Tim Bluhm, The Mother Hips Interview

Saturday Aug. 2nd, 2014

Live From The Divide producer Jason Wickens caught up with Tim Bluhm of The Mother Hips for a interview about songwriting.     

JW: What instrument did you start with?

TB: I took piano lessons when I was a little kid but it didn’t really stick. I learned how to sing by going to church and singing with my Mom. It wasn’t until I was 17 after I had graduated from high school that my friend gave me an old nylon string guitar. That’s when I started playing guitar and writing songs.

JW: When you first started putting songs together where you naturally drawn to melody or the lyric?

TB: When I first started out I guess they came at the same time. It wasn’t by design it just happened that way. In college I was a creative writing major so I was writing and reading poetry for the most part and it coincided nicely with playing guitar. I had a professor that thought I had promise as a writer and told me so, that was really encouraging for me. As I started to go through college and get a little bit older I quickly saw that writing poetry was an amazing thing. If I could just do that and play songs instead of just write them, my social life would be a lot more varied and interesting. From there it seemed like a good path to write songs instead of poems.

JW: When you sit down to write a song where do you generally pull your inspiration from?

TB: I get more inspired by reading. Or by hearing a song that I really like that just touches me. It wouldn’t be uncommon to be listening to an album, get an idea and have to turn the record off and go write some stuff down. But I would say that reading is the biggest catalyst for me.

JW: Which artists would you say has had the biggest influenced on you as a songwriter?

TB: The Beatles of course would be the standard answer. They’re songs are so good and have so much energy and power that as a songwriter its a great place to start. From there I splintered off into Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Gene Clark from The Byrds. Also, I was really inspired by The Everly Brothers. I would say that all the bands I mentioned were a big influence and a huge part of the Mother Hips formula.

JW: How does the Mother Hips approach songwriting as a band?

TB: I write the majority of the songs and Greg writes quite a few. We get together and work out parts but most of the writing happens on our own. Greg and I know each other so well that we almost don’t have to be honest with each other because we know what the other person is going to think about any given song.

JW: When did you first get into producing other bands?

TB: The Mother Hips were taking a break and I thought it was a good time to aspire to learn more about recording so I could produce records for other people. I bought some simple recording equipment and starting figuring it out by reading books and doing it a lot. Early on I found people that wanted to record that were in inexperienced as well. Nicki was one of those people. I saw her sing and said you have a good voice we should record, so we did.  

JW: How has Nicki influenced you as a songwriter?

TB: I started writing for her and It was an interesting exercise at first. I think I was ready to stop writing so much in the first person. It’s a common practice that I feel is a bit overdone. It was a way for me to step outside of myself. I find myself writing more as a character and in the case of Nicki I’m writing as a woman. It opens up the whole practice and makes it more varied for me as a songwriter.

JW: What advice would you give to aspiring songwriters?

TB: Read a lot.

JW: We love The Mother Hips & Nicki Bluhm here in Bozeman, MT. Would you guys consider being featured together for a Live From The Divide?

TB: We would love to do that. We could come up and do our duets record. Thats a good idea.

August 29th & 30th Live From The Divide is presenting The Mother Hips for two nights. On Friday catch The Mothers hips for an intimate 50 seat show at Live From The Divide. On Saturday The Mother Hips are headlining a BLOCK PARTY behind Peach Street Studios. Full service bar & chicken from The Roost will be available. Local artist Jason Wickens will kick off the party at 4 PM followed by local bands Bigsby Jones and Power Wagon. The Mother Hips will take the stage at 8 PM.

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