I Am The Bee: An Interview with Motherfolk

Photo courtesy of Matt Kennedy

For the last year and a half, Cincinnati-based band Motherfolk have been hard at work on their latest EP, the flower.

This time around, they decided to entirely self-record and self-produce the seven-track EP. By doing so it gave them the opportunity to explore as much of the creative process as possible.

“Recording it ourselves was very rewarding because we could take as much time as we needed with each song,” vocalist/guitarist Nathan Dickerson said. “I would say the most challenging parts were figuring out which songs to put on this release, as we recorded so many.”

In addition to self-recording and self-producing, the band pushed themselves creatively to write more songs than ever before. In the past, they typically wrote the amount of songs that were needed for each album with maybe one or two to spare. By having this new creative freedom, they decided to explore different directions and songwriting techniques in order to find a sound that was authentically theirs. It helped them realize that the more songs they write, the better the songs get.

As they were putting the songs together for the flower, they knew they wanted to use “uncomfortable imagery” to represent it lyrically. It started with a lyric from one of the new songs:

“you are the flower, I am the bee, always taking and taking til I have what I need”
Not only did that line inspire the title of the EP, it gave them the idea to use bee imagery instead of floral. Research brought them to Emily Mueller, a beekeeper in nearby Akron. Between her kindness and willingness to let them step into her world, and the talent of photographer Matt Kennedy, they brought that imagery to life.

While the band hopes that listeners connect with and enjoy the flower, its theme is truly up to the listener.

“Our past albums have always had a really strong theme, and this one does too for us, but we've intentionally left it a little open-ended for interpretation,” Dickerson said. “The meaning that people take away from an album has always fascinated me because it can be so different from the original intention of the writer, so I'm really excited to see how people perceive this one.”

By taking a chance on trying something completely new, Motherfolk created an album that challenged them and gave them insight on how they wanted to tell their story. The message of the flower may be open to interpretation, but it speaks volumes on their growth as musicians.