Still only in her mid-20s, former Brighton resident Marika Hackman has been making spellbindingly personal music since the Johnny Flynn-produced debut single ‘You Come Down’ was released in 2012. Both Flynn and Hackman are former pupils of the esteemed Bedales School (Hackman was there after winning a scholarship), where she met model Cara Delevingne, and subsequently formed a short-lived band with her. A self-taught guitarist, her recent album I’m Not Your Man introduced a bigger, more guitar-orientated sound, enabled by the recruitment of her buddies The Big Moon on most of the album.
I’d been anticipating Marika Hackman’s new album since the release of her single ‘Boyfriend’ back in March. It’s been a slow few months of teasing new tracks and releasing singles in the run up to the release. She’s teamed up with The Big Moon to serve as her backing band for this album, giving it a sharper modern indie edge to it. You can hear that it’s The Big Moon playing on the album as well, it gives it a live room sound and adds a certain fragility to the songs.
Finally, her debut album. A work that does not feature any of her previous output, and yet remains unmistakably hers, such are the icy textures of her distinctive voice, and a largely moody sound that largely favours the flavours of timeless folk, modern electronics, and choral symphonics.
Marika was at the end of her 9 week tour round the UK when I saw her perform her set at the Green Door Store.
Through the heavily draped entrance of the main room I could hear O. Chapman’s (the support) melancholic vocals and sympathetic guitar innocently permeating through the crowd. O. Chapman publicises “I’m now going to play you my masterpiece ” which is called ‘Relapser’, an amalgamation of archetypal folk inspired guitar, seamlessly flowing into sections where his guitar pedal was pushing the guitar sound into reverse. I hope to catch his next performance as soon as possible.
To make it in the highly competitive world of music you have to be super dedicated, work your butt off, and try and close down as many distractions as you can. Joni Mitchell famously did that, working all hours of the day to get a song just right, finding the space and quiet to get ‘in the zone’. Nick Cave has an ‘office’ that he goes to where he just writes, thinks and writes. Paul McCartney used to get in to ‘work’ before anyone else so that he could develop ideas in solitude. It’s a side of the music industry you don’t see very often, and for good reason… artists like to show off their finished works, not some half-finished scrap. It’s all about the mystique, the mysterious ways in which creative types get from A to B.
I remember seeing Marika Hackman when she first started performing and was playing with a full band back in 2011 and since being signed has grown into one of my favourite recording singer/songwriters with her quirky and innovative chord choices and hauntingly beautiful lyrics.
So the time had come for The Great Escape’s ‘Spring Party’. However ‘Spring’ was certainly not in the air. Brighton seemed pretty deserted until I arrived at The Green Door Store which was buzzing with anticipation for an evening of great music.