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TNC Archive 2011 
Interview

Marika Hackman 
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Originally published in 2011

Back in 2011 Marika Hackman opened for Madeleine Peyroux at one of the UK's most iconic music venues Brighton Dome. Hackman brought the house down with her strong yet gentle voice and her touchingly effective music.

Hey Marika how's it going, have you come down after supporting Madeleine Peyroux at Brighton Dome?

Just about, it still feels fairly surreal that i managed to step out on to that stage let alone sing a note, but it was an incredible experience.

How did the support slot come about?

i had done a few gigs in the pavilion theatre bar and dome foyer but never actually on any of the stages, but incredibly they thought of me when this support slot came up.

Did she give you any advice?

I didn't actually meet Madeleine before we went on, but just as I was returning to the dressing room after the set.  She was very sweet and laid back, much more relaxed than I was before I played, but I was so full of adrenaline I forgot to ask for any career tips, it was just nice to shake her hand and say hello.

Where you nervous, or did you guys take it in your stride?

There's always a degree of nerves whether we're playing in front of a small group of mainly friends or something huge like the Brighton Dome, but I think nerves are important as they help you focus and show that you care.  Before the set I couldn't actually eat anything but my band are really good at keeping the atmosphere light and calm and we all help to distract each other.  Obviously the more gigs we do the more comfortable we get with performing on stage, but I think the nerves will always be there, it is just learning to control them and use them to your advantage.

You are still a really young performer, what was it like taking to the Brighton Dome stage?

At first it seemed daunting, especially when you first walk in and the lights are all on and the space is huge, but once we started doing sound check and the lights went down it almost felt like it was just us three in the room.  It was a strange mix of excitement and 'i-can't-believe-this-is-happening'.

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How long have you been performing, you seemed at home in stage with your band, have you been playing together long?

When I was younger I often played the recorder or piano in local competitions or concerts, but my first performance singing was when I was 15, up until that point even my parents had never heard me sing.  We got together as a band about four years ago and we were friends before then.  My band mates are all very talented musicians also used to performing from a young age so we all have our own experiences to bring to the table.

Your style of music reminds me of Joanna Newsom with a slight touch of Joan Armatrading, who has/is influencing your music?

Joanna Newsom has been an influence of mine, especially her later stuff,  my brother is a big fan of hers so naturally I pretended I didn't like it at first.  Another is Laura Veirs, her music was the first I listened to that made me have this heavy sensation in my stomach, I think it was a mix of wistfulness and nostalgia, and although the feelings weren't necessarily pleasant, I had a strange fascination with it and have been hooked ever since.  My mum loves Joni Mitchell so I've been listening to her songs from an early age, and even bands like Led Zeppelin and Steely Dan have influenced me in the sense of appreciating incredible songwriting talent.

In five words describe your music to our readers?

Doing that is quite hard.

What comes first the music or the lyrics?

I usually get a lyric as soon as I come up with the melody, so I'll just be singing something over a few chords and there will just be a segment where the words fit perfectly with the tune.  It feels like when skydivers jump out of the plane and they're all over the place and then just for a few seconds they'll all be holding hands in a perfect circle and then they'll be broken up again, those little bits of music and lyric are like the moment when they're holding hands.  So then I'll have the basis for a song and I usually get more melody over guitar parts that i have to actively write lyrics for, thats when I find it a little challenging.

"I would like my music to create an atmosphere that hangs in the air and catches on peoples clothes so that it stays with them after they've listened."

What have you found the most challenging thing about growing as an artist and getting more integrated in the music scene?

It's been hard meeting up with the band to rehearse as they're all at uni across the south of England and I'm now based in Devon, but we've made a little pact to get together more often.  Also as you begin to grow as a musician you create your own pressure that each song has to be better than the last, and that the music should be going forward in new directions and not staying in a rut.

In the next 12 months what can we expect from you?

More writing, recording and performing.  

And finally, what do you like people to take from you music?

I would like my music to create an atmosphere that hangs in the air and catches on peoples clothes so that it stays with them after they've listened.  It would be nice to think that it's slightly different from other music out there at the moment and that listeners can relate to the feeling that the music and lyrics evoke, goosebumps is probably my main goal.