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Interview: Moider Mother Discuss Their Debut Album 'Miracle Healing Crusade'

Interview: Moider Mother Discuss Their Debut Album 'Miracle Healing Crusade'

Chris Cudby / Photo credit: Delaney Davidson / Friday 12th April, 2024 3:29PM

Based in Ōtautahi, Moider Mother swiftly attracted fans with the depraved no wave / post-punk double-punch of last Halloween's 'Brick In A Stocking' and their debut Maimed Infant EP. Literally a family band, the trio of Hannah Harte, Nick Harte (Shocking Pinks) and Noah McKay are launching their debut album Miracle Healing Crusade on 20th April (aka Record Store Day) via Leather Jacket Records, preceded by a two week outburst of live activity. Playing a preview release show this Saturday at Wunderbar in Lyttelton with noisecore four-piece Are You Or Have You Ever Been and Tjopi, they'll also be joining KWASI and The Tiny Dangers at Space Academy the following Friday. Chris Cudby felt the time was ripe to learn more about Moider Mother direct from the source. Preorder the limited vinyl LP edition of Miracle Healing Crusade HERE (featuring artwork by Nick's father Trace Hodgson) and read onwards...

Moider Mother
Saturday 13th April - Wunderbar, Christchurch w/ Are You Or Have You Ever Been, Tjopi
Friday 19th April - Space Academy, Christchurch w/ KWASI, The Tiny Dangers*
Wunderbar tickets available HERE via UTR
*Space Academy tickets available HERE via UTR

Chris Cudby: Who are Moider Mother?

Hannah Harte: Moider Mother are the amalgamation of three music, literature and film obsessed people, who all need to create music in the way that people need to eat. It is in our blood and bones, as natural and vital as breathing. What is truly amazing is that we all happen to know each other extremely well, with the drummer Noah being my son and Nick’s stepson, and Nick and I knowing each other since high school. We always had a strong connection to each other that ensured we kept in touch over the decades that followed, and have always been extremely honest about whatever was going on in our lives over that time, which created a deep friendship and intimacy. When the stars finally aligned, we decided to try out being a couple, and it worked out so well we got married not long after. When people see Nick and Noah together, they assume they are biological father and son. They have so many traits and talents in common, it’s quite uncanny, it’s like they share the same genes. They get along incredibly well and their natures are perfectly compatible to be in a band together.

This is Noah’s first real band experience and despite dealing with some incredibly difficult issues in the last year or so, he has taken to practising, recording, and performing like a duck to water. Like Nick, he is a natural musician, talented writer and a phenomenal drummer. I’ve been floating around the underground music scene for about a decade, coming from a background of writing, including music reviews. I studied speech and drama for years so my performance and vocal abilities had been honed but I wasn’t connecting with the acting world, and music is everything to me, so I decided to put my money where my mouth was and join in the very scene I critiqued. I have always felt extremely at home on a stage, so being able to create my own “script” and characters with two of the people I love most in the world is a dream come true. I was a real people pleaser for much of my life, so it was hard to jump the hurdle of knowing I might upset or offend others, and ignore years of being surrounded by shitty male musicians imploring me to be more ladylike or emulate traditional female vocalists. But there’s a much stronger part of me that thinks “fuck it, I have something important I wanna say, and I’m going to do this my way, I don’t want to sound like anyone else.”

It took some convincing to get Nick on board with the project, as he is notoriously singular in his vision and was worried about the effect it could have on our relationships, but the whole idea of a band called Moider Mother incorporating a mother/son combination was too subversive to pass up, and it has ended up being his most rewarding and stress-free collaboration to date. Noah and I respect Nick so much as a musician and acknowledge his lifetime’s immersion in this realm, while still getting to fully express ourselves, bringing our own elements and personalities to the band. It could have been a disaster, but it has bonded us and brought us even closer together, and gotten us all through some extremely hard times. It is so important for all of us to have something creative to focus on, to devote ourselves to, and this is something we can do together, a synergy that is extremely rare for three driven introverts that usually prefer to work alone.

How important is the influence of cinema on Moider Mother?

Nick Harte: Cinema cannot be underestimated in the compositions and aesthetic of the band. Hannah and I met when we were 17 while studying film at Hagley Community College in Christchurch. Noah has also been studying film over the last couple of years. Hannah and I have a YouTube channel called Videodrones where we gush over our most beloved subgenres (like body horror, J-horror and folk horror, the last of which we’re currently exhausting via a multi-month binge) and slag off our most detested directors. I also write monthly film reviews for Artbeat magazine. I compose most of the music for the band and try to make it as cinematic or visual as possible, often rewriting parts many times to texturally evoke imagery that hopefully people won’t be familiar with. It can sometimes be a painful process for the other band members, as many of these riffs and beats are initially anything but natural to play (especially our latest material, which isn’t featured on the new album), but I try not to be too much of a dictator lol.

