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In This Moment Interview 2014
Written by Lauren Hughes   
Monday, 24 February 2014

Maria Brink of In This Moment

 

In This Moment first caught my attention in 2010. I had talked to someone at a show, who went on and on about the In This Moment show they had been to, and it encouraged me to look into them. I loved their music from The Dream, and Beautiful Tragedy quickly grew on me. I was never into much screaming in music. I still am very selective about which bands I enjoy when it comes to screaming (or growling). Not long after I decided I really liked In This Moment, they released A Star-Crossed Wasteland, and by the end of 2010, I saw them perform live for the first time. Since then I have been hooked on them and their performance.


In This Moment

 


In 2011, the band went through some struggles within, which led to the departures of founding members Jeff Fabb and Blake Bunzel. The emotions lead singer, Maria Brink, went through are heavily reflected in the 2012 release of Blood. Taking a new direction both musically and in their live show, In This Moment have blossomed into something completely new. They welcomed new members Tom Hane and Randy Weitzel to the group, and have been developing their new look, including the new concept of “Hellpop,” which they will debut during the Hellpop Tour later in 2013.

I spoke with Maria while she was on the Carnival of Madness tour in 2013.

 

 In This Moment

 

Sonic Cathedral:  How is the Carnival of Madness tour going?

Maria:  Wonderful, we’re having a blast. We’re friends with all the bands and everyone’s hanging out, and it’s wonderful.

Sonic Cathedral:  That’s great. I loved the show in Philadelphia, I love what you’ve done to the entire set, and it’s really coming together nicely.

Maria:  Aww, thank you, I really appreciate that. We’re trying really hard, ‘cause we’re like, not typically the type of band that likes to play in the daylight, you know? We’re really kind of atmospheric and theatrical. It’s like, putting on a graveyard play, but turning the lights on, or something. We really tried our hardest to bring the atmosphere of what we do into the daylight show.

Sonic Cathedral:  You did a good job, at least where I was at, the lights were still there and you kind of get drawn into the performance and ignore the daylight behind you. My first question goes off of what we just talked about, you have spent a lot of time working on the theatrical part of your stage show. What inspired you to redo the live performances of In This Moment and create something spectacular?

Maria:  Well, I always loved, like, you know… plays, and theatrical shows, and Michael Jackson, and Madonna, like that big performance. You know, when you’re young and you grow-up and you see it; and KISS, and that larger than life theme. But I don’t know why I didn’t incorporate it before this album. I really wanted to do it, but, everything happens for a reason. Something happened when we did this album, and something like, a light turned on in me. I’d always tell myself, and think, oh, is this heavy enough? Or is this, this?

I was always worried about other peoples’ perceptions on what our show should be and on this album I said, “I’m letting go of all of that.” Like, I want to do exactly what we want, who cares if it’s never been done before? Like, we need to pave our own path and just follow this artistic vibe I’ve been feeling. So, Chris really just said, “Ok, fine, lets just do it.” And then, when I told him I wanted dancers, he got a little scared. He’s like, “what?” (laughs) And I’m like, “Chris asked me,” and so, I think he better trust me, and I trust him, and so we’re just doing it. And I want it to get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger.

Sonic Cathedral:  Yes, I’m delighted to see the Hellpop Tour, which is my next question. In This Moment has the Hellpop Tour coming up in the Fall, can you explain to fans what “Hellpop” is and I will add on to that, what can they expect from the tour in regards to the theatrics and the setlist?

Maria:  Well, we came-up with the “Hellpop” to, you know… it had a cheery, blocky… with like the, dirty, silky… or you know, me up there with my hair blowing in the wind, and whatever; and then wearing my outfits and then the guys look like they’ve just fallen out of the grave with ash coming off of them. And I think that we have a lot of rock ‘n roll and metal influences to our music. And we have a lot of, kind of, just, fiery rawness to us. But, at the same time, a lot of the visual is very kind of that, what we wanted to put in, for years, talking about that Michael Jackson, that visual of, that kind of pop-show that you would see, that would be with dancers and lights. So, “Hellpop”, just, I don’t know, we just, it was almost a joke to us. Then we were like “fuck it,” lets just try that, because for some reason, that makes so much sense.

 

In This Moment 

 

Sonic Cathedral:  That’s really fascinating. I’m going to the Stroudsburg show, so I look forward to seeing what you’ve come-up with.

