Lost Lake Presents
Marika Hackman + The Big Moon
Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pmLost Lake
$12.00 - $14.00
This event is 16 and over
All sales are final. Review your order carefully, there are no refunds for any reason. Tickets are non-transferable. No tickets are mailed to you, your name will be on the will call list night of show. Night of show (1) bring a valid government issued ID and (2) print your confirmation e-mail and bring with you night of show.https://www.lost-lake.com/event/1477028/
"I used to be very self-conscious," explains Hackman, all breezy. "If something sounded a bit too pop or like I'd heard it before I'd mould it into something different. This time around I thought, Fuck it I'll just let it flow." The results of this newfound semi-anarchic approach to songwriting are most immediately heard in the grungier, harder, catchier thrill of 'I'm Not Your Man'. But beyond the sound, the biggest departure is in the writing. The new Hackman is far less introspective and self-conscious. Marika 2.0 is unhinged, uninhibited and shamelessly free.
Before last Christmas, Hackman and her friend and producer Charlie Andrew (Alt-J, Rae Morris) finished mastering the follow-up to 2015's 'We Slept At Last' in Iguana Studios, Brixton. Written across various flatshares in London, the oldest song 'Violet' was penned almost 18 months ago. Why did it take so long? Well, first off Hackman left her management and signed a label relationship with AMF Records (Loyle Carner). That didn't just lend Hackman new avenues for exploration, it bought her a lot of time and a lot of distance - mainly, she insists, from herself. Hackman never panders to the expectation of others. Her own worst enemy has always been within. This time she vouched to cease preventing herself from going where she wanted the songs to take her. Naturally, that took a minute. "I stopped being a massive control freak!" she says.
The break from her former team and the decisions she'd had to make since has left her feeling freshly empowered. "I wanna put myself out there," she says. "How are people gonna connect with me if I'm hiding behind a wall?" Hence titling the record 'I'm Not Your Man' after one of the lyrics. There's an open-ended nature to the discussions within, conversations on femininity, sex and sexual identity, millennial ennui, the pressures of living in a social media bubble and the perils of being young in a fast-paced industry. "The record's all about female relationships, romance and breakdowns, but there's also a dim worldview going on. 'I'm Not Your Man' can either mean, 'I'm not your man, I'm your woman', or it can mean, 'I'm not a part of this...'," explains Hackman.
It's a fiery statement from a songwriter who no longer wants to be shackled to limiting descriptions. When presented to the world five years ago, Hackman couldn't escape the trappings of being compared to every other fey English rose singer-songwriter lady with a guitar. "I'm not some miserable git that walks about feeling depressed all the time," she laughs. "None of my friends would describe me like that." From the opening of 'Boyfriend' you immediately sense the transition. It signals a raw, rockier and immediately more brazen beginning to a 13-track record that packs a far gutsier live punch than any of her prior folk leaning output. It's also really funny. "I've got your boyfriend on my mind," she teases, finally breaking out of couching her thoughts on sexuality and love in metaphors. "I felt more bold and confident to stop hiding things, to stop talking about water, lakes and trees when I just wanna write about the fact that I've broken up with my girlfriend."
The themes of sexual fluidity are ongoing throughout. "People find it easier now to identify as queer, lesbian or gay, it feels more safe." Hackman hasn't yet decided how to define her own sexuality but has had plenty prior experience to know what bums her out. Men, for instance, who seem to think lesbianism or queerness between women is born out of a male fantasy. "Some guys think it's fine for their girlfriends to get with another girl. But if it's with another guy they go ballistic. The language we use pisses me off. It's the passive stuff that drip feeds into society and winds up being far more damaging." To deal with it head on, Hackman flips the construct around and addresses The Man herself - literally and figuratively.
At first, producer Andrew, who has worked on all her previous output, was shocked. "I don't think he saw it coming," says Hackman. "It was a curveball." More surprising, however, was her musical choices. Casting aside the whimsy guitars of before, Hackman consciously wanted to turn up the knobs in the studio, to live out her teenage fantasy of fronting a raucous band. "I wanted to let rip and lose control. That's the kind of music I've always wanted to make. When I was younger I wasn't looking at Joni Mitchell. I was looking at Nirvana thinking, 'I wanna be like that!'"
To help channel this feral female energy, Hackman recruited her best mates - London quartet The Big Moon to play as her backing band. They all met at a gig once and an immediate friend crush ensued. "They really captured the soul of what it all meant to me and brought a lot of fun and creativity," says Hackman. "A lot of messing about and cuddling." There was no concern that bringing in a much-hyped band to play on a number of tracks would take the shine off her own project. "I just wanna make the right record and if that's involving people who can fucking smash it then that's what I'm gonna do. Bands coming together is so important, particularly for women."
