Marika Hackman / The Big Moon – Tickets – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR – August 2nd, 2017

Marika Hackman / The Big Moon

XRAY.FM AND MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS PRESENT THE WITTY SONGWRITER AND SMART POP QUARTET FROM THE UK

Marika Hackman / The Big Moon

Wed, August 2, 2017

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$12.00 - $15.00

This event is 21 and over

Marika Hackman
Marika Hackman
Marika Hackman; an artist who is more likely to quote proto-feminist ghost stories such as the Yellow Wallpaper than align with audience expectations of a woman prepared to "sing a few nice songs with a pretty voice and then forget about it".

Clearly she's made of more substance than her contemporaries.

A captivating vocalist and incredibly attractive individual who is more interested in challenging perceptions of what songwriting can or should be in modern times, to bring us a greater sense of truth and understanding of current issues, from the forms of the past.

"All mainstream music is written in such a lazy way. It's all a formula of where to put each chorus and hook, its robotic in its creation. People don't really have to listen because they know they'll be able to hum the chorus back after one minute, I think the clever placement of hooks and big chorus' con people into thinking they're actually enjoying it rather than being aware that it's just running along a well beaten track in their brains."

She expresses, asserting that her own frustration with this situation has coloured her approach to bring something better to the masses.

This approach links back to her approach to production, initially working with mentor Johnny Flynn and Adam Beach in a scenario in which inventive ideas were encouraged in a familial and confidence building scenario, before working with Charlie Andrew who had recently completed work on the Mercury Award Winning Alt-J album.

"We took each song and stripped it back to the basic guitar part and vocal and then played around on different instruments to build up the layers. On retina television we decided to not use any instruments at all and try and build up the song only using sounds from my body, so as well as singing and humming I was doing stuff like tapping my teeth and jumping. We drew the line at burping though..."

This inventiveness is sprung from Marika herself as much as her production collaborators though, testified by her unique interpretations on her online covers EP which disclosed a raft of influences from Warpaint and The Knife to Nico (who she also shares a striking visual resemblance to) and Nirvana, and translated into the arrangement of her own material on the new extended play:

"When I've got an idea for a song I make a really rough demo on Garageband so I can try building up vocals and different instruments." She explains in relation to standout track 'Plans': "The layered vocals in the verse was an idea that hit me as soon as I started recording the demo. Once I'd tried it out and decided I liked it, I was spurred on to finish the song. The harmonies in the chorus I developed by singing as many lines as I could over the original melody and then choosing my favourites."

This approach is always an extension of the lyrical substance behind each song – always confrontational, with shades of Gothicism that reveal themselves beneath an accessible aesthetic like the hidden grotesque and mysteriously hellish details that can be decoded in a Hieronymus Bosch painting.

On Cannibal, an outwardly accessible, and eminently listenable song there are some deep ruminations about the conflicts between human evolution and personal greed.

"It's taking the idea of cutting off your nose to spite your face to a new level" she asserts "as you're cutting off your nose to consume it. It's realising that what you're doing is wrong on many levels but being too afraid to confront it and therefore just carrying on. A fear of change I suppose, and a general level of disgust at where our 'evolution' has taken us."

Through taking previously clichéd metaphors and imbuing them with the full horror of their original meaning, she asserts a fresh perspective that both shocks and provides comfort with the tools for the listener to deal with the situation of modern living.
The Big Moon
The Big Moon
London four-piece The Big Moon formed in the way that any great band should. “I didn’t just want to start a band, I really, genuinely needed to,” says singer Juliette Jackson. “I was working in a fancy cocktail bar in North London where they made stupid drinks flavoured with soil and tomato skins. I had to get out of there. So I started writing songs about love and hangovers, robots and the fourth dimension, ran around London asking everyone I knew if they knew anyone who wanted to be in a band with me.”

Word soon got round and, via a network of friends of friends, Jules began to find some like-minded 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.