Maria:  Yeah, we’re going to bring a great show. And we’re going to bring a lot of new and interesting things. Some things we’ve never done before.

Sonic Cathedral:  I’m going to change topics a little. Aside from being a musician, you are also a painter. I own two of your paintings, which are beautiful, by the way. And I was going to ask whether you would consider painting the cover art for any of your albums or any of the artwork for inside of them?

Maria:  Probably not. I mean, I don’t even think I’m a good painter. I mean, obviously beauty is seen in the eyes of the beholder. I really love to do art just to be expressive. All of my art pieces, I really love, I do love them. But, I do it really just to like…it makes me feel good. I love to just be expressive and be able to put my emotions into some paint. I don’t know; I love it. I don’t think I’m good enough to do that, to do a cover or something. I don’t know. Who knows?

Sonic Cathedral:  I think it would be. Even if it’s just a single, I think the fans would certainly see the meaning behind it.

Maria:  I mean, maybe that’s a good idea. You never know.

Sonic Cathedral:  Do you still paint? I guess you are busy right now with all of the touring, that I guess you don’t have time at the moment.

Maria:  Yea, everything’s crazy right now. And we’re planning the new “Whore” video that comes-out. “Whore” comes out, the single, comes out in a week. And the video we’re planning this week. So, I’ve been obsessed with that.

Sonic Cathedral:  That’s very exciting. This wasn’t one of my questions, but since you brought it up, what can we expect from the “Whore” video?

Maria:  The “Whore” video is going to be the same. I love doing the visual side of the videos. I really do. I loved the “Adrenalize” and “Blood” so much. I think so much to the point where I want to get into some movies and I’m really passionate about it. Though the message behind the, um, I mean it’s still going to have the kind of movie reel videos lately, I really love them. I love the dark, and the visual things, kind of. But, the message is going to be very beautiful, and with the song, as far as, like, taking that control.

I mean, “Whore” is a really empowering song. I mean, the acronym for it is: Women, Honoring, One Another, Rising, Eternally. It’s about; taking power back, from the oppressive and not letting other people hold power over us with their words or their production, things like that. So, it’s a super empowering song for individuals. So, I’m trying to get that message through in the video, in a dark, metaphorical, twisted way. Of course, because that’s how I have to do it I guess.

Sonic Cathedral:  I’m very excited to see it then. The song certainly does have a message behind it, which, I guess that certain people, that don’t know how to understand symbology, may not understand. At least when I first heard the song, I saw it there very quickly, and I like that about it.

Maria:  Well, you’re intelligent.

Sonic Cathedral:  Thank you, as are you.

Maria:  You are. Some people don’t get it. They think it’s mean or degrading. They’re… not just taking the time to actually, feel the emotion in it, and read the lyrics.

Sonic Cathedral:  Yeah, and at least I took it as, you’re being ironic.

Maria:  Exactly, sarcasm.

 

In This Moment 

 

Sonic Cathedral:  With your new album, and a song like “Whore,” you’ve become much more popular in the past year. How do you feel about the mass of new fans? Is it hard to take in? Or are you just loving every moment of it?

Maria:  I’m loving every moment of it. I really am. I mean, sometimes it can be a little overwhelming, ‘cause you can’t believe how quickly things change. Like, you’ll go to one city, and then you come back and it’s like, “Oh my god, it’s a whole new ballgame now.” But, I mean, I love it. This isn’t work for me. I’ve dreamed of this my whole life, and I love it. It’s kind of my being. It makes me feel alive. And I wouldn’t be able to do this music and express myself into the show, if it wasn’t for the fans. I mean, they’re like the heartbeat to everything, literally. And being on stage is so powerful. I have a lot of anxiety in life. I have some anxiety disorders. When I’m on stage, I’m in my blissful state. And it’s because of the fans caring, and being there, and sharing that with me. So, I love it and I’m soaking in it, and I’m happy.

Sonic Cathedral:  I’m very happy for you, because when I discovered you a few years ago, there was definitely a nice crowd there, but it’s been really nice to see it expand in the past three years.

Maria:  Thank you, sweetie. I appreciate that. I’m so glad you can relate with the music.

Sonic Cathedral:  Yes, I definitely can. You have a lot of very powerful songs with special meanings behind them. And one of my questions later is about one of your songs. Hopefully we’ll get to it here. But, I definitely like all of the stuff you’ve written from Beautiful Tragedy to Blood. I can see all the meanings behind each song.

