Mother Feather, best known for their wild performances, salacious costumes and liberating dance-rock, are becoming quite the concert attraction with the esteemed Nova Festival under their glittery-spiked belt and an upcoming show at the Brooklyn Bowl on September 8th. The label of NYC’s best live band is competitive territory, but Mother Feature deserves serious props with its spectacularly visual and musically inspiring stage offering.
Having released a debut self-titled EP last year, Mother Feather, led by the outrageous Ann Courtney, are working their asses off and strutting their stuff with new eccentric music soon to be released. Recently Glide had an opportunity to talk with the fabulous front woman herself…
So you recently returned from the UK for the Nova festival, what was that like?
A muddy thrill-ride! Leading up to it we kept hearing how the Brits love their festivals…we discovered just how true that is. The trip was made possible by an impressive amount of teamwork. It took a very focused and organized effort on our part and was met with an enormous amount of support from our fans. They rallied so hard for us to get over there, and that was a big reason why the trip felt incredibly special.
I know you were planning on recording with Steve Wall, does this mean we can expect a full album in the near future?
You can expect more songs before a full album. Making our fans wait the time it would take for an entire album doesn’t make the most sense for us when Motherfeathers are hungry for more recordings and we’re eager to give them what they want! We have a clear strategy and more recorded music coming.
If so, can we expect any nuances on this album, anything that might set it apart from your EP?
Steve Wall is a beast–and with the Mother Feather EP we were only beginning to find that out. That recording process deepened our relationship with him, as it did the relationships within the band. If anything I’d say these recordings are braver, bigger, nastier.
You have a very strong stage presence, would you say that the “Queen Bitch” of Mother Feather and Ann Courtney are very much alike?
Absolutely. Mother Feather’s front-woman is Ann Courtney. Ann Courtney is not always the front-woman of Mother Feather, though I do feel happiest when that is the case.
I think the most exciting aspect of your music is probably your live performance; did it take a while for your overall aesthetic/vision to come together?
The vision is the songs–they’re always what define the aesthetic. Certain elements of the show become more realized in rehearsal and performance. You discover what works and what doesn’t by doing it. That said, I had very strong ideas about what I wanted this band to be, sound, and look like from the very beginning.
I find it interesting that you label yourselves as “pop cock-rock” when cock-rock refers to an angry expression of male sexuality in music while your band seems to evoke a sense of female empowerment. Is this meant to be ironic?
Nothing about Mother Feather is ironic. Cheeky certainly, but I do my best to ensure Mother Feather is exactly what I mean. I’m not sure I’d describe "cock-rock" as angry either. I would call it swaggering, in-your-face, overtly sexual, fun, and proud. Our music is all of those things–and it is sung by women.
Where do you get the inspiration for your aggressive dance style/performance?
What makes dancing fun and interesting to watch isn’t necessarily technical skill or grace… it’s commitment. I commit. I dance hard because I am chasing catharsis, and catharsis can only happen when I am having as much fun as possible!
As far as the costumes go, to what degree are you involved in the design aspect?
100% involved. Most of the time we assemble our own costumes, but even when we’ve been able to work with designers (like the incredible Suzanne Rae or more recently, Lindsay Hearts and Xango Shola), Lizzie and I are very involved in the process. There’s a great Jodorowsky quote Shola has on her website that so beautifully describes why what we wear onstage matters: "Clothing used without consciousness is mere disguise. Holy men and women do not dress in order to appear, but in order to be. Clothes possess a form of life. When they correspond to your essence they give you energy and become your allies." I love that.
I think what’s so fun to watch from the perspective of a female on-looker is to see two very strong talented women completely comfortable in revealing outfits. I think it sends an important message to girls and women about being proud of their body/appearance and sexuality. Have you always been so comfortable in your skin?
I love performing for women for that reason–and my hope is that men get the message too. I’ll never forget seeing Beth Ditto strip down to her bra onstage at the Knitting Factory in 2002 and throw the most confident, happy, rock and roll fit and the effect that it had on me. I struggle with body and perception issues like so many women. But, Mother Feather doesn’t leave any room for them, and that’s certainly one reason why this band is so important to me–and for me. Lizzie, too. I I get riled up thinking about all the energy and time women (particularly young women) waste picking themselves apart when there’s so much cool shit we could be doing instead. That’s not to say that I found my Mother Feather and now it’s easy. I don’t take the light for granted. I have to work my ass off to see it sometimes. Ultimately Mother Feather songs brought me a lot of strength to write and continue to bring me strength every time I sing them.
What’s next for you?
On the immediate horizon, we are playing our first show at Brooklyn Bowl on September 8, which also happens to be our first show with our longtime friends the Dig– I couldn’t be more excited about finally getting to perform alongside those guys. We will definitely be making some appearances for CMJ in October. Due to some new and improved scheduling scenarios this fall, Mother Feather will be spending a lot more time in our secret laboratory, which means you can expect us to be cooking up our special brand of trouble at an even faster clip. Brace yourselves.