Hannah: It is THE most important influence on all of us — even more than politics, because it is what we devote ourselves to the most outside of music. A year after having covid, I’m still dealing with horrible ongoing viral issues, so Moider Mother has become the priority for my limited energy. Every time I see a great film I want to get back into our Videodrones reviews again though — there have been so many great ones coming out recently! Late Night With The Devil, Dream Scenario, Amelia’s Children, The First Omen, Perfect Days, Stopmotion, Monster, Zone Of Interest, Love Lies Bleeding, Mars Express, etc. While I was protective of the kind of movies my sons Noah and Ethan watched (Ethan was briefly a part of Moider Mother before he moved to Wellington, we miss him so much! One of the best people you’ll ever meet), I was always, always introducing them to every genre of cinema and music from around the world, sharing my passion with them. One of my favourite things to do is discuss and dissect things we have seen or heard together, sharing our finds, which really began with my friendship with Nick so many years ago. He was the first person outside of my parents (who have amazing taste in film, music and art) I ever really talked about these subjects in depth with, and fostered a lifelong passion to engage with and endlessly discover great artists within all the creative realms.

The new record feels like a nexus point of sinister cultural connections. There's a thunking no wave element that reminds me ("feel-wise") at various points of early '00s Aotearoa groups like Murdering Monsters / Futurians, while I was pleasantly surprised to hear echoes of Nick's dance-punk work in Shocking Pinks. If Moider Mother were to create a mood board for Miracle Healing Crusade, what might be on it?

Nick: A lot of it comes down to the chaotic convergence of our varied personal interests. Hannah has a strong theatrical background whereas I’m a firm supporter of Robert Bresson’s maxim: “theatre is a bastard art”. I fondly recall playing a gig in a Dunedin basement with Murdering Monsters when I was in my early 20s and have been introducing Noah and Hannah to acts like The Stooges, Suicide, No Trend, DAF, The Mentally Ill, ESG, Liaisons Dangereuses, Tzusing, Malaria!, and Grecco Romank (whom we’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with on their track 'Precipitate'). While these groups (and many, many more) have certainly inspired us in some way, it’s more been the intersection of seemingly heterogeneous ingredients (like a slap bass with horrific lyrical imagery) that I hope has allowed us to locate our own sonic agency.

Moider Mother address up to the minute issues on songs including 'Influencer Scum', 'King Of The Incels' and 'Birds Aren't Real', while multiple songs rail against the harm caused by organised religion. Does our awful and ridiculous contemporary moment (reflected back at us by the internet) provide a bottomless well of lyrical fodder for Moider Mother?

Hannah: Fortunately, or unfortunately, there are so many issues screaming at me from every aspect of modern society that there is endless inspiration to be found. I’ve always been a very opinionated person, so having a creative outlet for my frustration has been transformative. The person I am on stage is so much more confident and outspoken than I feel I can be in everyday life, but I think art is all about pressing boundaries and making people uncomfortable, or question things, so if we’re going to make lyric-based songs, they must stand for something, make a statement, be meaningful. I never want to release a song that is fluffy, prosaic, or about love/relationships, that’s all been done to death. We can be very provocative ('Implosion' references a certain submarine incident) and my sense of humour is obscenely dark ('Infinity Land', about Jeffrey Dahmer “making room in the fridge for you”), but we have a great respect and reverence for the victims of the crimes we allude to and have done a lot of research around our topics, so nothing is frivolous. We really have focused on “cults, cannibals and killers” in Miracle Healing Crusade, including the incredibly harmful world of religious zealotry and the despicable actions of the faith healing / prosperity gospel movement, that exploits the most vulnerable in order to line their egos, agendas and, pockets. It is obscene how powerful and accepted these cults have become, even in Aotearoa, with Destiny Church, and the worst “Christian” of all, Luxon.

Lyrically, Moider Mother IS a political band — we need a revolution, we need to stir the pot, point things out, get people talking, riled up, ready to take action. Especially now, with the most ghastly Government imaginable in power, revolting against hyper-capitalist consumerist “influencers” who dictate the life people should aspire to. And creeps like Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, Andrew Tate and Pearl Davis gaining their exponential followings. There is so much misinformation and lack of critical thinking circulating, in a society that seems devoted to the worship of hoarding money and power, to the detriment of the planet and 99% of its people. There needs to be voices of dissent and resistance within this overwhelming amount of propaganda that surrounds people online and in real life, voices that can reach a global audience. That’s an overwhelming mission to contemplate, particularly in an industry where music that sounds just like other people, is “radio friendly” and easy to swallow is glorified and amplified, but what the hell, Moider Mother is going to try anyway. If we stand around doing nothing, saying nothing, everything will stay the same, and that is not a world many of us, deep down, want to live in. We all have the power to transform society, if we connect and work together.

