Q & A – MARINA & THE DIAMONDS
If you don’t know this solo female songsmith quite yet, then prepare any available room between your ears as she’s going to be living in there very soon indeed.
She’s currently attracting a level of buzz most artists dream about, with slots as a featured artist on both Radio One and Radio Two, amongst the inevitable busy blog chatter. This is all after very little in the way of official releases and she certainlyisn’t ready to push the debut album above the parapet quite yet.
We adore her here at The Recommender for her clear and abundant strengths. Strengths you can spot in all the influences she names below, from Patti Smith, to Dolly Parton, to Madonna. Namely, a fiercely independentdrive, a keen interest in the usage of image and style, but it’s most obvious with her astute and brilliant ability to pen an original and melody-heavy pop song that fully snared our attention.
It’s an exciting landscape for the female solo musician in 2009, with the likes of Little Boots, La Roux and V V Brown, amongst others, appearing at a seemingly regular rate. All of them are taking back ownership of, whilst simultaneously re-inventing, the crafted, piano-led pop world.
It must also be pointed out that they all come with punchy, highly-styled vocals. Although their voices can be likened to pop stars of the past, their singing is the part of their songs that separates them from one another. And Marina is possibly the best case for this in action, with her high-pitch inflections and wide range.
We find her today in a rather gentle mood. It’s perhaps a suitable position for someone so talented that she is seemingly more comfortable when talking about her music than any personal attention she’s recently garnered. With this worthy addition to The Recommender’s Q & A’s we are pleased to bring you…
MARINA & THE DIAMONDS
Radio One are starting to take notice and the blogs have been very excited and busy chatting for some time, so do you feel you’re finally breaking through in the media now?
What have you been up to most recently?
Recording my album and rehearsing for Dermot O’Leary on Saturday. Also prepping for the mini tour
How long have you been working at your music and what made you decide to become a musician?
Over 4 years. I dont think it was so much about becoming a ‘musician’ as such. It was never apparent that I was a good writer, a good singer, or a good musician. It was more a huge, huge need to express myself in any way possible and for some reason, my insides told me that I had to be a singer. Life or death. I did a lot of dance and acting throughout my teens but I dont feel quite the same about it as I do about songwriting and performing freely on stage
You seem to not accept any references to Kate Nash when people try to describe your sound. We totally agree, as there’s definitely a clear difference, but for those people new to you, how would you describe your sound?
I suppose alternative pop. The only types of music for me are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ music and that’s it. A song should stand alone without its production and that will always be good enough for me. I don’t know who Lene Lovich is but that crops up sometimes as does the odd Kate Bush reference. I don’t mind what people compare me to really. Small fries!
Who influences you?
Strong, driven people. Patti smith, PJ Harvey, Madonna, The Distillers, Daniel Johnston, Nirvana, No Doubt, Dolly Parton
Whilst we are here, let’s try and clear up some rumours…..Your name suggests there is a backing band, so are there a pack of ‘Diamonds’ behind you? Where does the name come from?
My surname is Diamond in Greek. I didn’t want to be called Marina Diamond as a stage name. I kind of like the fantasy of having an imaginary group of people behind you. It sounds lame but I always wanted the diamonds to be the audience. There’s no point in writing music if there is no one around to hear it…
Do you write all your own music or is there someone you collaborate with? Who would be a dream collaboration for you?
I rarely write with other people but I have done a few sessions with good people and enjoyed it. I want most of my album to be my own though. Dream collab? Hmm.. Probably Brody Dalle from the Distillers. Or Robyn. Or maybe Kanye West.
We heard that you punched some idiot who fell on your keyboard mid-gig – is this true? Have you generally been received well at your live performances?
Yep. Crowds have been very good! He was just a pilled-up idiot. I hate drugs and I hate idiots, so we didn’t get on like a house on fire, lets just say.
We’ve read that you are half-Greek, half-Welsh. That’s quite a combination, so is this true and where in fact do you come from?
Yes, that’s true. I grew up in London, Greece and Wales, so I’ve moved around a fair bit.
OK, that’s quite enough of the rumours – We noticed that on your Myspace you seem to have taken a few fantastic swipes at fellow female solo artists out there, such as Lilly Allen and the wider celeb culture. Is there a message in all this?
Well yes and no. I feel like things are getting better (re: female celebrities). People realise real girls are cooler than fake girls. I’m just saying there is nothing wrong with being yourself. You can wear no makeup and eat a burger and fries and still be sexy. Society is extremely critical of females- and males too. At the time I felt angry about it and wanted to take the opportunity to say a royal “fuck off” to it – i.e. Say that you should not waste your life on this…when you’re dead and gone, will it matter? Im over it now though. It was just a personal thing. Sorry to all the celebrities I slagged off. I was being judgemental.
Have you any tours, festivals or upcoming gigs planned in the near future?
Lots of festivals in the summer! And a mini tour end of feb. Check the Myspace.
Will we see your debut album released in 2009? Any dates set yet? Do you have a name for the album?
Its all a secret.
Following the launch of the totally outstanding tune ‘Obsessions’, do you have your next single planned for a release yet?
Its all a secret.
What’s next for Marina & The Diamonds?
Beans on toast. Then whiskey in Soho. What a combination.
Lastly, so you can become an honorary Recommender, is there any new bands/acts/DJ’s that have caught your attention that you would like to recommend to us?
See you back here real soon for more delicately plucked highlights from the world of new music…