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December 2018 / January 2019
Feature|Feature

Marika Hackman can't wait to "smack everyone round the head" with her new album

Marika's changing things up for album two.
Published: 8:02 am, April 10, 2017
Marika Hackman can't wait to "smack everyone round the head" with her new album
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Stepping out of her "quite introspective world", Marika Hackman is back with a much heavier, grungy sound. With backing band vocals from one of Dork's favourite four-pieces – and her "great mates" - The Big Moon, her new tongue-in-cheek banger, ‘Boyfriend', is far louder and 'rock out' than anything she's put out to date. Poking fun at guys who see lesbian relationships as less than, or a joke, the Hampshire-born artist has made an empowering, feminist anthem.

"I knew that I wanted to have a heavier, tour band, live sound," Marika begins. "I was wondering whether I should get musicians in for a session band, but The Big Moon are great mates of mine – they're a lot of fun, and they have the exact sound that I was aiming for." After that eureka moment Marika went out for a drink with lead guitarist Sophie and tested the water. "I asked if it would be something they'd be up for – I was so scared that they might say ‘Ahh, no, fuck off' and it'd ruin our friendship. But it turned out that they wanted to, so it was all a happy ending and very, very fun!" she recalls, relieved and excited.

Marika first fell in love with The Big Moon when she saw them perform at an awards show more than a year ago. "I went with my girlfriend. We both watched them play, and we thought ‘Right, they look big – the music's really fun, I want to hang out with them'." Soon after their set, they found themselves having a "wild night" at The Dolphin in Hackney and exchanging numbers. Since then, they've stayed "glued to each other's side; we go to lots of gigs together, have Sunday roasts and cosy afternoons at the pub. We're not all raging party animals…" she reassures, laughing. "We just started to hang out and liked each other's company. It was a proper friend crush situation."

"pull" text="It was just so much fun.


What struck Marika most about The Big Moon was the element of fun that they bring to music. "They're so amazing live; I wanted to bring a live sound to a song and record it live. I needed a band that had that chemistry already, and they have such good, live chemistry," she gushes. "I hoped that I could maybe slot into that because I have a friendship chemistry with them all… it just seemed like it would be a perfect fit, and I liked the fact that, what with the song content being what it is, to have an all-female band having a laugh, catching a humour that's there but also bringing a lot of female energy to it. I thought that would be appropriate."

The way ‘Boyfriend' came to life was completely different from how Marika is used to working. "I've never recorded music in that way before – I'm very used to just going into the studio and stripping back demos, layering them up again from the bottom, in a very controlled environment," she recalls. "But going into rehearsals with the girls, I just knew what everyone was going to be doing; we could just rehearse and then get in the studio to smash it out."[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=".vc_custom_1491811074031{margin-top: 10px !important;margin-bottom: 30px !important;border-top-width: 10px !important;border-right-width: 10px !important;border-bottom-width: 10px !important;border-left-width: 10px !important;padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;border-left-color: #0a0a0a !important;border-left-style: solid !important;border-right-color: #0a0a0a !important;border-right-style: solid !important;border-top-color: #0a0a0a !important;border-top-style: solid !important;border-bottom-color: #0a0a0a !important;border-bottom-style: solid !important;}
Marika on… Tristan Pigott's ‘Boyfriend' artwork



"I've known him for four or five years and have always been a really big fan of his work so I got in touch… There's the cucumber as a phallic symbol, but it's taking it quite tongue-in-cheek, as a bit humorous yet still dark but still seeing the light side. He's got a really lovely style – it's almost hyper real, very illustrative. I love it – very flat and surreal but very detailed paint work. I've been impressed by him for a long time so it's been really nice working with him.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Though she was, understandably, quite nervous about embracing a new way of working, Marika's not looking back. "When we were actually in the studio and playing together, it was just so much fun. I don't know if I'll really go back to working another way again. It's just nice having lots of people in a studio, bringing a bit of energy and fun. It's a totally different atmosphere - much less serious, as well, and ‘Boyfriend' is a much less serious song than anything I've done before, so..."

‘Boyfriend' is a reinvention that's a million miles away from the atmospheric, dark folk sounds of her 2015 debut album, ‘We Slept at Last'. And the subject matter is, too. "It's about how, a lot of the time, lesbian relationships are considered to hold less value compared to heterosexual relationships. It seems that it's often born out of male fantasy. I've been in situations where I've been with girls, and we're kissing, and guys would come up and ask to join in or shout stuff. It's about all of those situations that you're put in, and also hearing guys saying things like ‘I wouldn't care if my girlfriend cheated on me with another girl, but if it were a guy I'd go ballistic' – why? Like, why are you undervaluing those relationships?" Marika questions, reflecting on the serious-yet-humorous hit.

