Interviews

A Chat With Melanie Martinez

Melanie Martinez @ The Vogue Theatre - February 21st 2016

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When we found out Melanie Martinez was on tour, we knew we had to catch up with her and have a nice little chat.

Take a read and let us know what you think.


CA: I’m an avid American Horror Story Fan

MM: Cool.

CA: Yeah, love the show, and I saw that your…I mean I heard your song, Carousel, was on the 4th season, I think it was.

MM: Yeah, it’s my favorite show too. It’s so good.

CA: It’s unreal-ly good. [It] tied in perfectly with the freakshow/carnival theme, your Carousel song. Obviously you said you’re a fan, which season’s your favorite?

MM: Probably.. I mean the first one and the seond are really great. I’m really a fan of every season except for like the third wasn’t my favourite.

CA: The third one was the…

MM: The Coven.

CA: Yeah, yeah.

MM: It wasn’t really my favorite but I like, love the first and the second are like so good.

CA: Yes, the second season by far. That ummm….

MM: …was the craziest roller coaster.

CA: Yeah, that crazy roller coaster ride. Whoa!

MM: It was the craziest plot twists and like so much going on.

CA: Yes, it was unreal. So with that in mind…or with that being said ,do you have an affinity for sort of like dark, creepy horror movies, all that sort of stuff?

MM: For sure, I definitely love horror movies and all that for sure.

CA: It definitely ties in to your sort of style. It’s got that creepy…you know you’ve got knives and all the blood and all that. Yeah [laughing]

MM: Yeah [laughing]

CA: So, favorite horror movie? Or movie you’ve watched recently that you really like, [that is] a horror movie…horror wise?

MM: Horror wise? Recently? I mean it’s funny ’cause like I just don’t really get to watch a lot of movies, like recently at least I haven’t been able to but I did watch The Exorcist for the first time ever, recently, and it didn’t scare me like I thought it was gonna scare me.

CA: Yeah, it’s just a decent movie.

MM: Yeah! But like my dad made a huge deal about it for so long when I was growing up, so it made me not want to watch it ’cause I loved scary movies. I watched like Chucky when I was like really young and probably wasn’t supposed to watch that. And like, I don’t know, I just like fell in love from then on. [laughter]

CA: Yes, same here. Like every horror fan, you start off young, it scares the crap out of you a bit.

MM: But you love it.

CA: Yeah!

MM: It’s the point.

CA: You get hooked. You get that feeling.

MM: Exactly!

CA: But, yeah, that… The Excorcist is definitely…it’s a good movie but to today’s standards…

MM: It definitely wasn’t…the quality of the…maybe I’m just like spoiled now…

CA: We’re spoiled with great…

MM: …we’re spoiled with great quality video and stuff. Yeah but it’s still a good movie.

CA: That’s great! Did you…you toured with Lindsey Stirling during her last your, I think for about 7 or 8 stops?

MM: It was very brief for sure.

CA: What was that experience like? Did you end up doing anything with her, like collaborate with her on stage at all during that or anything?

MM: Umm. No…it was just like a few dates that I just opened for her.

CA: And you came to Vancouver during that tour?

MM: Umm..No…

CA: You didn’t?

MM: No, this is my first time coming to Vancouver. I was supposed to come here for a tour, but then I couldn’t get my…I got my passport stolen basically.

CA: Oh yeah! That was October’ish, 2015.

MM: Yeah, it was like a while back but…

CA: Well, that’s pretty cruel. Cry Baby has been such a fantastic album. I mean it’s so well received, such a great listen. Does it’s popularity, or the impact its had affect newer work that your working on? Do you ever retrospectively look at that when you’re creating something new? Or is it just you’ve made that and you’re moving on to sort of your next thing?

MM: Umm. It’s just weird because like when I was writing Cry Baby I like…the only thing that I was thinking about, when writing it, was the concepts and the visuals, and the way that it sounded kind of happened naturally. Just because every session I would go into…I would like, you know, talk to the producer and be like I like love toy sounds…like, you know what I mean, that’s my biggest inspiration. If I hear a bell or a chime or anything like that, it just immediately sparks melodies and concepts, and it’s a weird thing, but it still does to this day. I definitely like just want to like, kind of…I am writing music right now. Umm. But it’s like very early on and I know what the next album concept is, and I know exactly what I want to do. So, I don’t really think about what people think of my music, and how they listen to it or what my demographic is, ’cause like in reality I just like…

CA: You like what you like?

MM: Yeah! I’m gonna write from personal experience, from emotion, from whatever the hell I’m feeling that day. So I just like…I don’t even think about anything else besides that.

CA: Very cool. So you said you like kinda come up with the like , I guess, the visual or the idea of what you want, the style or feel of it, first?

MM: Yeahhhhh. It’s like visual is super important to me. So if I am writing a song, like, I have to have the title. The title is the first thing that I have. Then when I have that title, I have to make sure that the title…is like, so…I have to make sure I can tell a whole story from that one title and like make sure that it, from beginning to end it makes sense. And not only that it makes sense, but do I see a music video to it. If I don’t see a music video to it while writing it, I just scrap it immediately. It’s very visual.

