Step into Cousin Marnie’s world of intriguing leftfield pop paired with a country influence, layered upon hip-hop style production. A brooding, wistful take on four Carter Family tracks formed the basis of her debut EP, ‘In Sleeping’, with a wonderfully indefinable sound and a heady mix of light and dark.
When Clash catches up with her, she’s in Austin for South By Southwest, having played a set the night before, hosted by BBC Introducing.
“It felt like I had been chosen in The Hunger Games,” she laughs. “It was like going to The Capitol and having to put on fancy dresses, and just do it. The venue was amazing; it opened out onto the street. It was really cool having a sense of the outdoors.”
Back in London, Cousin Marnie (real name Julie Ann Hartigan) is still submerged in the recording process of her second EP, of which her latest track, the ethereally gothic ‘Cain’, will definitely feature. She’s joined forces with producer David Kosten, who has worked with Bat For Lashes, for the new release.
“We both have massive respect for each other, and share the same sonic palette, so there’s not much verbal articulation that has to happen,” she muses on working with Kosten, before focusing on the sound she’s looking to create.
“I wouldn’t describe myself as an electronic artist, as I’m not articulate enough with synths. I haven’t adhered to one discipline, I just use whatever I think the song wants to use. It’s kind of like scoring a film; there’s an idea and you need to see what works best in amplifying that vision.”
Being raised in an Irish Catholic family has had an influence on her writing and sound, she tells Clash: “I think it’s an incredibly spirited background to come from. There’s a vast amount of artistry, spirituality and mysticism there.”
As a child, Cousin Marnie spent many summers visiting Alfred Hitchcock film locations, which has also been an artistic influence. “I am definitely hugely responsive to visuals; Hitchcock and his sense of cinema is a big presence. When you remember reenacting the suicide scene from Vertigo in the local swimming pool at the age of six, that’s when you know it was probably quite formative!”
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WHAT: Leftfield pop with country and hip-hop influences
GET 3 SONGS: ‘Cain’ (above), ‘You’ve Been Fooling Me Baby’, ‘’Til Death Do Us Part’
FACT: She’s pretty into sharks, and claims to have watched every shark-attack film ever made.
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Words: Hana Barten
Photo: Lorenzo Dalbosco
Fashion: Lola Chatterton