 13  Regent Theater            Los Angeles, CA  - SOLD OUT
Jan 15  The Fillmore            San Francisco, CA - SOLD OUT
Jan 17  Wonder Ballroom            Portland, OR - SOLD OUT
Jan 18  Neptune Theatre            Seattle, WA - SOLD OUT
Jan 21  Summit                Denver, CO - VENUE UPGRADED
Jan 23  Metro                Chicago, IL- SOLD OUT
Jan 25  Saint Andrew’s Hall        Detroit, MI- SOLD OUT
Jan 26  Beachland Ballroom        Cleveland, OH - SOLD OUT
Jan 28  Town Ballroom            Buffalo, NY
Jan 30  Paradise Rock Club        Boston, MA - SOLD OUT
Feb 01  The Foundry            Philadelphia, PA (early show) - SOLD OUT
Feb 01  The Foundry            Philadelphia, PA (late show) – SOLD OUT
Feb 02  Irving Plaza            New York City, NY
Feb 04  9:30 Club            Washington, DC- SOLD OUT
Feb 05  The Underground            Charlotte, NC - SOLD OUT
Feb 06  The Masquerade (Heaven)    Atlanta, GA - VENUE UPGRADED
Feb 22  Tavastia            Helsinki, Finland - SOLD OUT
Feb 24  Tyrol                Stockholm, Sweden – VENUE UPGRADED
Feb 26  Parkteatret            Oslo, Norway - SOLD OUT
Feb 27  VEGA Small Hall            Copenhagen, Denmark - SOLD OUT
Mar 01  Fabrik                Hamburg, Germany –VENUE UPGRADED
Mar 02  Kesselhaus            Berlin, Germany – VENUE UPGRADED
Mar 04  Paradiso Noord            Amsterdam, Netherlands (early show) – SOLD OUT
Mar 04  Paradiso Noord            Amsterdam, Netherlands (late show) – SOLD OUT
Mar 05  Rotonde                Brussels, Belgium - SOLD OUT
Mar 06  Kantine                Cologne, Germany – VENUE UPGRADED
Mar 08  Freiheitshalle            Munich, Germany – VENUE UPGRADED
Mar 09  Santeria Toscana 31        Milan, Italy
Mar 11  Razzmatazz 2            Barcelona, Spain- SOLD OUT
Mar 12  Sala Moby Dick            Madrid, Spain - SOLD OUT
Mar 14  Les Etoiles            Paris, France - SOLD OUT
Mar 16  Heaven                London, UK - SOLD OUT
Mar 17  Garage                Glasgow, Scotland - SOLD OUT
Mar 20  Olympia                Dublin, Ireland - SOLD OUT
Mar 22  The O2 Forum            London, UK - ADDED SHOW
Mar 25    Glavclub            Moscow, Russia – ADDED SHOW
Mar 26    Morze                St. Petersburg, Russia – ADDED SHOW

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Canadian Tour Dates

Apr 29    Royal Theatre            Victoria, BC
Apr 30    Royal Theatre            Victoria, BC
May 2    Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium  Edmonton, AB
May 3    Jack Singer Concert Hall    Calgary, AB
May 4    Jack Singer Concert Hall    Calgary, AB
May 5    Conexus Arts Centre        Regina, SK    
May 7    Centennial Concert hall        Winnipeg, MB
May 8    Thunder Bay Community Auditorium  Thunder Bay, ON
May 10    Centre in the Square        Kitchener, ON
May 11    Théâtre Corona             Montreal, QC
May 13    The Music Hall Concert Theatre    Oshawa, ON    
May 14    London Music Hall        London, ON
May 16    The Grand Theatre        Kingston, ON
May 17    FirstOntario Concert Hall    Hamilton, ON
May 19    Massey Hall            Toronto, ON    
May 20    National Arts Centre        Ottawa, ON

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