INTERVIEW: Axel Cooper talks about the new music from New Mother Nature

Axel Cooper (pictured right) performs with New Mother Nature

Indie rock four-piece New Mother Nature are back with a new album called 2, the follow-up to their self-titled effort released in 2012. I’m really into the music these guys are making and am pretty excited to hear what’s next. The new songs will be released in the form of a CD and/or cassette tape:

A release show is set to happen tomorrow night at Zanzabar. Joining the party will be Juanita and Sexy Minotaur (a new band featuring Jonathan Glen Wood, Catherine Irwin, Lowe Sutherland & Anna Krippenstapel). If you’re like me, you are wanting to know a little more about these guys. GOOD NEWS: Singer/guitarist Axel Cooper was kind enough to answer a few questions earlier today…

Never Nervous: How and when did New Mother Nature begin?

Axel Cooper: The band came together in early 2011. I had a batch of songs that were fairly fresh and wanted to get them recorded before my daughter came along. Being a bit of a fatalist, I was thinking of it as a last hurrah before my life elevated itself into parenthood. We took a couple of months to rehearse what we could and weekend to record the first thing. After that we left it sit for around six months until there was time for some shows to let people know what we’d made.

New material kept coming and none of us were too put out by getting together here and there so here we are.

NN: Who all is in the band, and who does what?

AC: Neal Argabright plays drums. Kevin Molloy, well I’m not really sure what he plays, but it makes a hell of a lot of noise these days and it’s great. Seems like he likes to blame it on his pedals being “broken” but I’m pretty sure he knows what he’s doing.  Here lately he’s been playing guitar too which will help get us on to what’s next.  Corey Smith plays bass, and here recently Aaron Rosenblum just started showing up and playing violin. Another thing that bodes well for the future.

NN: Are there any direct influences behind the music New Mother Nature creates?

AC: It’d be really hard to pin down any direct influences on the group. Every ones tastes and interests are extremely broad. At this point I’d say we are most influenced by each other. I went into our first record wanting the Plastic Ono Band effect in that it would be a very personal record, and that it would have a trashy guitar sound.

NN: After listening to your debut self-titled seven-song CD from 2011, what can listeners expect to hear with 2? What’s different?

AC: I guess the new record could be called more “electric”? It definitely sounds like a band now. We splurged and took two weekends to make this one and had a whole summer and winter to get it together. Even still, it’s over a year old at this point, so the songs have continued to develop since it’s recording.

On the first record, we had just moved in. When the second thing was done, we had definitely been living there. Hopefully on Friday the paint will be peeling a little.

NN: Your new album is being released on both CD and cassette. Why do you think cassette tapes are having this kind of renaissance lately? I ask because, obviously cassettes have a pretty sub par audio quality. Is it just collector-item type of thing?

AC: I don’t know. I really wanted to do a record for this one, mainly because it sounds incredible. Warren Gray is really top notch at getting just what is in the room. The energy at an atomic level I mean. The tapes we kind of thought may do better out there on the Internet. I definitely think there is that collectible thing, but only because the dominant form of purchasing music gives they consumer nothing material, and I think people want more than that. Every enthusiastic music listener I know could be called a collector first. Tapes are just an economical second to records. Mp3s may sound better, but the only thing you get is the sound.

I’m betting that folks out there will more likely take a chance on a $5 cassette over a $10 download.
I worried about the audio quality a lot when we were making them, but better and worse is all relative. To me the sound is just different.

NN: Now that you are sitting on a new album, are there plans to tour in your future?

AC: I think we’re all ready to move on to what’s next. No plans, just fantasies.  I’m pretty tied up with my livelihood in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. We talk about taking a long weekend or even a whole week to go out and do something, but my memory of touring is that it takes both money and time, and our coffers aren’t brimming with either of those. Say if we were asked to do some regional dates with someone and the timing worked out. We’ve even talked about going out with some friends from around here. It’s a can of worms.

NN: I’m sure you’ve noticed the recent boom of record stores in Louisville over the last year or two. Do you prefer one shop over the rest?

AC: Astro Black suits me just fine. Jim has stuff I can afford to buy in there and I think he puts whatever remnants he has of his soul into that store and Louisville’s music making community. I also like that he started in a mop closet, and then moved into a neighborhood that will benefit from the store being there. I suspect that it will outlast the others. (Although he did talk me into making those damn tapes so his business sense may be a little wobbly)

NN: Where is the best place to drink beer in Louisville?

AC: My friend Shelby Baker has a pretty nice porch, but he’s threatening to move away.
I live in the country now and am really not in Louisville a whole lot these days.

NN: Before you go, talk about a few records that have been in steady rotation lately.

AC: Hard time getting music on and actually being able to listen to it these days. In the car I’ve got a Califone mix that Warren made for me and Trout Mask Replica. Creedance’s Green River in the house. Most of my time is spent outside so things like birds and frogs and lawnmowers are in the prevailing sound scape.