A few months ago on a leafy street in Peckham, Marika Hackman caused quite a stir. Concerned residents crowded around their doorways, watching in mild horror as the unflinching musician was walloped across the face by a long procession of spurned lovers, her underwear hung nearby from a tree after being hurled out of an upstairs window. Later on, she was seen trudging wearily down the middle of the road drenched in tomato juice. To an unsuspecting onlooker, it must’ve resembled the messiest break-up of all time - either that, or a strange remake of the noughties music video for Frankee’s middle-finger-up pop anthem ‘F U Right Back’.
“Someone tweeted ‘Marika Hackman is being slapped on my doorstep right now’,” the slappee in question laughs today. “People started coming home from work around 5pm. They were all standing in the street, like, ‘what is going on?’” Thankfully, they were witnessing the video shoot for Marika’s first single - the twanging emotional-detachment banger ‘i’m not where you are’ - rather than an episode of EastEnders rendered real.
Since her game-changing second record ‘I’m Not Your Man’ - a riff-slathered gear shift from an artist with previous groundings in intricate, pastoral folk - Marika Hackman has played the role of the swaggering, egotistical fuck-boy very well. On ‘My Lover Cindy’ (named after a minor character from lesbian TV show The L Word) she boasted of being a “greedy pig” who’s gonna get her fill, self-deprecating and aggrandising at the same time. ‘Boyfriend’ saw her copping off with an anonymous man’s girlfriend, and sardonically reciting the myths of heteronormativity in a cool, piss-taking drawl. “It’s fine ‘cause I am just a girl, it’s just a dream,” she beams angelically. “A woman really needs a man to make her scream.”
It was quite the sideways swerve from her delicately-spun 2015 debut ‘We Slept At Last’ - at first glance. However, in truth, Marika’s always had a fixation with the grotesque. Return back to the strange hungry mouths that lingered on her debut, and a similar darkness hangs in the shadows. If the deliciously sarcastic chorus of ‘Open Wide’ - “What’s your favourite game to play / Lying on your back all day?” - isn’t intended as a jab at pillow queens and selfish bedfellows, then it certainly should be. It’s not that Marika Hackman keeps continually changing; rather, she becomes ever more direct in her approach. “‘I’m Not Your Man’ was a very important album for me to make,” she says of her second record. “The growth in confidence on the last record was definitely a huge thing. I’ve stepped up again on this one.”
As featured in the July 2019 issue of DIY, out now.