I could open with a stereotypical passage using descriptive metaphors and complimentary similes likening Marina Diamandis to the glamorous pop cultural diamond that we all know she is. But after much thought and deliberation – taking into consideration that this Welsh lass recently performed at sold-out solo gigs and festival spots over the 2011 summer – it seems more appropriate to open with Marina’s worst festival experience involving scorching heat, a busted lock, and a drop box. Don’t know what a drop box is? Think of an eco-friendly, hippie-inspired Port-a-Loo that doesn’t flush but much, much worse.
“Oh my god…” Marina exclaims over the phone, sculling a coffee whilst on her way to Paris for yet another sold-out show, “I got locked in the worst toilet in the world. It was literally one where everyone just pisses into a massive box. I was in one of those, and the screw came loose when I locked it and I thought I was going to have a panic attack – the smell was that toxic.”
After a hasty escape and mass disinfection, Diamandis holds no grudges and loves the chilled mood when performing outdoors due to the different type of audience it attracts to her pop-tastic shows. “They are so different,” she tells. “Even if everyone knows your name in the crowd, they may only know or want to hear one song. They may not know the album at all or they may be drunk off their head. It’s totally different. But it’s the energy that’s good!”
Summer 2010/2011 saw Marina travel to Aussie shores for the first time, and her perceptions of what to expect were pretty spot on: “You Australians are a jolly bunch, much jollier than the Brits… Also Australia is incredibly hot.” And whilst Mother Nature has not been overly kind to us of late with temperamental weather and the chilliest of winter months, we do have a huge Greek community, and for half-Greek Marina that is yet another plus, especially when it comes to cuisine, “I hear your seafood is delicious!” she exclaims.
Marina’s debut album saw her blatantly critiquing fame and its trappings, which indeed, is a valid and intriguing paradox. She intelligently differentiates between the ideas of fame and celebrity versus the achievement of success through hard work and talent. “I am not someone who sings because I want attention, I started off thinking it was because of that, but I’ve since realised that it isn’t my purpose at all,” she admits. “I don’t really value fame; I think people who do value it get stuck on a treadmill. I don’t want to be imprisoned by attention from fans or by fame, I am so aware of being true to myself and not compromising myself for the sake of doing something popular. I would prefer to spend 10 years slowly gathering faithful fans rather than just having an empty number one about getting drunk in a club.”
Amen to that.
With her self-confessed 90s influence, love/hate relationship with consumer culture and creative condemnation of popular culture, her next album which is set to follow the much-applauded ‘Family Jewels’ will see a noteworthy change in theme involving the contradictions surrounding gender, sexuality and religion. At first thought it sounds like heavy stuff for an indie-pop darling to combat, but evidently it is something Diamandis can handle.
“These influences have destroyed women in a sense because they have been told that it’s a negative thing to be sexual, which is absolutely ridiculous because we are just as sexual as men – just in a different way. If you look at the nature of how women perform – in music, in fashion, in photo-shoots and so on… men don’t have to do all of that to get attention to prove that they are sexually liberated, whereas I feel that women do.” She pauses. “Gosh, I don’t mean to sound all feminist-like when I talk about centuries of oppression but it doesn’t go away easily, does it? I’m using popular culture to change that for my generation of girls.”
August has seen Marina release an eagerly awaited preview of what fans can expect from her forthcoming album, intriguingly titled ‘Part One: Fear And Loathing’ – a track which is an intelligent deviation from her pop-savvy ways. The deeply moving song introduces fans to what can only be described as Marina’s alter-ego named Electra Heart, a woman who “embodies the lies, illusions and death of the American Dream”. The video depicts a contemplative Electra Heart sitting in front of a hotel bathroom vanity, chopping chunks out of her jet black hair, and fades with her reflecting atop an inner city balcony paving the way for the next installment.
‘Part Two’ is set to be released via Marina’s blog in coming days and, suffice to say, we can’t wait.
Link to ‘Part One: Fear And Loathing’: http://www.marinaandthediamonds.com/blog,electra-heart-the-start-fear-and-loathing_240.htm?pg=1