Canada’s Single Mothers almost didn’t make it out of the pandemic. With venues shutting their doors and shows cancelling at the last moment, singer Drew Thomson thought about retiring the band. Songs already written and in the production process were at risk of never seeing the light of day.
But Single Mothers survived and Thomson, along with an increasingly steady cast of band members, pushed the record through the production process. It resulted in a brilliant snapchat of the pre-pandemic life properly listened with the post-2020 world in mind.
“Everything You Need” is the band’s most versatile, polished and relatable album to date. It drops on October, 28 through Dine Alone Records. We chatted with Thomson about his excitement about the album.
How do you feel in the leadup to “Everything You Need”?
Thomson: I feel good. We recorded it back in 2019. We have been sitting on it for a while, which is always interesting. I really like the record; it was really fun to write and really fun to record. We recorded it really fast, three days in London, Ontario. It was a really cool, special time.
You wrote these songs prior to the world shutting down. Too what extent does that add to the intrigue of the album?
Thomson: I think it’s interesting to know things can always get worse. I know the joke. I know a lot of the themes on the record they seemed kind of redundant in the thick of the shut down and the height of 2020. Those little mundane, annoyances in life. They can become treasures you take away. To me, this record is just kind of a little snippets
What are some examples of “treasures in time”?
Thomson: Song called “Too Many Choices.” It is a little bit of a satire. Kind of about people’s egos and thinking about so much can be better. Too many choices out there. Poor me, kinda of like poor little rich boy. This song stood out to me because it was about something like having too many choices at the mall food court and not making up your mind. I was also worried that people would think I was complaining, but it is more of a joke about society contemplating own problems and making them seem so much more.
What was the creation timeline for the album?
Thomson: Recorded in 2019, wrote in 2019. Getting mixed in 2020. But then I put it on the back burner. But then everything kind of collapsed. Didn’t seem like a priority to get finished or out. I didn’t know if the band would survive the pandemic. I think I got into a bit of a depression and didn’t care about anything. But as that kind of waned, we finished the record and sent it to the label. It was really a push from them to put it out. So very thankful for them to believe in us enough.
The fact that you considered ending the band must add to the emotions of this album coming out.
Thomson: I’m very thankful for the band to get through it. We played a few shows this year. Some of the best we played. We booked shows in pandemic and they got cancelled. We stopped booking tours for a while. Been slowly getting back to it. It’s been a very interesting time in everyone’s life. The album it was something that I cared a lot about, didn’t care about, and now I care about again.
How’d it feel to be back on stage?
Thomson: It was pretty amazing. Felt like the beginning of the band. We were playing shows because we really loved it. When you are forced on hiatus for so long, it gives you an appreciation of why you do this in the first place. Felt like it was those first few years in 2008. It was brand new, fun, and exciting. Our first show was back at a tiny bar in London, Ontario. It was very nostalgic.
How does “Everything You Need” differ from your past work?
Thomson: Generally, in Single Mothers I’ve stayed out of instrumentation. I took a back seat to composition and stuck with lyrics. “Everything You Need” is the first album Single Mothers recorded where I wrote the music, demoed it and sent to band. In that way it is completely different.
I know it’s tough to pick, but is there a song or two you are especially excited for people to hear?
Thomson: Really like “Enough For You,” the first song on the record and I think it’s my favorite. That and “Baby Bird.”
What about a lyric or two? Is there a couple you feel they just really resonate with your life and others?
Thomson: I think “Throw” is a very personal song to me. I think all the lyrics in that song are the most sentimental I have ever got in this band. I think it is my most personable song. It represents a bit more of a side that I don’t show in this band so often. I wasn’t sure if we were going to keep it.
“Nausea’’s opening line was so great. As someone who watches a lot of news, I can relate to the constant “doom and gloom” feeling. I feel like that particular song has more significance during the pandemic.
Thomson: So much! The doom cycle. It is so funny thinking back to the 24-hour doom cycle. We are like geese, compared to this that was the golden era. In 2020, 2021, even in 2022. It got way worse. I think it’s waning a bit. I think people are sick of the constant doom scolling, but who can blame them? It is too much to keep up with. They just compound and compound and compound. It is good to have a healthy skepticism. It is definitely healthy to have skepticism in what you are seeing all the time. I think info graphics are the worst thing to happen.
Are you abandoning the notion of this being a band with no permanent members?
Thomson: Single Mothers has always had an open door policy. People come in and out whenever they want. Single Mothers has been designed to run on it’s own. There are times I haven’t been in band and it kept going. After the pandemic, I thought maybe I am done with the band and it could keep going without me if the guys want to. We have 20 some odd people that have been in and out and about ten-ish members coming and going. If they all want to keep doing band without me, they could. In that sense there would be no member in the band. In a way it has become.
Does punk and pop-punk seeing a bit of a popularity spike add at all to the excitement of the upcoming release?
Thomson: No, not really. I never considered us a punk band. We were just told we were a punk band. I just say that as an easier umbrella. No, I don’t like pop-punk. I have never really have. I don’t see it as a good thing.
What about shows and plans to perform the album?
Thomson: We have some tours in the works for 2023. We have kind of purposely been easing our way back into the live setting. We have a couple release shows in Canada. One in our hometown and one in Toronto, Ontario. We are kind of laying low, watching how the landscape kind of evolves making sure things don’t shut down again or our members get COVID and have to cancel shows. I think something people don’t realize as a Canadian band touring the states, it costs a lot for VISAs. And it costs a lot to cancel.
Can you explain that for those who don’t understand the burden?
Thomson: It’s definitely a toll. Not just financially. But also a mental tool. A lot of musicians I know are introverts. And sometimes when people tour, it does take emotional fitness training saying I am going back on road for six weeks. I will be around people all the time and be on stage. When those things get cancelled, it is an emotional roller coaster. A lot of things go into planning; management, VISAs, owners. There are stages. It takes months and months to plan a tour and it could always evaporate with one positive COVID case. When you dedicate your life to touring and gain meager living from it, is a bit of narcissistic fear. We still are people and have rent to pay and dinners to make, income streams are so different now than they used to be 15 or 20 years ago. Only money you make is on tour and its mostly from merch.
Yes, fans need to by merch right? And the album, it’s so good! I hope fans buy that as well.
Thomson: It is a very good album. Buy it, don’t just listen to it.