The unspoiled nature of the recording environment has thrown up a truly dynamic, multi-genre sound. It's all tied together via razor sharp wit and authenticity. "I'm a massive cultural hermit when I'm making a record," says Hackman, who strays from sonic influences during her process. The subtleties contained within span from Cate Le Bon weirdness ('Round We Go') to Warpaint dirge jams ('Gina's World') to straight-up Britpop choruses ('Time's Been Reckless', 'So Long', 'Good Intentions'). "People were saying it was a mash-up between Radiohead, Blondie and The Cure," laughs Hackman, self-mocking. "Great!"
Tracks such as 'Violet' are explicitly about girl-on-girl relationships, with Hackman fixated on her lover's mouth. "I was totally in love with her and it's such a sexual song." 'My Lover Cindy' comments on the way we dispose of one another. "Sex is such a throwaway thing. I have a terror of falling out of love with people. You just don't trust your emotions." 'Good Intentions' is an ode to any struggling millennial who's pushed peers away while pretending everything's alright. "In this glistening world of shiny Instagram posts it's important to say, 'Come on guys, it's not a fucking hoot 24/7'. In my friendship group there are emotional struggles. We live in a strange, dark world and people find it hard to deal with. More importantly, they find it hard to say so."
It's particularly the way Hackman defies regular constructs about traditional femininity in the songs and on the heavily detailed, intentionally metaphorical album cover that speaks to a generation. "I've never been a traditional feminine female," she says. "I was constantly mistaken for being a boy when I was little, I never wore dresses, I never understood why at Christmas I'd get a doll and my brother would get an Action Man. ' I know so many women who are like that and it doesn' t define your sexuality. I don't know why we even have these petty rules that young girls have to abide by. It's absolutely bizarre."
Hackman is putting together a live band to tour 'I'm Not Your Man' - she'll be creating a racket all of her own. "I can't wait to see the reaction," she says. "That's the thrill of reinventing yourself. I might piss off a lot of die-hard folky fans but this is still my brain, it's still my world, and I'm gonna create it how I want."
Word soon got round and, via a network of friends of friends, Jules began to find some likeminded spirits. “I'd blind-date people in a pub in Islington and suss them out,” she says. Drummer Fern Ford (and organist, she plays the two instruments simultaneously) – who at the time had a series of jobs “serving food out of trucks” – was the first to join, and guitarist Soph Nathan, who was studying in Brighton, was next . “Celia [Archer] joined last,” says Juliette. “It was just us three for a while and then one afternoon she came to our practice room. I answered the door and immediately said, ‘I love you’”. She joined us the next day. “The first time we all played properly together, I actually had a little cry,” laughs Juliette.
“We barely knew each other, but it just instantly made sense. I'd always had a four-piece band in mind and now these songs suddenly sounded so huge. I wanted us to sound like a garage rock band, but with hooks. It’s what I’ve always listened to – White Stripes, Pixies, Kid Congo Powers, but also a lot of really gorgeous melodic stuff like Elvis and Roy Orbison and The Kinks. Stuff that sounds scuzzy, but that you can still sing along to.” The first track they shared with the world in January 2015 was Eureka Moment – a tangle of twisted rhythms and lush harmonies that scuttles through the corners of the mind. It was picked up by blogs immediately. “We put it online, and people actually listened to it” says Celia. “And then we started getting loads of emails from people. We got shows. It was crazy..” They’ve since played a 12-month run of gigs alongside bands including The Vaccines, The Maccabees, Mac Demarco, and Ezra Furman.
“Playing to young girls feels so good,” laments Juliette. “We’ve supported a lot of big indie boy bands who have a lot of female fans and it’s great to go on stage and by being there, showing them that they can do it as well. People have come up to us after shows and said, ‘We want to start a band now!’. That’s great because we were those kids once too.”
Working with long-standing producer Catherine Marks on their scintillating debut album, ‘Love In The 4th Dimension (released 7th April on Fiction Records), The Big Moon have made a joyful record that bursts with energy, confidence and a reticent self-belief. The almost laissez-faire delivery of Jules’ vocal is blasted in on a rocket of hooks and melodies. It’s smart, assured, and primed for the big stage.
“I don't really think of an album as a thing that has to be listened to all at once. I’m a big believer in songs by themselves. I want every song to be a journey in itself rather than it having to rely on the thing before or after it,” says Juliette. “So we want to make sure every single song on the album is the best possible version of the song that could ever exist. I don't want to feel like anything on the album could be improved upon.” For the moment, though, they just want their music to reach as many people as possible. “I can’t wait for people to hear all the songs and to get to know every lyric and every intricacy,” says Celia.
Ask them what their plans are for the future and they all scream “World domination!” before cracking up at the idea. But with their determination and drive, it feels like nothing is out of the grasps of The Big Moon.
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