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By Emma Speicher

From Left to Right: Mom Cars: Cole Winters (Guitar), Jacob Thrasher (Drums), Brendon Le (Vocals and Guitar), AJ Derise (Backup Vocals and Bass). Photo by Trevor Castillo

If there is one band that knows how to sell the ultimate indie band mantra, it’s Mom Cars.

Mom Cars – vocalist and guitarist Brendon Le, drummer Jacob Thrasher, guitarist Cole Winters, and backup vocalist and bassist, AJ Derise – are the heartbeat of the Northern California indie scene. Over the course of our interview, almost a dozen people approached the band to compliment their set or reconnect with the members. Each person, old and new, was greeted like a familiar friend with a handshake or hug, and a smile from the band. Their music and energy encapsulate the inclusive and cheerful spirit of the live music scene that draws newcomers in and welcomes fans back.

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Photos by Trevor Castillo

Mom Cars got their start as a high school talent show act that later evolved into a serious band that have been playing shows since 2020. All members affectionately remember the constant theme of music throughout their life. Winters fondly looks back upon the guitar lessons from his mother, while Derise recalls his short-lived initial resentment of music, coupled with his up-and-down relationship with the guitar and how Le suggested that he play bass for the talent show act, which stuck.  Thrasher got his inspiration on drums from a scene of Sharpay from High School Musical tapping her pen in a rhythmic pattern, applying it to his own Christmas drum set. Le got his start from middle school choir playing ukulele, and later picked up guitar and songwriting after watching a friend play. Le assembled the high school friends and created Mom Cars, the rest is history.

About the Band…

Photo By Trevor Castillo
Photos 1, 3 by Trevor Castillo; Photos 2, 4 by Sam Z.

What is so alluring about Mom Cars is their passion and commitment to their music, with the members working full-time jobs or – in Winters’ case – attending college, in tandem with touring and writing new music. Bands like The Backseat Lovers, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and Kings of Leon are huge inspirations to the band, who often cover their songs and echo their styles in their original work.

Photo by Trevor Castillo

Mom Cars has toured all over the west coast playing with other indie rock hardhitters like Charity Kiss, Trash Day, Trestles, Stereotongue, and Flamingos in the Tree, to name a few. While house shows hold a special place in their heart as they believe that the energy and connection to their listeners is unmatched, they have played at venues like Reno’s legendary Fort Ralston and The Strand, Santa Cruz’s Catalyst Club, Sacramento’s Starlet Room, and San Francisco’s Brick & Mortar Music Hall.

Photo by Trevor Castillo

In late June 2023, the band released their first LP, Colder, a massive accomplishment for the band. Le draws much of his lyrical inspiration from past relationships and speaks candidly of his struggles with mental health.

“For a while I feel like mental illness was thrown under the carpet, but I appreciate that it’s becoming more apparent and more accepted since everyone is going through it, and writing about it always hits home” – Brendon Le

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Photos by Sam Z.

Colder is a powerful culmination of the bands most popular singles and tracks that showcase the entire band’s musical talents including a songwriting and vocal debut from Derise. The band hopes that listeners can find comfort and relatability in Mom Cars’ music and be inspired to discover other niche outlets of musical expression.

“When people tell us that they listen to our music in their daily lives, that’s such a huge compliment. It’s like you’re making us apart of your life. It’s like a soundtrack and it means a lot” – AJ Derise

Photo by Trevor Castillo

Mom Cars has what it takes to make it. From their genuine and meaningful music to their entertaining and welcoming shows, Mom Cars is the heartbeat of the new and upcoming scene even though they do not, in fact, drive mom cars.

Special thanks to Mom Cars, Trevor Castillo, Fort Ralston, and Sam Z. !