“Shine On” – Marina And The Diamonds Interview

“Mowgali’s Road” By Marina & The Diamonds

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As soon as I began listening to Marina And The Diamonds I quickly experienced the same sort of “brain-gasam” enjoyed by Alan Yentob  as featured in BBC arts show “Imagine”. This disturbing spectacle occurred during an episode in which Yentob investigated the core elements of Dr. Oliver Sacks book “Musiciophillia: Tales Of Music & The Brain” which examines our physiological relationship with music. As part of the show our facially hirsute hero underwent an MRI scan which purported to show his brains emotional response to certain pieces of  music.  This in turn led me to ponder on my love of music and wonder what an MRI scan would reveal in terms of my own response to certain pieces of music. For example if I found myself  forced to listen to the tuneless ego-centric bleatings of failed Butlins Redcoat, Robbie Williams, I’m fairly certain the only emotion this highly sophisticated piece of medical equipment would be able to discern, would be mild irritation. On the other hand, such is the euphoria induced when listening to the aforementioned Marina And The Diamonds I could quite easily envisage my brain lighting up like a firework display at the Epcot centre on the 4th of July! (Technically an intense pleasurable emotional response to music observed during such a scan would actually show areas of my brain literally becoming “bathed in blood”, as happened with Yentob when listening to Slipknot.. oh wait..no..my mistake, it was Chopin. However I’m not so sure Marina would have readily agreed to an interview if my factually accurate but somewhat scary opening gambit had been “I love your music so much that it floods my organ with blood”)

 

Marina and The Diamonds is in reality the incredibly talented Marina Diamandis  from Wales, or possibly ancient Greece, or even both, and she has followed up her fabulous debut single  “Obsessions/ Mowgali’s Road” with the amazing “Crown Jewels” EP. Her work has sometimes lazily been compared to the likes of Kate Nash , Lily Allen, Florence and The Machine (insert any upcoming female singers name here ) but other than the fact that they are all female, write songs, play instruments and have a head and arms and legs there is little similarity or as Marina rather more bluntly puts it “I’m sooo like Kate Nash because OOPS! I have a vagina and a keyboard.” Marina’s songs stand on their own merits, they are distinctive, unique, intelligent,literate, powerful and moving. I’m not going to dub Marina “kooky” or “quirky” or “off the wall” as this could erroneously hint that there is some sort of novelty or gimmick at play here, which simply isn’t the case. And another thing, why on earth are innovative female performers so often described in such terms, yet their male counterparts, who have also torn up the musical rule book are called “experimental” whilst heroically depicted as “visionaries” or “mavericks”? If we must make comparisons ( and I’m afraid we must, because where in the world would  music bloggers and journalists be without them,) then a new wave Kate Bush, may be a slightly better fit, but even this doesn’t really do Marina’s music justice, maybe you should just listen to it because writing about music is like having a foot massage with  your wellies on, to experience it fully you have to really feel it.

Despite the recent success of female performers in 2009 such as Florence, La Roux and Little Boots, Marina doesn’t see herself at the vanguard of some sort of “female movement” as she explains ‘When Britpop was at its peak, all the Britpop bands got lumped together but, personally, I do my thing; I write songs, I perform and I couldn’t give two shits about what X, Y or Z are doing. If we have 15 girls rise to the top this year and they’re all super-talented, then brilliant. But good music is good music; who cares if you are male or female?’… She certainly tells it like it is and demonstrates a refreshing candour which may one day have the suites at “big label music” twitching nervously, whilst they work on a marketing strategy aimed at airbrushing and diluting her personality. But such an attempt would rather be missing the point, I mean do we really want an army of interchangeable “Stepford popstars” all nice, polite, safe musicians who have nothing to say and merely front a corporate vision of what pop should be? That may be Cowell’s vision of nirvana but it’s my vision of pop hell! Besides, such brutal honesty only makes Marina more endearingly real to her ever growing army of admirers as regular readers of her blog will surely testify. In fact it’s the people with passion and talent like Marina who can actually help halt the apotheosis of the bland, the celebration of the talentless and the beatification of the terminally stupid.

