An Interview With Marina and the Diamonds.
Marina and the Diamonds first came to public light in 2010, with her debut album The Family Jewels. The album was positively received, setting the foundation for the success of her second album. Released in April, Electra Heart is a fabulous fusion of electro-pop and visual delights, showcasing both her musical and lyrical talent as a singer-songwriter and her chic creativity in designing the accompanying artwork for the album. Predictably, the album has been very well received, shooting straight to number one on the week of its release. Marina and the Diamonds will be embarking on a full UK tour this October, coming to the O2 Academy in Liverpool on October 4th. She is currently supporting Coldplay on their European stadium tour, where she kindly took fifteen minutes out her schedule to talk to L.S.Media.
You’re currently on tour with Coldplay. What was going through your mind when they first requested you to go on tour with them?
“Well, I was obviously excited. And then I realised they were playing stadiums, I was like shit, because it’s quite rare to be asked on a stadium tour. But more than anything, I was really honoured that they’d put me forward and requested me.”
What’s it like touring with them?
“It’s amazing, it’s such an opportunity. I mean, number one everyone on the crew is really nice. And the tours themselves, especially in Europe because I’m kind of known here, it’s been very encouraging.”
You’re starting your UK tour soon, what are you most looking forward to about it?
“Seeing my own fans again. Also having my production back, because on the Coldplay tour you can’t really have your own stage design or anything like that…and also, because the whole theme of Electra Heart is this fictional character, it’s a concept of the tour called ‘The Lonely Hearts Club’. It’s about love and heartbreak so it’ll be nice to have all that again.”
You designed all the artwork for Electra Heart yourself – what were your style influences?
“Initially, it was a lot of baby-doll dresses, that kind of really coquettish powdered sixties look. Valley of the Dolls, I loved the film. A bit of Marilyn Monroe I suppose with the hair. Marie Antoinette, I stole the heart on the cheek. I had lots of doll lashes; so very very hyper feminised.”
For those you haven’t listened to your new album, Electra Heart, how would you describe it?
“I’d say sonically it is a dark bubblegum pop record, because the production is pop but it’s got a more electronic dark feel. So it kind of combines my skill as a singer songwriter and also my love for the ‘candy pop world’.”
Electra Heart has been a big success, building on your first album The Family Jewels. When did you start to realise you were doing the right things for yourself as a music artist to develop?
“Actually, it was before the first the album. It was basically when I decided to start producing my own stuff. Before that, I’d been writing for two years and bugging record labels and managers and stuff and no one kind of ever replied! So I was kind of like okay, I’m just going to produce my own stuff and that’s when people started to take notice; because I could better express what was in my head and what I wanted to focus on.”
Like a lot of artists, the internet plays a big role in getting your music out there. How much do you think it’s played a role in your success?
“I think with or without the internet, if you’re really good, people will find you eventually. But I think with me, I suppose Myspace was in its heyday and it was a platform for me to gain the attention of managers and stuff like that. Also the way that I interacted with fans in the beginning help me build up a really loyal fan base.”
What advice would you give to young musicians in the same situation as you were in?
“I think it’s good to be proactive in that you should be gigging and you should be writing as much as possible and making as many contacts but you shouldn’t be bugging people, especially people in the industry. I think if you’re good, they’ll come to you. And if you aren’t getting any attention of anyone and people aren’t listening to you then it probably means you aren’t very good and you have to keep working!”
A bit of a waiting game. With the summer festival season drawing to a close, do you have your eye on any festivals to play next summer?
“I’d love to play Glastonbury again. I’d like to play V [festival], because I haven’t played V before. What else? Oooh Bestival! Of course, that’s one of the main things, I’d like to play Bestival.”
If you could headline a stage at any of those, which would you pick?
“Because it’s iconic. And also I had such a good time last time I played. It was really sunny the whole weekend while I was there.”
What are you plans after your UK tour?
“I start my European tour in November. Also, the next single How to be a Heartbreaker comes out in the beginning of Novemeber.”
Have you got any plans for a new album yet?
“No, nothing yet.”
Time for a bit of a break?
“I don’t know, I think it takes a while. I think I’ve been so involved with the second album that I just want to have a brain-break!”
You have thrown yourself into all aspects of it! What is the best show you’ve played so far?
Well this year, but in all time too?
“This year, I reckon the last New York show I did, or the L.A. one. And then ever, oh my god, I don’t know. It’s quite hard to say ever…I’m not sure.”
What are your main musical influences that have inspired you?
“The Shangri-Las. Britney Spears. Emily Haynes who is from a band called Metric – I love her. To be honest, I know some musicians when they’re making new music listen to other people to inspire them but I’ve never really done that – I’ve always drawn more inspiration from the visual side of things so I haven’t got a wild list of people to mention.”
When did you first realise you could sing?
“Never really! I didn’t really care if I could or couldn’t, I just really liked song-writing. I mean, I know that I can sing now, but at the time it was always having to try to prove to people that I could be a singer because I’d never sung in public until I was nineteen or twenty years old. So yes, it would have been around that time.”
Tickets are now on sale for Marina and The Diamonds UK tour, with tickets still available for her Liverpool date available to purchase from www.seetickets.co.uk. All tickets are priced at £20 plus booking fee.