Megan McLaughlin, Nicole Fiander, and Meghan Harnum are The Mudflowers. Photo by Hayley Lane.
David Keating talks to The Mudflowers.
A year ago in June, the three members of The Mudflowers—Megan McLaughlin, Nicole Fiander and Meghan Harnum—were classmates finishing their last year of high school in Bishop’s Falls.
Skip ahead less than twelve months and they’re the opening band of choice for established local acts like The Novaks, The Jill Porter Band and The Pathological Lovers.
“It feels really great to get tangled up with all these wonderful musicians,” says drummer Meghan Harnum. “We’ve never really had friends in bands before.”
Back in their hometown, the three friends were the sole source for live rock and roll.
“That was kind of our main inspiration for starting the band, the fact that there wasn’t a music scene there at the time,” says Harnum. “I know a few years before my brother was in a band—he’s four or five years older than me—and there was a pretty good music scene on the go there at that point, but when we were growing up there was nothing.”
“So we really wanted to start something.”
Without any depth of musical experience, the three Mudflowers jammed and learned their instruments together over the last years of high school.
“We were bored,” says McLaughlin. “I mean, we were in small town and it was really ‘All right, we’re good friends, we like music, let’s make a band’. I’d never played electric guitar before, I played acoustic.”
Fiander had to borrow a bass to practice, and Harnum inherited her brother’s drum kit. By graduation time, the three had agreed to make music their focus. In short order, they put their plan into effect.
“We graduated high school last June. The day after we recorded the demo. That day after the demo was done we moved to St. John’s,” says McLaughlin.
Since moving to town, it’s not only the music community that’s taking notice of the three 19-year-olds. They’ve already played enough shows and gathered enough attention to have random strangers stop them in the streets to ask about upcoming shows.
“Last night we were at the Celtic Hearth, and these guys were like, ‘Mudflowers!’”
“More and more every day,” says Harnum. “Different people I’ve never met before.”
So what is it about The Mudflowers that’s made them a standout group in such a short amount of time?
Megan and Meghan say being the only active all-female group in the city has garnered interest from fans.
Although we’ve had a strong local showing of female rock musicians for a long time, all-girl rock bands have not exactly been a common occurence. Rockers like Cherie Pyne, Jill Porter, and Liz Solo usually perform with bands of mixed gender.
So the surprise is warranted.
“I get a lot of good reception from other girls that come up to me and say, ‘Oh my god, I’ve never seen a girl band before!’ and they get excited about it and totally inspired.” says Harnum.
The inability for fans to pigeonhole their music to any one style has also attracted attention. Creating their sound in relative isolation from other bands and local influences, they get comparisons that range from old-school punk to Fleetwood Mac to Sonic Youth.
“We weren’t basing our sound on anything,” says McLaughlin. “We didn’t have a clue, so it was just the noise that we were making, the sound that we were making… That’s what we went with.”
Future plans for the band include their own headlining gigs later this summer, as well writing more material for a first full-length album. In their meantime, the three friends say they’re embracing everything that comes with a full-time commitment to music.
“Since the end of March, we did a little tour with a couple of bands. We went to Stephenville, Corner Brook and since then everything’s been totally out of whack,” laughs Harnum.
“In the best way possible,” McLaughlin points out.
The most recent upheaval involved the girls having to move into a brand new apartment, after being asked to leave their last place. “A man on a motorcycle delivered a notice of eviction,” says Harnum.
In spite of the trouble, they say their parents back in Bishop’s Falls have given them unconditional support throughout the band’s development and through into their move to the city.
Although there is a little bit of worry.
“Her nerves!” says McLaughlin. “My poor mother. She’ll call and she’ll be like, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Oh, I’m playing here tonight and I’m playing there tomorrow night and I was out ‘til 4 this morning and blah, blah, blah.’ Like: ‘Oh Megan! Oh my God! Be careful, okay?’”
“Your mom reminds me of the mom from Almost Famous,” laughs Harnum.
The Mudflowers will perform along with Maggie Meyer and Jill Porter at The Ship on July 3rd. On July 4th, they play an all-ages daytime show with Mopey Mumble-Mouse at Distortion and open for The Pathological Lovers at CBTGs that night. For more info and dates, go to myspace.com/themudflowers