Maria:  Yay, good.

Sonic Cathedral:  On the other side of the coin, more popularity also means you’re going to hear from more people who dislike what you’re doing. I was going to ask how you handle that, and what advice you can give to your fans who are being bullied for just doing what they love.

Maria:  I think just being proud of who you are and loving what you’re doing, and not letting other people’s abuse, or words, or perceptions affect our own self-happiness. Like, someone threw a Bible at me singing “Whore” the other day on stage.

Sonic Cathedral:  Wow.

Maria:  Yeah… but the whole point is, I know that I’m doing. I know the beautiful message that the song holds. I know what it represents, and I have to be strong in that, and I have to love myself and love the meanings, and the things that I represent, and not let other people’s ignorance or hate, or whatever it is, affect my own beliefs. So, I think it’s just a matter of telling other people… you know, I know everyone’s allowed to have their own opinions, and that’s okay, and I respect other people, but, you gotta love yourself, and you gotta protect yourself.

I don’t read anything negative. I don’t even read anything like that at all. So, people write mean things under something that I write, I don’t read it. ‘Cause I think it can be toxic. So, I don’t go on YouTube and read all the comments people write, or go and do that stuff, because, I think we just gotta focus on whatever it is that we’re trying to focus on, and that we love, and respect ourselves, and choose to live our lives, and not worry about other people. Let go of other people, and don’t give them power over you.

Sonic Cathedral:  That’s good advice. With the Internet these days, people say anything behind their screen and don’t think it has consequences, but to people that do read it, it definitely does.

Maria:  Yeah, it can be very hurtful, and people can be very cold and mean, and that’s why just trying to love ourselves, and let go, and don’t let other peoples’ words have power over us. We don’t have to let them have power over us. All that really is, is their reflection on themselves, of what kind of person they are. And if we feed into that, and we fight back with them, and we write hateful things back, we’re feeding into their darkness, and feeding into their hate. And so, I try to just, not put a wall up. I’m a supporter of the gay community and I’m really open about that, and a lot of people hate me for that, and write very mean things. But, that’s their own problem, and that’s their own business. That’s their own thing. And I’m not going to let their stuff affect me. Do you know what I mean?

Sonic Cathedral:  Yeah, and it’s great that you have that attitude. And I guess you’d have to in that business, because, if you took everything too personally, you might want to give-up, then you’d never live your dream.

Maria:  Yeah, and it’s like “Who cares what other peoples’ things are?” I mean, there’s always going to be people who love you, especially when you put on a show like I do. I put on a pretty intense show, and it’s definitely got its provocative sides to it, and it’s a little bit bold, and what-not, and there’s going to be people that love you, and people that hate you. And, it’s like, what are you gonna do? You know?

 

In This Moment 

 

Sonic Cathedral:  That’s advice I’m sure a lot of your fans will definitely like to hear more about. How they can deal with issues of people bullying them, and in this society, it is definitely a tough thing. I knew when I grew-up there was, but, there wasn’t the same public awareness as there is today, and I think public awareness is a great thing.

Maria:  Right.

Sonic Cathedral:  For the final question, I have one that is a random question about a random song. I’m going to choose one of my favorites, “World in Flames” from A Star-Crossed Wasteland. And I was going to ask if you could tell the readers about the song. I think it’s very powerful, and one of the most beautiful songs you have written.

Maria:  Thank you. That song is about me. I had been in a relationship with somebody for a long time, and we were separating. Going our separate ways, and it was really scary for me, because I had been with them for so long, and kind of having to find my independence again. It was actually so beautiful when it happened. It was perfect for me, for writing the song. That’s why I always say, it’s so crazy that sometimes the darkest experiences in our life, can bring about the best art.

So, that song is about, just me being afraid and feeling vulnerable. About not wanting to die alone, or feeling afraid of being alone, and reaching, and in the song, kind of wondering who is going to be there for me. Who is going to be there in the end when it’s all said and done, and it really just comes down to love, and it just comes down to our souls. Who’s going to be by my side, type of thing.

Sonic Cathedral:  Alright, that’s what I thought it was about. It’s very beautiful, and it’s sort of a bittersweet love song.

Maria:  Yeah.

Sonic Cathedral:  Thank you for your time. Good-luck on Carnival of Madness.

Maria:  Aw, thank you sweetie.

 

Live photos by Lauren Hughes

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