Mother Feather is a band that doesn’t play by the rules of metal but succeeds, nonetheless. Though the record label Mother Feather is signed to--Metal Blade--has given a home to its share of weird and unconventional acts, MF sits on the fringes of what is the norm for the metal genre. They bend Pat Benatar like vocals with Judas Priest level riffs and a David Bowie-esque stage persona. As the band’s name would suggest, the band’s attire features anything but a lack of bird like imagery, as well as careful attention to detail and color. The band’s distinct look and exceptionally versatile member lineup (composed of lead singers Ann Courtney and Elizabeth Carena, guitarist Chris Foley, and drummer Gunnar Olsen) along with their refusal to abide by the norm is what keeps them going. That, and the fantastic music they continue to produce. The point is, this New York band has a lot to teach the average Pratt student about the artistic process, so I thought I’d send an email to the one of the two lead singers (that is Ann Courtney) to get some background on how it all happened.
Mother Feather has been around a long time, but it wasn’t always Mother Feather, correct? How exactly did Ann Courtney and The Late Bloomers turn into Mother Feather?
Mother Feather has always been Mother Feather. I had a band with Lizzie previously called Ann Courtney & the Late Bloomers, but we torched that band entirely. Mother Feather was the phoenix that rose from the ashes. I wanted to form a band that was bigger than my everyday self, harnessed big feelings, embodied showmanship through commitment and urgency, and was most of all, fun.
What helped establish the band’s distinct look and what are some of the influences? How (in the band’s life) have its influences changed, and what’s been left behind and what’s new?
The look of the band has always been and will always be completely informed by the songs. Since we were both very little, Lizzie and I have always been interested in dress-up. The look of the band is very much an outward expression of our innate fabulousness. We just can’t help it.
What does the band make a point to avoid in style or sound? How has Mother Feather stayed alive for so long? Are there actual plans for the future, or is it more a “let’s see how long we can keep this going” type of situation?
Well, I can’t tell you what we avoid because then we wouldn’t be avoiding it...but nice try!
Mother Feather has been active for so long for a number of reasons. Here are a few: because we love and respect each other, we are awed and delighted by our fans, Lizzie is an organized and fastidious bookkeeper, and it probably doesn’t hurt that I have a healthy amount of pride!
What specific things do you believe have kept MF alive, what was the impact of the Warped Tour?
The Warped Tour exposed us to new, excited young audiences in different cities every day for an entire summer, and it gave us the opportunity to connect with them in a very close way.
What can the average art school student learn from the success of Mother Feather, and do you both consider yourselves successful at this point?
Magic happens just by showing up every day. You will have a zillion successes and failures. Just pay attention, keep showing up, and make your art. Keep on keeping on and try to have some goddamn fun!
You can find Mother Feather’s music on all streaming platforms and also at http://www.blacklightmediarecords.com/motherfeather/.
Illustration by Ronan Madden