After playing at Cincinnati’s Fountain Square the previous night, Cincinnati natives Motherfolk took to the Donatos Stage on the first day of Fashion Meets Music Festival.
Performing a set filled with humorous dialogue in between songs and lots of energy, the five-piece folk-tinged indie rock band finished with somewhat of a jumping and somersaulting contest between lead vocalist and electric guitarist Nathan Dickerson and vocalist and acoustic guitarist Bobby Paver.
The Indie Sound got the chance to set down with the two after their set to discuss Cincinnati venues, worship music, and their self-depreciating motto.
The Indie Sound: For today’s lineup, you guys are sharing the stage with DJ Khaled. What?
Nathan Dickerson & Bobby Paver: Yeah!
ND: Yeah, what an honor. I’m just interested to see what he’s going to do. DJ Khaled, to my knowledge, doesn’t sing any songs. He’s just the hype man. I’m wondering if there’s just going to be a track and DJ Khaled just being a hype man to the track? I don’t know. I think we’re gonna stick around just out of sheer curiosity.
TIS: So, how did you think the show went?
ND: It was good, gave it a lot of energy I felt like, so that felt good.
BP: It’s good at these things where you’re not sure how it’s going to work out. You start and there’s ten people in front of you, and we’ve played bigger shows so that can be discouraging, but at the end of the set there’s 40 or so people and you’re like, ‘Okay, this is fun!”
TIS: You ended with a jumping/somersault kind of competition…
ND: I tried to do a somersault…
BP: Sometimes we forget to take our music seriously.
ND: In my mind it was awesome, like I think I landed it…
TIS: So you guys were at Fountain Square last night, how was that?
ND: the dynamic was a huge shift from last night to today, with a big crowd and a lot of energy, with 700 or 800 people. I feel like today was just as much fun.
TIS: How would you think a festival like this in the city compares to something in Cincinnati like Bunbury that’s along the riverbank?
ND: Bunbury to me seems like…the community really gets behind the festival. I don’t know if that’s just Columbus or Cincinnati or what.
TIS: I gotta ask… “Motherfolk sucks.” Why?
ND: Well we can’t disclose who started that actually, it’s confidential.
BP: But a fan…
ND: …Or an enemy…
BP: Maybe a true enemy, tweeted us one time “Motherfolk sucks” and we just loved it so much that we kind of used it to our advantage and as like a branding thing. It caught on real quick to the point where you can’t say anything about us anymore. It’s all a compliment. Actually, there was a kid tweeting at us who didn’t get it, so he was sticking up for us.
ND: Yeah, he was defending us but all of our fans were tweeting back at him. He’s like, “I don’t know why people are hating on Motherfolk all the time, they’re actually a really good band, I love them.” Someone explained it to him, and a bunch of comments just kept saying, “they suck.” I feel like I almost instigated cyber bullying because people just kept pounding him.
TIS: That’s definitely one of the most backward marketing strategies out there.
ND: That’s what’s great for us, is no one else is doing it like us.
BP: I also think there’s an air to some bands like they take themselves too seriously. We don’t ever really want to do that. We’re just here to have fun and I hope that comes through on stage. It’s just who we are too.
TIS: Especially with the in-between song banter that takes place.
ND: I’ve got a plethora of things I could say, I can just stand up there and talk, it’s crazy.
TIS: To shift completely onto a more serious tangent, I read that you describe your music as a more “frustrated aspect of worship.” Could you talk on that a little bit?
BP: We both grew up in the church and heard worship music all of our lives, even dabbled in it a little. But we just don’t like what the genre is, and I don’t think we left like a posture or attitude of worship, but we just had to make it our own I think. I think that’s something we probably carried from the first album to the second. I mean it is frustrated, it is on the doubt side but also in some ways, just trying to do something new and not just the same ten words over and over again.
ND: I think honesty is the biggest inspiration that comes through, that we try to convey and evoke in our music. I think lyrically it’s similar to worship music, but we’re definitely not a worship band.
TIS: What other places in Cincinnati have you played at aside from Fountain Square?
ND: Across from Bogart’s there’s this little place called the 86 Club, it’s kind of our home turf. It’s a nice venue, lot of good people there, it’s got a little bit of a coffee shop vibe.
BP: If you’re a new band like us starting out, you could draw 50-60 people and it would feel like you had a full crowd, so it was cool.
ND: They kind of gave us our first shot in Cincinnati because starting out we weren’t exactly from the area, our drummer lived there but me and him went to college in Kentucky so that’s where we lived. They were kind of the only venue in Cincinnati that would give us a shot starting out, and it worked out.