Photo Credit: Jay Haji
The second of the bands playing at The Nice Guy Sessions this Friday, 12th May, in Pretoria is none other than JHB indie folk band The Motherland. We were lucky enough to catch a short chat with them, this is how it went down:
The Motherland is an indie/folk rock band from South Africa. Their unique sound is a captivating blend of space, serene vocals, beautiful guitar riffs and a driving rhythm section.
On release, their debut Album ‘Three Sheets to the Wind’ kept a notable spot on the South African iTunes charts and has subsequently been play listed on multiple national radio stations and international platforms.
The bands career took off just after the release of their six track folk EP ‘This is Our Home’, predominately written by Sean which, upon release in 2014, was play listed on national radio; opening the door for The Motherland to perform over 200 shows throughout that year.
It wasn’t long after the release of their EP that the band started writing music together, the culmination of musicians resulted in a much edgier mix of indie, rock and folk, drawing influence from a much broader array of artists. The sound hit its apex when Louis joined the band, with his unusual and high energy drumming style, the band had the drive it needed to write ‘Three Sheets to the wind’.
Released in April 2015, the focus on composition, space and beauty can be heard on this album, sticking to their raw and honest sound, ‘Three Sheets to the Wind’ focuses on life and reflection. It holds its folky roots while introducing each band members influence, the pinnacle of the album can be noted in ‘She’s got a way’ where a driving, busy rhythm section hold the tension behind a whirling guitar and haunting vocals.
With the recent addition of a fifth band member, Jean-Louise Parker, The Motherland are currently writing their second album. Jean-Louises backing vocals, keys and viola mean the band is able to push their sound and creativity further.
Following the success of their debut album, the band continue to tour and perform regularly, providing their fans with the intimacy and honesty they are known and loved for.
Hey, yeah, amazing, thanks for having us!
MA: Before we get started, can you please introduce us to the members of The Motherland, tell us where in SA you are from and how you all met to form the band The Motherland?
Sean on vocals
Amber on guitar
Louis on drums
Kevin on bass.
We’re all pretty much from Joburg, Seans originally a Durban boy and Ambers from Cape Town. Louis’ is straight up Afrikaans from the vaal and Kevins background is Irish, so I suppose that’s why he dances so badly.
We just met the usual way, through mutual friends. Sean started The Motherland as a simple acoustic singer/songwriter thing and gradually started adding members – A bassist, then a guitarist etc and eventually, we just had a band.
MA: What are your influences and inspirations as a band to the ’sound’ that you create? Do you look up to international artists for inspiration?
We don’t really decide “we’re going to create this sound”… it’s a pretty organic process, we sit in a room together and mess around on our instruments until we like what we’re playing. Obviously we would be influenced by whatever it is were listening to the most in that moment as individuals, but that’s not a conscious decision – we’ll be inspired by someone else’s performance but at the same time not trying to replicate it.
So Louis listens to a lot of rock and metal, Kevins into rock and blues, Seans super into folk and I’m (Amber) into punk and psychedelic rock. That music inspires us but I’m not sure you can hear it in the music we create for The Motherland.
MA: We believe that you are currently working on your second studio album… can you give us a bit of information on this?
We are, we’re taking it slow this time, our debut album was written and recorded in like a month and although the guys at High Seas Studios ( That’s where we recorded) did an amazing job and we couldn’t be happier – we would like to spend a little more time honing in on our unique sound and a clearer image of what we want to achieve as songwriters and musicians.
Our sound always develops, so our newest album is going to sound very different to the music on our debut, but we feel like we’ve still kept our soul, or essence of our sound ( I know, that sounds so pretentious) We don’t have a release date yet but we’re really excited to share it with everyone.
MA: Are there any tracks that we can look forward to being released in the near future?
Our next single is a track called “On Your Tongue”… It’s a bit edgier than what you’re probably used to hearing from us but we’re really excited about it. A bit of an influence from The Cure, punchy drumming, it’s a heavier sound but we hope our fans enjoy it!
MA: Where can people keen in touch with your latest music?
Were on iTunes, Deezer, Facebook, Soundcloud.. all those thingies, here are some links:
Apple music – https://itunes.apple.com/za/
Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/the-
Deezer – http://www.deezer.com/artist/
MA: Our local scene has been growing positively over the past few years… What are your thoughts on our local music scene at the moment and if there is anything you wish to see happen differently?
Well I can’t speak for the rest of my band but personally I think there’s some rad music in the scene at the moment. I love that people are experimenting with different genres. It’s great, there’s a lot of support between bands but, like in every industry there are the dark parts. Its not just music and sunshine.
MA: Are there any local acts that you think need a special mention?
Personally I love the kind of trippy, psychadelic acts that have recently surfaced, Bye Beneco, The Moths, Sol Gems, that kind of vibe.
MA: You will be playing at the next The Nice Guy Sessions, on the 12 May. Are you excited for this gig? What can we expect from your live set on the 12th?
We’re super excited, just expect us… We will be performing out latest single, “By The Water”, which is a pretty new, a really different sound to anything you may have heard online, we’re really proud of it, we hope the people listening love it too.
MA: Anything that you guys are currently working on that we would be interested in hearing about?
We’re working on our new album, we dont have a release date yet but we will be releasing it this year… te sound is a lot heavier than what our fans are used to but we are super excited to see the reaction. we took a bit of a risk with our last one and this is a big risk.
MA: Where can we follow you on Social media?