"pull" text="I can't wait to smack everyone 'round the head.


"There's a lot of humour in there – some very funny lines," she considers. "I want people to see the irony, the sarcasm and the tongue-in-cheek nature that runs throughout the song, and also to feel quite empowered. And, also, musically it's a fun song – I was going for a Wheatus-esque vibe because that's the shit I was listening to. It's got quite a strong, dark message but that doesn't mean you can't listen to it and rock out a little bit and see the funny side…" As for the lyrical content, the words of ‘Boyfriend' just popped into Marika's head. "I hadn't really thought about the message before I wrote it. It just started flowing out, and I went with it because I thought it was a unique take on that message and I hadn't really heard a song saying that before, so I thought I'd give it a go."

This new-found, heavier sound is something that fans can look forward to a lot more on her second album, ‘I'm Not Your Man'. "It's in a similar vein [to ‘Boyfriend'] – but there are still moments harkening back to my older style but in a very new package." Having been holed up working on it for the last year, Marika admits that "unfortunately, I've been a complete cultural hermit… I get so wrapped up in what I'm doing and don't want any distractions," she says, revealing that she chooses not to listen to music when working on her own material, "even though it's probably a really dumb way of doing things because you need to be inspired…"[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=".vc_custom_1491811063759{margin-top: 10px !important;margin-bottom: 30px !important;border-top-width: 10px !important;border-right-width: 10px !important;border-bottom-width: 10px !important;border-left-width: 10px !important;padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;border-left-color: #0a0a0a !important;border-left-style: solid !important;border-right-color: #0a0a0a !important;border-right-style: solid !important;border-top-color: #0a0a0a !important;border-top-style: solid !important;border-bottom-color: #0a0a0a !important;border-bottom-style: solid !important;}
A little help from my friends...



Hello, The Big Moon. You helped Marika Hackman with ‘Boyfriend'. How did that come about?
Celia: She's a good friend of ours. She came to one of our gigs at the Moth Club, we just went dancing afterwards, and we've been friends ever since. We were in the pub one night, and she was nervous. ‘What's up?' we asked, and she started mumbling and asked ‘I've written this song, would you want to play it with me?' Obviously, we said yes. A thousand times yes. ‘Omg, I was so nervous even asking you. I thought you'd say no.'
Soph: I remember her skipping to the loo. I've been listening to her music before we met, before we even started this band.
Celia: I remember someone saying that Marika Hackman's coming tonight, to that gig, and me screaming.
Jules: I remember meeting her afterwards when we'd gone dancing and introducing myself: ‘Hi, I'm Jules. What's your name?' thinking 'I know you're Marika Hackman'. And now we're just pals.
Celia: Cheeky Mariky. Sweet Marie. Your friend and mine.

And how was it working with her?
Celia: It was great. She's so good.
Soph: Her parts are so good and she was relaxed. She came into our practice room, and it happened really quickly.
Jules: We recorded that before we recorded our album so it kinda felt like a practice run. She's so good at staying calm and working with a producer and leaving it, you don't have to be worried. You don't have to be here all night. Do it until it's done, and sometimes, if you're not sure, you can go home and come back the next day and do something more productive, rather than just killing yourself over it.
Soph: She killed herself very calmly.
Celia: She was great to work with and is a great person. And friend.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Instead of sitting down and listening to albums in full, she finds inspiration from being on the road and touring. "I get my musical fill, and I read lots of books as well. When I'm in the process of writing and recording, I'm just so focused on what I'm doing and getting a very pure sound that's really cohesive with the whole record." As well as a new album, out in June, Marika is preparing for her return to the live stage. "It's been a really long time, and I can't wait now because it's a completely different live set-up. It's proper band-sounding, and it's going to be how I've always kind of wanted to perform onstage – not just standing there in my own quite introspective world.

"I can actually have a shared experience with everyone on the stage and in the audience, and just let go and have fun," she says enthusiastically. With festival slots already lined up for The Great Escape in May and End of the Road later in the year, Marika is "itching to get back on the road. The rehearsals have been sounding really cool. I just can't wait to smack everyone 'round the head with this new sound."

Marika Hackman's album 'I'm Not Your Man' is out 2nd June.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link="
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