OTW #521: Marika Hackman

A bit folk, but a bit more...
Marika Hackman

You can’t fault the girl’s confidence.

“Music has always been something that I’ve wanted to do, and I’ve always trusted that I’d end up doing it some day.”

So begins Clash’s conversation with Marika Hackman – an artist ostensibly sold as a folk sort, but with more to offer than you might initially assume.

She continues: “So I left school did an art foundation course, and then decided that I didn’t want to go to university for a fine art degree, so I thought why not have a little shot [at music] and see what happens. Then that was about a year ago, and here I am.”

What’s arts loss is undoubtedly music’s gain. When Clash meets Hackman outside Brixton’s Ritzy cinema it’s clear we’re doing so at the right time. She delivered a stellar show at The Great Escape in Brighton, has enjoyed support slots with Laura Marling, and her mini-album of February, ‘That Iron Taste’, laid impressive foundations for a fantastic 2013.

But so soon into her career, Hackman already feels pigeonholed. She worries, too, that early classification of emerging artists actually hampers progression, rather than allowing such creative types to flourish.

“I have been put in a folk box by all the blogs, and that’s because I’m a girl who plays acoustic guitar now and again. I don’t mind being associated with folk, but it’s more the fact I have been pigeonholed already that’s a little unfair. I’m going to continue to explore and experiment, but it already feels like [my music] has a lid on it.”

It’s clear from ‘That Iron Taste’ that Hackman’s music is made up of so much more than just folk. Comprising medieval references, hopscotch beats and gothic harmonies, it’s a strikingly psychedelic mix, and a deeply immersive one, too. But what is abundantly clear is Marika’s way with words. Her use of language seems to come with ease, painting a focused and intimate narrative that the listener is freely able to personalise.

 “When I’m writing a song, writing the melody, I need to have words to sing whilst I’m coming up with it. So I have random words that pop into my head to create the tune, and they just stick. I have to be lucky with the first line of songs, as they are just random things that have come into my head. I’m sure poets don’t always sit down and write stuff that’s happened to them. There’s no juicy gossip here. I write my songs so that people can link them in to their own juicy gossip.

“Like with Bon Iver, the lyrics might not make any sense, but can make loads of sense if you’re feeling a certain way. It’s really odd, but you can liken it to so many situations, and I think that’s what’s really nice about music like that. You’ve found something in there that no one else has found. That’s what I’m trying to achieve.”

Hackman takes in her share of festival slots this summer, and will support fast-rising UK rockers The 1975 in September. It’s fair to say, then, that her time spent focusing on music over any other artistic pursuit has been wise indeed.

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Where: London via Brighton

What:  See below…

Get 3 Songs: ‘Bath Is Black’, ‘You Come Down’, ‘Cannibal’ (video above)

Unique Fact: Marika beats the blogs in providing her own description of her sound, via a friend. “Well, Matty from The 1975 calls it ‘some crazy whitey fit of folk’. It’s like really kinda mad, but weirdly chilled, and makes you feel a little sick.”

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Words: Matthew French

Find Marika Hackman online here

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