ABOVE: MARIKA HACKMAN
Marika Hackman is not just another girl with a guitar. Though the Hampshire native’s haunting voice might bring Nico and Joanna Newsom to mind—and, like those forebears, she pairs thoughtful lyrics with her unique vocals—Hackman’s influence has impacted the world of fashion as well. Last year, she became a face of Burberry eyewear, and the brand produced Hackman’s first music video, which debuted on YouTube.
The London folk-pop singer worked with Charlie Andrew (Alt-J’s producer) on her mini album, That Iron Taste, which was released earlier this year. Today, we’re pleased to premiere Hackman’s video for the acoustic version of “Cannibal.” The song’s emotive quality is amplified by Hackman’s performance of the track in a tunnel, shot beautifully in black and white.
Hackman will release an EP at the end of this year, with upcoming shows in the UK. The songstress has yet to tour the U.S., but hopes to come Stateside next year. We chatted with her about social greed, her musical family, and “Blurred Lines.”
ILANA KAPLAN: I’m so stoked to be premiering “Cannibal.”
MARIKA HACKMAN: Aw, thanks.
KAPLAN: What made you come up with the idea for a mini record?
HACKMAN: I just felt like an EP wouldn’t be quite enough to make that kind of initial statement. I had all of the songs ready to go and they all fit together. I thought it would be good to release them as a slightly bigger package, but not a full album because that would be a really big step to come straight out with that. It was sort of like an easing into the beginning of my career, I suppose.
KAPLAN: Is a full-length record in the future for this year, or is it a bigger undertaking for later on?
HACKMAN: It will probably be next year. I’m going to have another EP out later this year. Then I’ll work towards a full length for sometime early next year.
KAPLAN: The anticipation won’t kill me, then. Who have you been musically inspired by?
HACKMAN: When I first started writing, I was really inspired by Laura Veirs. She was a really big inspiration and inspired me to start writing. I grew up with lots of different stuff being played by my parents: Joni Mitchell, Simon & Garfunkel and heavier stuff like, Led Zeppelin. Yeah, just a really good base of songwriters.
KAPLAN: Nice. When was it that you realized you wanted to be a musician?
HACKMAN: I’ve always had it as a dream since I was really small. I started to take it a bit more seriously when I learned how to write properly when I was 13 or 14. I saw it as a viable career option when I was 18. I thought, I’m going to start trying it and see how it goes.
KAPLAN: So, how did you curate the songs for That Iron Taste? What was the story behind the mini record?
HACKMAN: Those songs were all written quite far apart. Some were written three or four years ago. I don’t know. I think they all have quite a similar vibe. When we worked on the harmonies in the studio, it freshened up the ones that had been sitting around for a while. I had a collection of songs that were ready to go that I was happy with, and I just wanted to get them out there. Not too much of a story there, but that’s just how it came about.
KAPLAN: Are you from a musical family? Or are you the first to embark upon a career in music?
HACKMAN: I’ve got kind of a musical background. My granny is a piano teacher, and my grandpa plays the saxophone in a jazz band. My dad did a lot of stuff in music studios when he was younger. He plays the piano and flute. My mom plays the piano. My parents just love music, so I grew up in a house where music was always played. My brother is also a musician. Everyone has their toes in the water.
KAPLAN: Wow! You definitely come from a musical family. We’re premiering the video for the acoustic version of “Cannibal.” Can you tell me why the track and video are so significant?
HACKMAN: Well, basically, I was just sitting down doing my usual playing on my guitar and seeing if any ideas happened. It was actually the first song I wrote after buying my electric guitar. I was sitting down playing and the words, “Have you seen my nose? I cut it off last night. Let’s just hope it grows. I’d hate to look a fright” just kind of popped into my head as the first few words when I was coming up with the melody. From then on, I structured it around those few words. The lyrics talk about how consumers in our society have that human-intrinsic greed and how we’re shooting ourselves in the foot, really, and not really allowing ourselves to evolve. Everyone just wants to have the best things that they can all the time. That really exaggerates it obviously, but yeah.
KAPLAN: Cool. I think when I had read your bio I saw that you were driven by feminist philosophy. How does that come into play in your music?
HACKMAN: I’m not so much driven by it, but it appears quite a lot in my stuff. I think that came from the video for “Bath is Black,” which is highlighting the way that women are so objectified in music videos these days. It all seems perfectly acceptable. That was a part that I wanted to highlight and show that it’s actually a bit gross. It’s something that probably creeps into my songs because I am a girl, and I think about these things.
KAPLAN: Are there certain artists that stand out to you that really do objectify women in their music videos?
HACKMAN: I mean, the biggest one in particular just from very recently would be Robin Thicke: that video for “Blurred Lines,” which is just basically objectifying women on a plate. I read the lyrics to the song the other day and there’s some line that says “I’ll give you something that I’ll rip your ass into,” which is obviously horrific. Stuff like that, and that hit number one. There are people posting it and thinking it’s really cool. It’s not even tongue-in-cheek. It’s just putting it out there like, yes, we’re objectifying women. I just find it a bit weird that people praise it.
MARIKA HACKMAN’S MINI LP THAT IRON TASTE IS OUT NOW. FOR MORE ON THE ARTIST, PLEASE VISIT HER WEBSITE.