Marika Hackman

Isabel Marant blouse

Over recent years, folk has remerged from the depths of music history to fronting the British music scene once again. Whatever way folk may affect you, whether it lullabies you to sleep, or hypnotizes you into another runic realm that helps you forget the troubles of daily life, Marika Hackman’s pairing of her guitar and voice, since the tender age of fourteen, has played a large success in that part. She’s different, and genuine, not forced into the mechanical structure of what a musician should be. She’s grateful for every day, and is still in a state of bewilderment of her recent collaboration with Burberry eyewear and the sought-after producers (such as Alt-J producer, Charlie Andrews) she has had the opportunity to work with. With such a pure heart, comes an enlightening interview.

Your recently released debut single, ‘You Come Down’ went down well, fermenting an avid group of journalists writing extremely complementing reviews. What was the production process behind it?

I wrote “You Come Down” when I was still at school. I was just playing my guitar and the opening lyrics just slotted into place at the same time. “Mountain Spines” was only written a few months before we went into the studio. I was feeling a bit low at the time, so I thought I’d channel it into a song.

Going into the studio with Johnny Flynn was amazing – I’ve listened to his music since I was fourteen. We arrived at the studio with about thirty different instruments stuffed into the car, just so we could experiment. The only downside was that I had just come back from New York and was jet lagged for most of it.

What do you hope people to experience when they listen to your songs?

When I listen to music, I look for songs that give me that strange feeling in my stomach. I used to shy away from the feeling because it made me feel a bit odd, but then I found myself listening to those songs again and again – it’s in many ways addictive. I would love it if people got that feeling from my music. I think the messages in my songs go hand in hand with the emotional experience of them, although I never consciously put any messages into my lyrics or melodies, I prefer them to have a bit more mystery, so there are times where I don’t even know what’s going on.

Alice Temperley chiffon shirt, APC skirt, Eugenia Kim hat, Marika’s own jeans & shoes

On the topic of ‘that feeling’, how can you perhaps describe that through your favorite lyrics?

In Joni Mitchell’s “A Case Of You,” the chorus lyric is, “Oh I could drink a case of you darling, still I’d be on my feet…oh I would still be on my feet.” My mum and me have been trying to work out for ages if it’s an insult or a compliment. When you first hear it, it sounds like she’s saying that she always wants more, or he keeps her strong (and standing). But thinking about it, isn’t love supposed to be intoxicating… in which case being able to “drink a case” of someone and remain standing means they have no effect on you anymore. I like how ambiguous it is. I like lyrics which you can discuss and have to think about.

What’s your opinion on the explosion of Folk in recent years?

Folk has definitely exploded over the last few years, but I also think that it’s also become a lazy term for anyone who plays guitar and has a slightly different voice. It has a lot more sincerity about it than most music out there, which I think has inspired so many people to start writing music.

Having studied art, would you have said this, in any way, fueled the creative process of writing music?

Doing art at the same time as music really helped with my songwriting. It’s exercising the creative part of your brain so that things start to flow more easily. I grew up in the countryside, and I was very lucky to have a house that had a view stretching for miles on one side and beautiful woodland on the other. Being surrounded by such cinematic scenery definitely influenced my songwriting, especially my lyrics.

Surely your imagination must run wild with where your ideal place to play your music would be?

Maybe at the bottom of a murky lake where sound could travel clearly through water and everyone could breathe. I’m not a big fan of eels though, so there would be no eels. And there could be some glowing orbs dotted around the place to give off light. All a bit dark, spooky and slightly magical…

YMC mustard dress

Speaking of exciting things, how has it been working with Burberry for their sunglasses campaign? And perhaps, more importantly, what do you think of the relationship between fashion and music?

Doing the shoot for Burberry was so surreal, it was the first time I had ever done any sort of shoot so it was all very new and exciting. I think it’s great that Burberry finds new artists and showcases them, and that they make music such an important part of their brand. I’m not particularly into fashion, and I would never have thought the two would be particularly connected, but it seems to be changing.

And you’re touring with Benjamin Francis Leftwich this month too, how has that been so far?

It’s my first tour; I felt nervous and didn’t know any of the guys so I didn’t really know what to expect. So far it’s been so much fun. Being the support act is always a bit tough because people usually just talk through your set, but I just try and remember that even if there are only five people listening, I am playing for them. I’ve been getting some really lovely feedback from people after the show as well, which is such a boost when you come off stage thinking that no one was watching.

Although that seems to be no longer the case – everyone’s wanting to hear more. What can we expect from you in the future?

I’ve got a small headline tour coming up at the end of November. Then the plan is to keep on writing and gigging, and back into the studio to work on some more records. I try to take each day or week as it comes – so much stuff is going on at the moment. I think I would be completely overwhelmed if I looked at things differently. 
Its important to stay as grounded as possible for my sanity.

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Text by Katia Ganfield
Photographs by Olivia Beasley
Stylist: Georgina Hodson
Hair & Makeup: Annabel Callum