TORONTO — Ryan Guldemond says he believes luck, good timing and “a little pixie dust” led to his band Mother Mother catching fire on TikTok in recent weeks.
The lead singer and guitarist for the Vancouver rock act says he was surprised when, seemingly out of nowhere, three songs from their 2008 album “O My Heart” spiked in popularity on the music-fuelled social app.
Thousands of TikTok videos began appearing on the service late in August that showed teenagers dressed in cosplay, goth clothes or talking about gender identity while the band’s music played.
The TikTok activity has only grown since then, powered by popularity of their track “Hayloft,” in particular. The hashtag “mothermother” has been viewed more than 65 million times on the platform.
That’s helped push the band up the rankings of Rolling Stone’s Artists 500, which monitors the most-streamed artists across the world. Mother Mother sits at No. 413 in their third week on the chart.
Guldemond says he’s been moved by the positivity the TikTok videos have generated, and the feedback encouraged him to join the platform to create his own videos.
“No one saw this coming, but it’s a pleasant surprise to say the least,” he said.
“It’s nice that it’s completely organic. No one tried to create success, it just almost acted as its own life form.”
The Juno-nominated band’s “Arms Tonite” and “Wrecking Ball” are two other songs from their 2008 album that rank as their most popular on TikTok.
All of the activity has also positioned Mother Mother at No. 11 on Rolling Stone’s monthly Breakthrough 25 Chart, which tracks the fastest-rising artists each month.
TikTok has become a useful tool for both established and budding new musicians to find popularity with younger listeners. Last month, Fleetwood Mac soared up the charts when a man posted a clip himself skateboarding and drinking cranberry juice while listening to their 1977 hit “Dreams.”
Other Canadian artists have seen their profiles raised, including Montreal pop-punk band Simple Plan whose 2002 single “I’m Just a Kid” sparked a throwback challenge earlier this year where people recreated their childhood photos as adults.
Pop singer Carys, born Aviva Mongillo from Markham, Ont., became a breakout success on TikTok last year when her song “Princesses Don’t Cry” was shared widely on the app.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published October 28, 2020.