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A Friendly Chinwag With Marina Diamond...

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:43 UK time, Friday, 5 February 2010

Marina and the Diamonds

Some people love their job, some people hate it. By and large it depends on what the job is, whether it's a job which you personally get a lot out of and whether you feel like it's making good use of your time here on Earth, or just a way to pay the bills.

Marina Diamond, it is fair to say, loves her job. And why shouldn't she? She's hotly-tipped, she gets the biggest dressing up box in the world to play in, she can do funny voices in her songs, 2010 is looking like the year in which her music - like the mighty 'Hollywood' - finds its audience and best of all, she's got ME on the PHONE!

OK, so that last bit is more of a work-related stress than a perk of the job, but still...

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ChartBlog: Hello Marina.
Marina: [very happy voice] He-loooowww!

ChartBlog: Wow, you sound like you're in an incredible mood!
Marina: [laughs] And why shouldn't I be?

ChartBlog: No reason at all. It's just lovely to hear.
Marina: Aww...

ChartBlog: What are you up today?
Marina: Umm, I'm going to six different designers in the afternoon, so that might be part of the good mood. I might get some free stuff but I think it's just conversations and meetings.

ChartBlog: Is this outfits for videos or...what?
Marina: Who knows, Fraser? Who knows?

ChartBlog: Of the two of us, I'm gonna go with 'you'.
Marina: [laughs] No, I don't think it's for videos. I think it's just generally just a clothes day.

ChartBlog: You have clothes days?
Marina: Listen, I'm not gonna get another one for, like, five years so I had better make the most of it.

ChartBlog: And you'd better not lose or gain any weight, these clothes are going to have to last. What does a pop star look for in clothes anyway?
Marina: Well, I wouldn't know cos I'm not a pop star. But personally, I really like loud things. But I also like glamorous, classic stuff. Old Hollywood crossed with cartoons: like Jessica Rabbit! Jessica Rabbit is the perfect example.

ChartBlog: Now, which bit of 'pop star' did you have a problem with just then? Are you not pop, or not famous yet?
Marina: Oh I love both! But I just want to be a SUPERSTAR!

ChartBlog: It's always a tricky term to throw around, especially to performers who are on the way up. You get a lot of "I think you'll find I am NOT pop, I am nu-metal"... but what are your aspirations with this thing you do?
Marina: Well, I've thought about it, and it's hard because, by being ambitious you immediately jump to 'I wanna rule the world'. But I really DON'T want to rule the world. I want to have an affect on people, and I would like to at least change one person's perceptions of life, or help one person out. And so if I do that, then I can go to bed.

ChartBlog: Don't do that! It's quite important to get your sleep if that's what you're trying to do. I mean, don't stay up until you find out. It might've already happened, but no-one's told you. That 'Hollywood' song is good, you don't know whose life has been changed...
Marina: I know that's the thing! That's the thing, Fraser... I don't know. I just want people to enjoy the record, and I suppose also I just like writing songs because it makes me feel better.

ChartBlog: It's a good feeling, isn't it? You can go to bed saying to yourself "whatever else is going on today, I did a thing and it wasn't there when I got up, and now it exists."
Marina: That's what we tell ourselves!

ChartBlog: There is a train of thought which suggests that the best fun you can have making music is to write your songs, get them sounding good, put them in your iPod, listen to them...get on with your life. Why would you even need other people to hear it? It won't make it sound any better to you, will it?
Marina: That's true, but I have to have people to hear it otherwise there's no point in making it.

ChartBlog: REALLY? Interesting. The cliche interview answer for a lot of performers is that they make the music they like and if anyone else likes it, it's a bonus...
Marina: Well I think on an expressive level the reason I got into songwriting in the first place is that I am a crap communicator and I don't express myself very well in relationships. So I think with a song that was my opportunity to say exactly what I want in three minutes, and then fine-tine it in three weeks and then put it out.

ChartBlog: Having spent a lot of time worrying about making it all rhyme.
Marina: Exactly.

ChartBlog: The irony being, you do it because you think you're a bad communicator, then you get yourself a job doing it, in which you spend your whole day talking to people like me...
Marina: YES! Weird, isn't it? I think I'm much better than I used to be, but that was the original inspiration for writing songs.

ChartBlog: And you said you'd want someone to listen to one of your songs and feel that their perspective had been changed. Can you tell me one time that has happened to you?
Marina: [a LOT of thinking later] Oh God that's such a brilliant question, that I don't have the brainpower to answer.

ChartBlog: There's no point in being complimentary just to get out of it.
Marina: I think something like 'Ray Of Light' or 'Frozen' off that album that Madonna did. Cos I think that was one of her most open albums. And I like to think about things on a wide scale, I don't like to think about nitty-gritty things. And I think about life and epic dramas [laughs]. I think that album talks a lot about being unsatisfied, so maybe that's why.

ChartBlog: It's an easy emotion to write about, because you've got a list to work through for the lyrics: "I want this and this and this...", whereas being happy...
Marina: Oh, you don't have time to write songs when you're happy, you're skipping through fields of daisies.

ChartBlog: It's funny that the two songs you mention there are at exact polar extremes of emotion. Cos 'Ray Of Light' is one of those few elated, happy songs, and then 'Frozen' is right down the other end.
Marina: [vigorously agreeing] Yeah!

(There then follows a companiable silence, before we bid our fond farewells.)

THE END

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Marina is also available in website form...
And BBC Music form...

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