Despite (or due to) the grim themes I find Moider Mother quite uplifting to listen to, while the idea of a family band is positively wholesome. How have your live performances gone down with punters? Any plans on bringing the band to the North Island, or do northern fans need to come to you in Ōtautahi?

Hannah: Thank you so much, that’s so good to hear! Despite the heavy themes, I hope to convey a sense of empowerment, excitement and motivation to our lovely listeners. I think we are a call to arms, a challenge, and that can inspire and energise the right kinds of people. Families are too often depicted in a very stereotypical manner, as either dysfunctional or sickly sweet, so we welcome the opportunity to share our dynamic, and encourage others to get more involved with the creative lives of their offspring, biological or chosen! Fortunately, even in Ōtautahi, where audiences can be notoriously stand-offish and undemonstrative, we seem to invoke a very strong and positive response in the most awesome people of all ages. We also invoke absolute disgust from others, but I’ve always wanted to make music that people either utterly love or hate, the idea of any in-between is repugnant to me. If we don’t make a strong impression, if people think “that was nice” — then we have failed in our duty as musicians. Even if no one responded well, we’d still keep up our Moiderous antics, but honestly, the sort of people who do respond are the best sorts of people. We’ve had epic yarns and formed lovely connections with people after gigs, so I’m really really glad we are being unashamedly and fiercely ourselves, and getting to connect with such wonderful humans. One of those wonderful humans is Matthias McGregor, who not only “got” us but was willing to back up his belief in the subversive chaos we are aiming for by including us on his label Leather Jacket Records, releasing our debut album. And Robin Osborn, who recognised the subject (the notorious anime Midori) of our first EP Maimed Infant’s cover and later recorded our entire album on his 2-track reel to reel in under 4 hours (along with Nick’s production). We have so much support from friends, family and local bands, we’re so fortunate to be surrounded by people who believe in what we are doing.

I really like the quote “they who cannot howl will never find their pack” and have had that at the heart of my musical journey, stubbornly rejecting what others think I should sound / act like, especially as a woman. Now I find myself in a band that encourages me to be the most ugly, unhinged, extreme and intense version of myself — it’s just so special, especially having such a supportive husband who always eggs me on. I’m always amazed at how accepting Noah is about his mother’s theatrics, he’s such a wise, philosophical, compassionate and non judgemental soul, such a blessing to our lives and the lives of those around him.

We absolutely want to play more shows around Aotearoa. We’ve had the honour of physically meeting bands from outside Ōtautahi that we adore like Grecco Romank, Clementine Valentine, Cuticles, Human Susan and HŌHĀ, as well as connecting with other phenomenal acts online, so we have plenty of incredible musicians to do shows with - it’s just a matter of getting the funds together and managing my health (I battle Crohn’s disease and a host of other serious physical maladies, so every show is very special, I never know when my body is going to sputter out on me for good). But we plan on expanding the word of Moider Mother beyond the unholy gates of Christ’s Church later this year (we will be hibernating over the colder months to write and record new songs for our next album on a Japanese 4-track Nick recently acquired) and are hoping radio stations and festivals will realise they need a little Moiderousness in them very soon.

What do you think of the Aotearoa idea / tradition of 'Southern Gothic'?

Nick: I love it! I’m wary of using any single doctrine to define our music as I think we embrace many conflicting threads, but there are lots of New Zealand artists I love who might fall under that gloomy umbrella: Snapper, Jason Greig, Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing, Liz Maw, Into the Void, Bill Hammond, Tyne Gordon and The Skeptics. Both of my parents met at Christchurch Polytechnic Design School in the late '0s in a class with John Halvorsen from The Gordons, and my dad (Trace Hodgson) has an inactive duo with him called Brothers of the Head. Apparently he also used to drunkenly sing occasionally at early Gordons practices, so I guess I’m part of a fine lineage of ‘Southern Gothic’ outsiders!

Who is playing with you at your release preview party at Wunderbar on 13th April?

Nick: We’re very lucky to be performing alongside two relatively new and very exciting projects. Are You Or Have You Ever Been? are a skull-crushingly clangorous, yet beautiful quartet who combine complex metallic orchestrations with ecstatic free jazz saxophone. And Tjopi are an occult power electronics duo who have only played a show or two but feature Tjalling de Vries from the majestic Am Himmel and Popi Newbery from various Christchurch-based theatrical engagements so I can’t wait to hear them.

'Miracle Healing Crusade' launches on Saturday 20th April via Leather Jacket Records, limited edition vinyl LP preorders available HERE.


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Moider Mother LP Release Party with Xa?y?o?h?y?e?bx and Tjopi
Sat 13th Apr 8:00pm
Wunderbar, Christchurch
Kwasi, Moider Mother, The Tiny Dangers
Fri 19th Apr 8:00pm
Space Academy, Christchurch