CA: That is very interesting. I’ve never really heard that, from musical artists anyway, coming from a visual perspective. It makes sense though.

MM: When I was younger I used to be really into photography, and I still am, I just don’t really get to do it besides taking my own artists photos and stuff like that. But, umm, I…you know, that’s probably why I love directing my music videos and writing video treatments, and I think it’s all just because I love the visual aspect of it as well.

CA: Well, that’s very cool. Umm… We actually went and talked to a couple fans and came up with a…just a couple questions from them. So, one of them was, “Will your second album have a similar baby theme to is?”

MM: So, Cry Baby wasn’t necessarily a baby theme but I understand what they’re saying. So like, Cry Baby is definitely a remaining character throughout all of my albums. So like what I want to do is connect all of my albums and make it tell a bigger kind of story. So the first album is very focused on her family life and her love life. You know, who she is, how she thinks, and what she says. And I want the second album to be kind of her just leaving her house and just going to this one place in this town that she lives in, and kind of now she’s the narrator…she’s kind of explaining her experience but also like introducing other characters and what their going through more, ummm, in this one place in this town that she lives in. So that’s what the second albums about. It’s about this specific place in a town that I am not going to say what it is, but yeah.

CA: Yeah, well that makes sense. So it’s nice to have the holistic view. Like you have a plan, you want to work through this character. That sounds… pretty cool.

MM: It’s fun! [laughter}

CA: Yeah! [laughter] I mean, and that comes from…I mean that’s why always sort of thought there was that sort of movie or theatrical tie in, kind of. Especially the horror tie ins because of the themes. It’s sort of like you’re telling a story, you’re progressing this character, and it comes across very well.

MM: Thank you.

CA: The next question from a fan was, “How did you come up with the Cry Baby character?”

MM: The Cry Baby character is so, like, based off of myself that it just really is just from personal experience. And when I was younger I was called a cry baby and made fun of for being super emotional and taking things way to personal. And still as an adult like I do as well, you know what I mean like I literally just cried in the first interview that I had today. Like, I’m just a very emotional human.

CA: That’s great, I mean being in touch with your emotions is great.

MM: Yeah, I’m very, very in touch with my emotions, but like I think that the whole point for me really, like eventually I realize like I wanted to kind of turn the word cry baby into…or just like create this character so that cry baby would no longer be an insult and I wouldn’t look at cry baby as such a bad thing, you know. Like it’s like, the whole entire album is about Cry Baby, you know, being super insecure and kind of like going through her emotions until she finally realizes that she’s comfortable with how crazy and insane she is and I think that I’ve made the exact same kind of progression [laughter], and the growth…and I don’t know, like I feel like I’ve definitely grown into who I am and, like, I think Cry Baby is just me. So….[laughter]

CA: It feels like you’ve sort of had it…maybe [made] cry baby feel more of a strength as opposed to people seeing it as a weakness.

MM: Totally! Absolutely!

CA: Seeing as, you know being a cry baby you’re emotional. It just takes a lot of strength to be emotional.

MM: I mean, yeah. For sure.

CA: The last question was, pretty generic, “What influences you?”. I would assume stylistically.

MM: Umm. I love, like Mark Ryden is my favorite visual artist, and Nicoletta Ceccoli (artist name confirmed by @melsteddybearr) , and I love Tim Burton movies. So those are like my biggest inspirations I think.

CA: That is great! I can see the Tim Burton for sure, 100% I can see that.

MM: [laughter]

CA: Just a couple last questions that we ask everybody. Are there maybe any lesser-known artists that you’re listening to, or people that might not get the spotlight that you listen to and that you really appreciate, that you think people should check out?

MM: Umm. That is a good question. I mean like, I know that everyone knows who Grimes is, you know, so like I don’t really know. I guess I listen to people that people listen to, so.

CA: Yeah, I mean Grimes is great because even though she is getting pretty popular now, I think a lot of the main stream still don’t know her that well.

MM: Yeah, it’s interesting. I mean if you ask someone like on the street who Grimes was, they’d probably…I think that they’d…just like a random business person or something, I think that they would be like I’ve heard of her but I don’t know what song. But her music is so cool and like so like…I just love her because like she has her own thing and it’s like so perfectly crafted. She is so perfectly Grimes, you know. That’s so important to have that as an artist. I respect that for sure.

CA: That makes sense. The last thing, we work with an organization called Music Heals that , and they help bring music therapy to those that need it. And they just kind of…to help spread their name, they ask artists to finish this sentence. And the sentence is, “Music makes me…”

MM: Cry! [laughter]

CA: That’s really good, that’s actually the most unique one I’ve gotten so far.

MM: Really?

CA: Yeah! That makes sense, emotional music. It’s easy to get tied into it. Well that’s perfect, that is all I have for you.

MM: Awesome.

CA: I really appreciate your time.

MM: Thank you so much.

CA: Good luck on your show tonight, and the rest of your tour.

MM: Awesome talking to you, thank you so much.

 

Melanie Martinez and Jamie Taylor at the vogue theatre February 2016

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