The summer is starting to feel like a bit of a distant memory already so here’s an opportunity to reminisce about this year’s Green Man Festival, which included a cracking solo performance on the main stage from Marika Hackman. AMBY caught up with Marika just a few moments before her slot to discuss how she feels about her latest record now, along with her cinematic influences, Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn and Coronation Street!
AMBY: Hi Marika. Thanks for talking to AMBY today. Last time we spoke to you, you were in the process of writing your record and particularly happy with the lyrics for ‘Before I Sleep’. Describe your feelings about the record now.
Marika: It’s funny because it feels so far removed now. Obviously it’s still my little baby, it’s been out there but I’ve so moved on into the headspace of the next one. It feels like a very comfortable space for me back there and I’m so happy with the way that it went and now that it’s out and the reception that it’s had, but I’m really flared up and ready to go with the next one.
AMBY: The record has a hypnotic quality to it, full of foreboding. Was it your intention to create a record this dark, or is the process more organic than that?
Marika: It’s more organic than that. I never really set out, or not with that record anyway, to do it in a certain way or create something in a certain way. As you’re going along, things start slotting into place and you follow whatever direction it’s taking you, so yeah, it’s definitely one of those records that exists as a whole thing, you can’t just pull things out of it out of context, it all gels together and it creates this whole atmosphere I think. And I like very atmospheric music.
AMBY: So, bearing that in mind, if the album could only be listened to in one place in the entire world where would you like that to be.
Marika: I would say somewhere very isolated. But I don’t know if I’d want to make it creepier by putting it in a cave. That might be overkill, you know!
AMBY: Is this your first time at The Green Man?
Marika: No, I came here two years ago. It was one of my first run of festivals and I was playing on the Walled Garden Stage. I remember, it was really, really hot and I didn’t have any sunglasses and I was sweating profusely and I was like ‘oh my god!’ but I really loved it!
AMBY: What do you enjoy about performing to festival crowds and how does this compare to more intimate surroundings?
Marika: Well, you lose the intimacy which in a way is a shame for me because I do crave that with shows but what I really like is that it can be so diverse. Every festival is different and you never know what you’re going to get which is exciting because it brings a bit of the thrill back in to it. Changing up the sets for different festivals and things like today I’ll be playing solo which is quite daunting because I’m on the main stage!
AMBY: The last show I saw you play in Stoke was also a solo gig, but this was a much more intimate venue.
Marika: It was, but I have to tailor the sets to the different audiences.
AMBY: Beware of the wasps apparently! I know you had the fly incident a while ago and Natalie Prass had an issue with a wasp yesterday!
Marika: Really, Oh, god! Okay. I always get stung by wasps. Always!
AMBY: I read that you’re a fan or Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’.
Marika: Ha! I think everyone is aren’t they?
AMBY: Absolutely! But why do you think certain songs never seem to get old?
Marika: I think when they’re just really fucking well written you know. When you have a song that hits like that… it’s a pop song… it’s quite fun and it’s just stuck around because there’s an element of nostalgia for a lot of people growing up around that time. But songs can last the strength of time if they’ve got something that other songs don’t, they’re constructed a certain way that hits people in a certain place that nothing else does at that moment.
AMBY: Is it an exact science then, or is it luck?
Marika: I think it’s a mixture. It’s a mixture of intelligent songwriting and also having enough soul to be able to feel something that’s going to really hit with people
AMBY: Cool, so would you consider adding it to your setlist tonight?
Marika: [laughs] Err, no I don’t think so, I haven’t listened to it since I was fourteen!
AMBY: So, what is your favourite cover of all time, by another artist?
Marika: Oh, god that’s tricky… wait… ermm… well, it’s probably Nico’s These Days because, well Jackson Brown did it originally and I actually prefer her version.
AMBY: Your songs provoke very vivid imagery and your videos are particularly cinematic in their presentation. Do certain films or film makers also inspire your approach to music?
Marika: It’s funny because I always get compared to David Lynch in the soundscapes.
AMBY: Is that intentional because that’s what was going through my mind?
Marika: Yeah, it’s kind of funny because I always try to watch David Lynch films but I find them too disturbing, but I love them! But they really freak me out! And that’s exactly the sort of thing that I always try and look for in my music, and my videos as well to a certain extent because the videos for me are another way of me channelling that sort of energy that I try and put into my music. So yes, I like that comparison because although I find it difficult to watch his films, I actually kind of love him. So definitely stuff like that and I love a film called Heathers which is very colourful but very dark, I like the juxtapositions between those sort of things
AMBY: With that in mind, has your music been used in a TV or film and were you happy with the way it was used?
Marika: My mum rang me up a few weeks ago and said that Ophelia was playing in Coronation Street [laughs – it’s a British soap opera that has run for over fifty years!] but apart from that, not yet but that is something that I would really like to happen. I love that cinematic style of writing.
AMBY: Maybe you could score the next David Lynch film! Many thanks for talking to AMBY Marika. I’m really looking forward to your set. Enjoy the rest of the festival!
Marika: You too! See you soon.
Thank you Marika Hackman, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Iain Fox | @iainafoxphoto