definition of new song · 1 the new record by Mummy’s a Tree 2 a new episode in the history of the band
Mummy’s a Tree 3 a new song, the outcome of hard labour and the result of a singular moment of
inspiration, which is often induced, however, by the simplest of things: e.g. the purchase of a set of exotic
horn guitar picks from Ali Express. During some ten hours of playing the picks break one by one (not
very sustainable!), but the premature passing of a pick can be the simultaneous birth of a new song and
the impetus of a new record.
Early 2020 singer/songwriter/guitarist Stefan van den Berg heads for Berlin accompanied by bassist Rick
Weren and drummer Imre Elzer. The goal is to create a ‘big sounding’ record. If it turned out that way?
The band believes it did. June 2021 King Forward Records releases the album, entitled New Song. It’s the
result of a quest that led Stefan to the realisation that of all things in life, music is the one that, at least for
him, makes all narratives converge.
Back in time to November 1996 – Mummy’s a Tree’s debut record appears. But the seed was already
planted earlier. The untimely self-elected death of Stefan’s mother becomes the breeding ground for
sixteen fairytale-like songs. Ethereal but still gritty: Stefan records the album at home using one and the
same microphone plugged into his trusty 4-track, overdubbing nearly every part himself. His guitar, so it
goes in the announcement of his first gig, is made from the tree that grew on his mother’s grave. A
comforting transformation. Fans of the band pronounce it a cult masterpiece. The record receives interest
on a national level, too: Mummy’s a Tree ends up on the NPI’s Characters CD (with Racoon a.o.),
reaches the finals of De Grote Prijs and plays support shows for dEUS, My Morning Jacket, Big Country,
Bettie Serveert and The Long Winters.
Fast forward to March 2020, just before the lockdown – Mummy’s a Tree records its sixth album. Thanks
to a successful crowdfunding campaign and a subsidy from the Sena Music Production Fund the band can
afford a short stay at the legendary Berlin Hansa Studio ‘by the wall’. The spiritual presence of famous
musicians that preceded them (David Bowie, U2) and a production team consisting of Gordon Raphael
(The Strokes, Regina Spektor) and Daniel Benyamin (Sea + Air a.o.) gives the band the boost necessary
for a new instalment: a New Song.
March - September 2020 - Back in Nijmegen the recordings are meticulously edited and mixed. The
pandemic provokes reflection but it also sheds new light on recorded material. Apart from queries such as
‘when will we be able to play shows again?’ and ‘will the culture sector survive the crisis?’ the question
arises: ‘Isn’t this a fitting moment to think thoroughly about the kind of world we wish to leave future
Stefan is now the same age his mother was when she departed this life. It was her portrait on the cover the
debut record, 25 years ago. Now his own portrait is the face of New Song. Unembellished: what you see
is what you get. Stefan never wanted to become a pop idol. Focus on the music, if you please.
New Song is ‘a record of hope’. Thematically, it refers to desperately needed change, other worlds and
sustainability, as evidenced by White Spot, Stop Breaking Down and the title track New Song. All of This
tells of transformation and spirituality. The financial crisis is signalled in Face Wash. But romantic songs
have their place, too: All My Thoughts, Lets Go on a Journey, Spring is Coming and Pipeline, a love song
with a twist. Bye and Leader in Town tell of the fight against fear and the struggle for personal change.
October 2020 – Mummy’s a Tree meets Frank Bond, frontman of AlascA and head of his own label. King
Forward Records has released New Song on 11 June 2021. A vinyl release on Daniel Benyamin’s new
Berlin-based label, Ghost Palace, is scheduled for the end of the year.
The band has now been going for a quarter of a century, but – as opposed to the guitar pick that inspired
the title track – the adventure goes on, and has only just begun. There’s no telling where this will end.
And that’s what makes it so exciting.
The Beatles, Porno for Pyros, Jesus Christ Superstar, Nick Drake, Jeff & Tim Buckley, John Frusciante, Joni Mitchell