Music interview – Marika Hackman: ‘I just had a lot on my mind and it felt like it was just so much easier to get off my chest all in one go’

Marika Hackman
Marika Hackman
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Marika Hackman is a 25-year-old London-based singer-songwriter who recently released her second album, I’m Not Your Man, to acclaim in the national press. Ahead of her appearance at Leeds Festival on Saturday August 26, she spoke to the YEP.

On the release of your new track you’re quoted as saying ‘you may annoy a few die hard folk fans’. So, what’s been the initial consensus in the first week of its release?

You know what, I haven’t really had chance to reflect so far, as I’ve been doing the initial press run and a lot of inshore sessions. When I looked back and showed my friends, they all loved it, however with the new elements I’ve added in, and because I’ve strayed away from my original album, they were a little overwhelmed; in a good way though. The reaction in, at the stores, has been really awesome, however I’ve yet to see the reviews.

And as for annoying those die hard fans we just mentioned?

I thought it might, but so far so good! I just thought the fans that loved the first album might not be so on board with this one due to there being some drastic changes in the genre, and the music having a heavier sound. That said, I always want to challenge myself, try new things and push the envelope.

And the in-stores sessions have been great?

I desperately wanted to record the album live, and of course, you can’t do that without a band. It was a really refreshing journey I went on with the band on this album.

Marika Hackman

Yeah, absolutely, they always help me gauge the music. Every response has been amazing and I’ve had a lot of people hang back and ask questions and offer their support too. So I’m really grateful for that.

You’ve covered a lot of areas with the release, from femininity, sexual identity and living in a fast paced and social media bubble to name but a few. What was it like trying to marry all those issues together when planning the track order?

That’s so right! I just had a lot on my mind and it felt like, when I wrote it, it was just so much easier to get off my chest all in one go. In terms of track design, I always knew ‘Cigarette’ was going to go in the middle as it was a time to reflect on the album; a kind of interval, intermission if you like. ‘Boyfriend’ was always going to start because it’s always good to have a laugh right at the start. And for me it was only natural to have ‘I’d Rather Be with Them’ at the end as its just so sad, you could never follow it with anything else.

I see you strayed away form the original in a lot of aspects. You also mentioned it’s been a dream to do this album because you’ve always wanted to front a band and do something a little more edgy; did you design the album with that in mind?

Totally. It gets quite lonely touring on your own as well. There is an obvious dynamic a band can bring that really creates a different empathy. I always had the idea I’d do it eventually and, I guess you’re right, I just wanted that band sound, if you like. I also desperately wanted to record the album live, and of course, you can’t do that without a band. It was a really refreshing journey I went on with the band on this album.

I suppose with the gig and festival season on the horizon you will get to do to this? Leeds Festival being one.

I have a few events on, but Leeds Festival is a great festival and I always have a great time there. You can always tell when you have made good music as they really have a good ear there. The city is great as well.

Tell us about your backing band The Big Moon, how did you guys meet?

I actually met them a couple of years ago at one of their shows and we completely hit it off. I really loved their music and it was just fitting that, when I wrote this album, they would jump on board with me and create a great piece. They also have a great energy on stage which is so positive for me.

I suppose it’s also nice working with your friends?

Of course, I felt safe with them. I arranged all the parts as well so it was easier for me to direct them if you like. One of the band, I can’t reveal who now, went out and bought a few whistles from the corner shop; I was like what are they for? We used them and they sounded cool. You couldn’t do that if you feel uncomfortable with the people surrounding you, in my opinion.

Your artwork is really cool too, you’ve incorporated messages within it from the album.

I really love artwork in general, but, I really love artwork than you can look at over and over again and take a message from. We spoke about different messages coming from the album and you can actually pick them out within the artwork; and that’s something I really wanted to portray. I’d like to think people who buy it get that too.

And the artist is a good friend of yours?

I’ve known him for about nine years. He was originally a friend of a friend. I was halfway through the record actually before I asked him and as soon as I did he jumped on board.

Going back to Leeds Festival, what can people expect?

It will be loud, I can tell you that. The four-piece band will help with that. It will be a lot heavier than even the album because of the band as well. So look forward to that.

I’m Not Your Man out now. Marika Hackman will perform Leeds Festival on August 26. www.leedsfestival.com

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