Marina And The Diamonds

Charlie Ashcroft | Monday, 15 June 2009

Marina And The Diamonds

DMG's chat with Marina Diamond is barely ten seconds old, but in that short space of time she's already managed to make it in to the Daily Music Guide's good books.

"You're looking pretty fresh!" she remarks. With a succession of late nights under its belt, DMG is feeling anything but, but her compliment is much appreciated.

Set to perform in the Spiegel Tent near Brighton's Old Steine fountain this evening, this date is just one of a vast array of festival appearances she's got lined up for the summer. Although she seems relaxed ahead of the tonight's proceedings, she does admit to being rather self-critical when dealing with the live arena.

"I'm a perfectionist when it comes to playing live," she says. "Apart from this one night in Camden a while back, I don't think I've ever really come out of a gig and thought that it went well."

Others will disagree, with her live shows starting to mark her out as a breath of fresh air in the midst of the current crop of British female artists. It is a talent which the founder of the New York-based label Neon Gold Records spotted a while back.

"Derek [from Neon Gold] wrote about me on his blog about a year and a half ago," Marina explains. "We kept in touch, so I knew he was starting this new music label. Even though I'd been signed up by Atlantic by that point, I wanted to put my first couple of singles out on an indie label, and have stuff out stateside as well, so he was perfect."

Her second release, 'The Crown Jewels EP', is available now, before attention turns to her debut long player. "Hopefully, if everything goes to plan, the album'll be out in October. If everything goes tits-up, it'll be January," she says.

While songs like 'Obsessions', 'Mowgli's Road' and 'I Am Not A Robot' have already showcased the wonderful variety of Marina's current material, she confesses that the songwriting process isn't always plain-sailing.

"I have to be emotionally passionate about something, or really troubled
and angry about something, to be able to write songs," she says. "I'm really bad at just sitting down to do it - I sometimes feel the need to jump up every 20 minutes and go and do something else! So it can take a while for me to piece a song together."

Her touring band, often mistakenly referred to as 'The Diamonds' in the press, have been part of her live set-up for about nine months now, but Marina doesn't envisage getting them involved in the songwriting anytime soon. She is openly protective about her approach, which even extends to keeping a bit of a closed ear to some of her contemporaries.

"Obviously I have a core of artists who I'll always listen to, but I don't really have time to go and watch that many new bands," she explains. "There's also the danger that I'm gonna be influenced by their melodies or something! That's not something I want to do. You wanna keep it as pure as possible."

If the newly-released 'Crown Jewels' EP is anything to go by, Marina need not harbour any fears of imitation. Her voice is distinctive and her sound is refreshingly versatile. Her breakthrough moment seems imminent.