Treefort 2023 Profile: British Columbia’s Mother Sun

Mother Sun are much more than just a cleverly named psychedelic rock band. Hailing from British Columbia, the quartet are hometown heroes, having helped firm up the province’s indie-rock scene through their participation in various local bands. Expect a lot of smiles in the crowd when they play two sets of killer, off-kilter — but certainly not off-putting — music at this year’s Treefort Music Fest later this month.

Mother Sun have three full-lengths to their name, including October’s Train of Thought. The psych record bleeds into garage rock, jazz and — touching almost all the bases — soul. Mother Sun recently linked up with members of the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra to record that album, proving their comfortability in creating verdant soundscapes amid an ever-growing horizon.

The Bad Penny recently connected with Mother Sun vocalist Jared Doherty to talk about Train of Thought and how record label Earth Libraries are partially to thank for Mother Sun playing Treefort.

[Go here for a primer on this series of Treefort Music Fest previews. Check back for new profiles of international artists playing the festival every day leading up to its kick-off on Wednesday, March 22.]

Artist: Mother Sun
From: Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
Genre: psychedelic rock
Treefort info: Playing Wednesday, March 22, at Reef at 11:20 p.m.; and Saturday, March 25, at Woodland Empire at 4 p.m.

Why did you decide to play Treefort Fest this year?

JARED DOHERTY: Seems like such a rad festival!! The lineup is massive and amazing, very stoked to check out a bunch of shows. We couldn’t make it work last year but put out a new record in the meantime, so this year seems fitting!

What excites you the most about participating in it?

DOHERTY: The sheer amount of artists and creative people coming together in Boise for the festival is really exciting. It’ll be cool to see some comedy and check out some art installations. We’re playing a few times and hanging out all week, stoked to meet new people and venue-hop around the city.

Is this your first time playing Treefort? If so, how did your booking come about? If not, why did you choose to return?

DOHERTY: First time playing Treefort! Bryant and Bre from our label Earth Libraries encouraged us to apply. We got in last year but had to cancel with COVID restrictions being a bit more unpredictable and touring visas being expensive. 

Have you visited Boise/Idaho before? If yes, do you have any fun stories to share? If not, what have you heard about Boise/Idaho?

DOHERTY: I don’t think any of us have been to Idaho before. I heard that it’s like this hidden gem of a beautiful state that grows a lot of potatoes or something like that?? And that the arts and music scene in Boise is great, which checks out.

Did you face any challenges or headaches in securing a visa to come here?

DOHERTY: We all had to join a musicians’ union, pay some dues and membership and application fees, then send the union a bunch of money to send to homeland security and ask them to give us visas. So far so good, just waiting for them in the mail now, haha. 

What expectations do you have for your experience here and at Treefort?

DOHERTY: I expect it’ll be a wild goose chase of trying to catch all the shows we want to see and then getting dope food and then playing sets a few times and then partying and then heading to bed too late for about four days in a row. It would be nice to find a body of water to jump in too. 

How would you describe your state of mind going into Treefort?

DOHERTY: Really excited to play to people who’ve never seen or heard us before. It’s literally our first shows outside of Canada, so we’re very happy and grateful to be part of the insane lineup at this year’s Treefort!

What other artists on the Treefort lineup are you excited to see? Are you friends with any of them?

DOHERTY: Ahh, a bunch! Dumbo Gets Mad, Drugdealer, Whitney, UMO, Louis Cole Big Band, Brainstory, Dinosaur Jr., Orion’s Belte, Lady Wray. lots of rad Canadian bands like Teke:Teke, Winona Forever, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Played a few shows with Bridal Party in the past, and they are amazing!

What do you enjoy most about performing at music festivals in general?

DOHERTY: The buzzing atmosphere of a large group of people with disparate tastes showing their love for music in different ways, and the chance to see a lot of shows and discover new music.

What can Treefort attendees expect from your performance?

DOHERTY: We will all keep our shirts on. We’re not a band that takes their shirts off onstage very much, if ever. Besides that, we’re gonna play some jazzy psych tunes from the desert of BC.

For more Treefort previews, check out:

• Treefort 2023 Profile: Chile’s Sistemas Inestables

• Treefort 2023 Profile: Norway’s Orions Belte

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