Mobina Galore left behind B.C.’s largest city for Winnipeg and ended up recording a solid LP that’s largely inspired by our thriving punk scene. The duo, which formed near the end of 2010, recorded its debut EP, Skeletons, in Vancouver - a city at times suitable for partying but not quite as convenient for working on a record.
“Everything was really live off the floor and low budget,” says Jenna Priestner, the 29-year-old vocalist and guitarist. “Plus doing vocals at three in the morning was a little bit ridiculous.”
The duo started taking its songwriting more seriously when it relocated to Winnipeg, mostly because that’s where drummer Marcia Hanson grew up.
“She had some family stuff go down so we thought we’d head out here and give being a band a try,” Priestner says, adding that she grew up in Edmonton.
The band cites the Distillers as one of its biggest influences, a punk group that’s defined by front-woman Brody Dalle’s gruff pipes and clearly inspired by Rancid. Union Stockyards, Propagandhi and the Winnipeg punk scene in general has also left a lasting impression on Mobina Galore.
“So many bands here are really inspiring, especially because you can get to know them and you can go watch them play on a regular basis,” Priestner says.
The duo even chose to record its debut full-length record at Private Ear with John Paul Peters because that’s where Propagandhi made its latest record, Failed States.
“I had no idea if he’d even work with a newer band like us, but he was totally on board,” Priestner says. “Moving forward we wanted something more meticulous and wanted to make sure that everything ended up exactly how we wanted it to sound. It was our first time being in a legitimate studio and it was a little bit intimidating at first, but he ended up helping us make an awesome record that we’re pretty stoked about.”
The album title Cities Away is inspired by a line on “Pieces of You,” one of the album’s standout tracks, which includes rough vocals and crunchy power chords. All of the songs have been written in various Western Canadian cities, summing up the general themes of being restless and away from the things you love most. But that particular tune is even more personal since it deals with the death of Hanson’s father, the life-changing event that caused Mobina Galore to relocate to Winnipeg in the first place.
“It’s a touching song, even though I’m screaming the whole time. You just get out all the frustration, anger and sadness when you play it,” Priestner explains, adding it’s also the first track she and Hanson co-wrote lyrically.
After a string of great local gigs, a little touring and some airplay on CBC Radio 3, the band is moving forward full force.
“Our goal is to just keep the momentum going and keep touring as much as we can once the record drops.”