And so after being seduced by her music I simply had to tell her that if she isn’t a huge success in 2010, I’ll be demanding that the Great British record buying public undergo a compulsory MRI scan to ascertain whether they actually have brains. 😉  And that’s what I did …….

VP: Hello there, let’s begin with a bit of background…you’ve been  releasing  some of the best new music I’ve heard for quite some time under the name Marina & The Diamonds, but who are the Diamonds  I thought this was  essentially a solo project?

MARINA: I am a solo artist. But I like fantasy and I hate loneliness so the idea of Marina & the Diamonds instantly felt cute and warming and not so egocentric as Marina Diamond.

VP: You’ve just followed up your debut single “Obsessions”/“Mowgli’s Road”, with equally majestic “Crown Jewels EP” can you tell us a little bit about the songs on the EP ?

MARINA: It’s down to you whether you want to read into the songs or not. I’m a pretty open person in my songs and so don’t feel it’s right to elaborate any more on themes or subjects.

VP: Any news on when we might expect the debut album or are you still writing and biding your time waiting for the right moment to unleash your album on the Great British public…?

MARINA: Ha ha. I am planning to release it January 2010. I can’t wait.

VP: How did Glastonbury go ? I believe you nearly got strangled? What other festivals are you playing this year ?

MARINA: Oh they totally dramatised that! I just wrapped the mic lead around my neck. Hardly near death experience. Im playing Bestival, Latitude, Camp Bestival, Under age, Get Loaded and a few overseas. Not many left to play now.

VP: You have a very interesting blog on your site in which you are pretty candid about how you feel, you certainly don’t pull any punches. You were particularly scathing about certain vapid female celebs describing them as “Vacant. Airbrushed. Empty. People. Getting. Paid. To talk. About fuck all…” Does the obsession with celeb culture irritate you?

MARINA: Well, we created our own monster here. I’m not so irritated anymore. I mean, that quote above was written almost 2 years ago. I’m a very different person now to how I was back then.  We’re all privy to lolling about over some sensationalised pieces of celeb news from time to time. I don’t think its the worst thing in the world but I certainly would like to avoid becoming that type of person. It gives you nothing only takes. I just feel celeb world is very unhealthy and I do not want to be like those people nor live their lives just because I am headed for show business.

VP: You’ve also said that record labels are so obsessed with acts producing an album containing twelve potential number one singles that they “actually forget that there needs to be a tiny bit of soul in the music “. What sort of music inspires and moves you?

MARINA: Honest music. Music that is creatively risky. I like musicians who genuinely don’t care about what a song will do for them/ their label/ their fans. They just write it for the love of writing it.

VP: Is it true that 14 record labels were all vying to sign you up ?

MARINA: ‘Vying’ is the key word. None of them wanted to take a bet. Except for 679 that is 🙂

VP: As mentioned you blog a fair bit, although you admit you have quite an ambivalent attitude to blogging, what do you make of all this social networking malarky.  Is it a great way to meet likeminded people from all walks of life?  The Daily Mail, in their usual understated style have actually claimed facebook can cause cancer( link here)  !…. However health risks aside  it must be a great tool for  helping upcoming musical artists connect with a bigger audience..?

MARINA: Oh definitely. As the ancient greeks said.. “All in moderation”. As long as it doesn’t substitute normal real life relationships then I think it’s a great way to communicate.

VP: What was the first single and album  you ever bought?

MARINA: Eesh… I think it was Pretty Fly by The Offspring. And Alisha’s Attic was my first album.

VP: Five words to describe Marina And The Diamonds ?

