Marina and the Diamonds interview

Marina and the Diamonds was on the top of my interview bucket list for a while now. Actually, ever since I discovered her charmingly bizarre ‘Mowgli’s Road’ song and read her pretty sharp-tongued blog back in 2008. I almost talked to Marina in New York in 2011: “almost” as I didn’t recognized her (she just went blond at the time) and managed to party right next to this Primadonna for the whole night without acknowledging her. I finally got my chance when I was asked to interview her for Interview Russia earlier this spring in time for the release of her ‘Froot’ album.

Read the Russian version here and the original chat below.

 

You always take you album campaigns quite seriously. So what’s the concept behind ‘Froot’?

With ‘Froot’ I wanted the strategy to be distinctive. So I came up with a plan called ‘Froot of the month’, which meant that when you pre-order the album I’d send you a brand new song from the album every month until the album release. So each song has its own visual world, video, all that kind of thing.

So this is the 1st album you recorded on your own?

Yes.

Was it harder or more liberating?

Oh, definitely more liberating! I would say songwriting was easier in a way, because I had this artistic clarity versus writing with other people and trying to come up with the songs that would ‘work’ commercially. I didn’t want to do another electropop album. The production was very different two: just me co-producing everything with one person for three month. It’s actually not my favorite thing at what I do. But I enjoyed it nevertheless, as much as I could.

You do quite a lot of misspelling: froot, teen idle, shampaigne… What’s the idea behind it?

I love words! And I love messing with them. I think with ‘Froot’ spelling it in a way with how it sounded made it look more playful. That’s what I’m interested in as a musician – with my sound blending with natural human sounds and electronic sound. It’s also visually what I do: I really like blending themes of nature with modern life.

Your favorite fruit? Song and an actual fruit.

The fruit-fruit is probably mango and I like lychee as well. And my favorite song off the album changes a lot. I really ‘Savages’ and ‘Better Than That’.

Should we expect you to dress up as a fruit like Katy Perry does?

Ha, no!

You did perform in Moscow. What do you remember from that gig?

It was very positive. I’ve some time in Russia and Ukraine when I was younger, so I was very pleased to go back and to see that I have a fanbase there. I remember I played the same festival as Courtney Love did and I really loved her.

Do people really mistake you for Catherine Zeta-Jones (as you mentioned in your ‘Hollywood’ song)?

No, haha! No we do look quite similar, it’s that Celtic welsh blood.

I remember when you and I do were partying in a small bar in New York back in 2011. And I didn’t recognize you because you just went blonde.

Oh, no, really?! Haha! That’s so funny!

Do you plan any more dramatic changes to your appearance in the future?

I don’t think so, no. These days I look quite similar to how I looked during my first album. ‘Electra Heart’ look was built for that character. And now it’s kind of a relief to not have to dress up, if I’m honest.

What did you learn from being Electra Heart persona?

Most of things I’ve learned was about what I didn’t want to be as an artist and what I didn’t really like about being in this industry. There are parts of the industry which I love but I think if you’re pretending to be a popstar, then you have to go through the popstar system and they talk to you as if you’re quite dumb and as if you don’t write your own music. I didn’t really appreciate that. But I did like being an electropop artist. I’m happy where I am now with ‘Froot’.

Let’s get one thing clear: Primadonna was a sarcastic statement, right? Was there a lot of people who thought you were being dead serious?

I don’t know… I think most of the people knew it was this theatrical sarcastic song. But who knows?

What gets you excited in the current pop landscape?

I really like BANKS, Broods, Childish Gambino, Lykke Li, Clean Bandit.

The blog you ran back in 2008 was very sassy. Will you ever blog again?

Oh, no, you remember! Haha. I am interested in keeping a very genuine direct communication with fans. So I’m doing these FAQs now.

The thing we do here at the Interview magazine is making one celebrity interview other celebrity. So if you were to interview one famous person, who would you choose?

I would choose the photographer Cindy Sherman, musician Daniel Johnston and Marilyn Monroe.

Okay, I’ll see if when can hook you up with those. And if you were to start an ultimate girlband who would you invite?

Oh, wow. I would choose Bjork, my friend Lizzy from MS MR, Brody Dalle from The Distillers and Debbie Harry from Blondie.

I would definitely check out this record!

Well, thank you very much, I’ve got one fan!

A lot of your new songs are rather dramatic and pensive. Does it mean the days of ‘Primadonna’ and ‘Mowgli’s Road’ are over?

Each album is a chapter of your life, some have different colors and moods to the other ones. ‘Electra Heart’ was a very high energy album. I feel more flexible in terms of what I can do creatively now, so who know what’s gonna come up.

Is acting something you’d ever consider trying?

Yes, I would.

Do you still live in the state of dreaming?

It’s good to dream and to think about what you want.

Get ‘Froot’ on iTunes

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Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Articles, Blog, Interviews, Music

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