I first met hardcore band God Mother over two years ago in South Africa. I was struck by how kind and down-to-earth the four Swedes were. I was also amazed at the contrast between their laid-back interview style and the high-energy, noisy set they delivered on stage an hour after our chat.
The article’s title, “The Harder the Band the Softer the Guys,” a quote from drummer Michael Dahlström, seemed to capture their essence as performers and people. They were genuinely nice people who scream and head-bang on a stage by night.
Today, they are still some of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. I had the pleasure of catching up with them in San Francisco at Thee Parkside on December 21st. It was the last stop on their first US tour. This tour was their longest yet, but you would never have guessed how tired they were from their show.
Thee Parkside is a small venue, but God Mother acted like rock royalty, pumping out impossibly fast riffs while dancing on stage. Vocalist Sebastian Campbell seemed incapable of staying on stage, as he was constantly body surfing, climbing on furniture, or even leading the audience through a game of limbo.
On stage, bassist Daniel Noring’s long hair bounced back and forth hypnotically throughout the set, while Dahlström furiously pounds on his drum set. Guitarist Max Lindström has a background in funk music that comes through ever-so-slightly in his riffs, but it gives the music flavor that makes everyone want to dance and makes the music more approachable for those who don’t usually listen to hardcore.
At the end of the set, the crowd chants “One more time!” begging God Mother to do the whole thing over. There are not too many bands you could watch twice in a row and still have fun, but God Mother is one of them, and everyone knew it.
Just two weeks ago they were in Chicago at The Empty Bottle. They all agreed that was one of their favorite shows on the tour. Since they are supporting Cult Leader, they often had to try to win over a room of Cult Leader fans. In Chicago that was not the case.
“That was one of the shows where people were actually there for us,” says Campbell. “People were actually like, ‘We thought you would never come here!’” he continues.
In spite of their growing fame in Europe, and now in the US, God Mother is still humble about their success.
“We had people taking flights just to see a show. It’s kind of mind blowing,” says Campbell.
“You don’t really get used to that part. I wouldn’t travel this far for a band, but cool,” adds Dahlström.
“It’s so cool when you see people in your band’s t-shirt. It’s still like, ‘Oh thank you!’” says Noring.
But even in the smaller cities where they entered as relatively unknown, they left with a following, which was always the goal.
“It’s not just about surviving this show, it’s about building something,” says Lindström.
And they are building something, and it spans the globe. The guys have toured Europe extensively, but they have also toured South Africa twice and Latin America back in 2014. God Mother has observed that the hardcore scene holds the same values everywhere they go.
“It’s so much DIY mentality, so everybody is doing something and helping each other out,” says Noring.
On the other hand, they noticed the diversity of different parts of the country here in the US.
“Good shows and cool cities. It’s like touring separate countries. Every state is very different,” says Lindström.
Luckily, one thing that all Americans had in common is that we were very kind. God Mother was impressed by how nice and welcoming Americans were.
“People are super friendly here. We’ve had to sleep at strangers’ places, and it’s all been great. Such nice people,” says Noring.
With so much touring, they have not had as much of a chance to write and record their newest album, but it is on the way. Although touring may delay the writing process, they think it makes the album better.
“We’re halfway through our new album writing-wise. If it hadn’t been for all the touring we would probably have been done by now. But touring and meeting other bands you get inspired, so I feel like our next record is going to be better. And we see how other bands do,” says Lindström.
“We get inspired by getting to see Cult Leader 23 times. You get another perspective on what can be done and it can affect the way you write a song,” adds Noring.
“Hopefully by the end of next year we’ll have it recorded. Hopefully,” Lindström continues.
“We’re not going to rush it. You can’t push creativity too much. You just gotta let it happen. But we’re getting there finally. I’m excited for it. I really like the process of writing a new record. It’s when you can really be creative,” says Dahlström.
Their writing process is organic and experimental. Dahlström, Lindström, and Noring do most of the writing, and they usually write together, bringing pieces of their different musical backgrounds together and testing things out until it works.
“We seldom write a full song like one of us at home and bring it in like, ‘This is a song, all finished.’ We usually bring in an idea and then we go practice together,” says Dahlström.
For now, God Mother is just focused on getting home and spending Christmas with their families. They land on the 23rd and celebrate Christmas in Sweden on the 24th, so they are in for some frantic last-minute holiday shopping.
Photos by: Kayla Molander