MARINA: Strong, hyper, driven, heavy, dark, dazzling

Links

On Myspace

Official Site

Buy “The Crown Jewels EP here ,

or digital download here

Facebook

Wallpapers


Videos

“Iam Not A Robot”- Marina And The Diamonds

“Obsessions”-Marina And The Diamonds

“Mowgli’s Road “-Marina And The Diamonds (Live)

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Music News Week Ending 10/07/2009

This weeks news , Catherine AD, Emmy The Great, The Raveonettes, La Roux, Jackson Dead, Lisa Mitchell, The Maccabees, The Victorian English Gentlemans Club and The Instamatics

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Catherine AD


Catherine A.D. who, following the release of three DIY EPs has unveiled the first in a succession of free remixes to support her performance at this year’s Latitude festival (Sunrise Arena, Sunday 19th July 5pm). The Sweet Billy Pilgrim remix of ‘Hand To The Tide’ can be downloaded from here… http://www.last.fm/music/Catherine+A.D./+freetracks.

If you don’t think she’s the bees knees then may I humbly submit that you trade in your ears for a nice set of steak knives, because you  quite cleary do not deserve to have had the  gift of hearing bestowed upon you…;)

Catherine AD  on Myspace

Interview

” 3 Minutes With Catherine AD

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Emmy The Great

To celebrate their gig at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on , Sunday 19 July 2009 Southbank Centre Emmy The Great is giving a free album offcut, the alternative recording of We Almost Had a Baby, recorded at Rak Studios and mixed by Simon Raymonde & Bill Gautier

You can download it here

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The Raveonettes


The Raveonettes new album will be called “In And Out Of Control” and will be released October 6th . Exclusive album Demos available here

Follow them on twitter here and read an interview we did with Sharin here

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La Roux


At the end of 2008 21 year old Elly Jackson, aka La Roux, arrived with a whirlwind of excitement surrounding her – she bagged a top 5 single, the support slot on Lily Allen’s national tour, and has had  everyone from Franz Ferdinand to Daft Punk hailing her as a talent to watch. Now, the iconic redheaded Brixton girl unleashes her highly anticipated eponymous debut album which is  somewhat surprisingly entitled “La Roux” on the British public. It’s an album packed with great electro pop which at times makes potato faced castrato, Jimmy Somerville sound like a deep rumbling baritone in the Christopher Lee mould.  As  new electro pop superstars go,  she certainly fits “The Bill“. You can hear the whole album  streamed HERE .

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Michael Jackson Dead


Ooops sorry !!!Not that one this one!

Marcus Brigstocke pretty much nailed the  Jackson Affair

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Lisa Mitchell


18-year-old folk-pop singer songwriter Lisa Mitchell released her debut UK single ‘Neopolitan Dreams’ on July 6th.

Born in England to a Scottish father, Lisa moved to Australia at three years old and made it her home. She grew up in something of a musical timewarp, grateful to her father for raising her on Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Van Morrison, all the while finding obsessions of her own, like Bright Eyes. Check her out on myspace

myspace.com/lisalisamitchell

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The Maccabees

The Maccabees  new single, “Can You Give It“, is out , and comes backed with a brass band rendition of the song as a b-side on 7-inch, which is available for free, here, plus you can read an interview the band did with Laura Barton.

“We had to do some B-sides,” says Orlando Weeks, the band’s lead singer with the posh name, “Quite a lot of the record touched on brass, so I thought it would be nice to go the whole hog.

The band were in the Radio 1 Live Lounge performing “Can You Give It” and a cover of Black Eyed Peas’ Boom Boom Pow.

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The Victorian English Gentleman’s Club

The VEGC are back with a new single ‘Parrot’

The track has already been included in NME’s ’10 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week’ feature, and has received radio play from Radio 1, XFM and BBC 6 Music to date.  You can download it free HERE
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Metric

Metric are bringing out the marvelllous  “Gimme Sympathy” digitallyon 3rd August. It’s  coupled with  an exclusive version of Pink Floyd’s “Paronoid Eyes” . Here’s the video

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Screaming Ballerinas Is Dead


The ludicrously photogenic band formerly known as Screaming Ballerinas has now become The Instamatics, snappy eh ?  The band kindly requests anyone who is currently their friend on their old my space, add them as a friend on their brand new page at http://WWW.MYSPACE.COM/THEINSTAMATICS where they will be delighted to accept your request and shake you warmly by the hand.

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