Marina Drops New Album: Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land

Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land Tour Begins Feb. 2, 2022. Ticket pre-sale begins tomorrow, June 12.

V Magazine sat down with Marina to discuss her start in the music industry, how she found herself as an artist, and the release of her new album, Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land. Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land marks Marina’s fifth studio album and first full-length release since 2019’s acclaimed LOVE + FEAR.

Photo courtesy of Marina.

V: I was watching an Interview you did in 2019 in England for Channel 4  and you were talking about when you were just starting in music. You hadn’t written a song yet and ran to your parents and told them you were going to become a singer and that was sort of the start of it. So I was curious what their reaction was and how you found that early confidence to say, ‘this is something I’m going to try no matter what’? 

Marina: I think there was a lot of fear and confusion. Even though both parents are supportive today, at the time, it was very difficult for my dad to have faith in what I was doing because he’d never heard me sing or write. I cut myself off from a lot of people at that time because I almost didn’t want people to judge me. And I didn’t want people to say, “What are you doing? You can’t do this”  because it was a vulnerable time for me as well, even though I was basing this whole thing off an inner voice that was saying, “You absolutely should be an artist and a singer.” I think now in hindsight, what I really wanted was to become a songwriter and use my voice as a way to have a career and a mode of expression.

V: You would think the people that already know you would maybe be the easiest ones to say, “Hey, I’m going to be a singer”. 

Marina: When you haven’t expressed a secret desire, and you so want it to come true, it’s such a risk to tell people who you grew up with that you’d like to have completely different life plans. It was a very difficult time but also very empowering, eventually. 

Photo courtesy of Marina.

V: I heard you wrote your first song around 20 years old and got signed at 24 and, for the sake of anyone who wants to become an artist, what did those four years in between look like? 

Marina: I got signed at 22 actually, but I moved to London when I had just turned 19 and it was really scrappy. It was: Try one thing, go down this path, see if it works; if it doesn’t try something else. It was like zigzags honestly up until the month before I got signed. And that’s because I was A. starting off fresh, but B. because I was starting off fresh, I didn’t know what kind of artist I wanted to be. I didn’t even think of myself as an artist. I just thought The Spice Girls applied to the stage magazine and they went to an audition, so that’s what I’m going to do. I tried that for a year and then I thought, “These songs I’m being asked to sing are kind of crap, and I’m not squeaky clean enough to get into a girl band, I don’t have the vocal ability, so I’m going to go to a vocal college.” 

Marina: I started songwriting — it was part of the curriculum — and that changed everything. That was the moment where I felt like “This is what I meant to do with my entire life.” It was a feeling of deep peace and contentment. I still had to try a lot of things: going to open mic nights,  inviting my six friends to come to my gig and that’s what those years looked like, just trying lots of different things until I started to feel like something was working, and I think songwriting was that first big discovery. The second was buying a laptop so I could produce my own demos. Up until that point I’d been going on the equivalent of Craigslist in the UK. I’d go to random guys’ houses and pay them $250 to produce my demo. Once I started producing on my own, that’s when record labels started to be interested.

Marina: I also think it will happen, in terms of being an artist, when you are ready. I wasn’t ready for any of this at 19 or 20 or 21 or 22. At 24, it was still challenging for me — even though I knew who I was as an artist.

Photo courtesy of Marina.

V: There was like maybe three years where you hadn’t put anything out, And people were saying, “She’s on hiatus; she’s quitting music.”  And I wonder if, for musicians, if you want to lay low for a year or two that’s a normal response. 

Marina: I was actually thinking about this three or four days ago. I thought, “I didn’t take that long off. I took two years off and then “Baby” came out. Though, I think it was probably compounded by the fact that after I expressed doubts about whether I wanted to continue to be an artist and have a career in music. But, I think generally speaking, we are used to consuming art at a much quicker pace these days.  

V: I have a couple of questions about the new album in particular. As part of the album you are dealing with the past and the present, and for a lot of people, I think that’s on people’s minds because of the lockdowns. And I’m just wondering if you can speak a little bit about that with the music? How there’s certain truths that have stayed true for a long time and are still true today.

Marina: It’s not something that I’m conscious of when I’m writing songs, but it’s more like trying to build a feeling. So, with a song like “Purge the Poison”, which I wrote at the beginning of the first lockdown last April, I was trying to understand what was happening whilst also reflecting back on the past. Perhaps I was looking for a deeper meaning to why COVID happened, what that means for the earth, and I was tying in all of these cultural events, like Harvey Weinstein, Britney Spears and how she was treated — because one of the like main themes of the album is femininity and why we are living in a world where it seems like we’re all asked to act on our masculine selves more than the feminine parts of ourselves. I think we need to bring a bit more balance back so we can relate to each other, and to the earth, in a different way. 

Marina: I think we all have masculine and feminine energy inside of us, and the world of the past 70 years has required more masculine energy in the way we work and approach things, and I think we need more balance. For me, it’s about us being able to act from a different part inside of ourselves. And I think that comes from the feminine, but obviously for cultural reasons, that’s been seen as a negative thing for so many years, particularly with men, so that’s really been an underlying theme in the whole record. 

Photo courtesy of Marina.

Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land Tour Begins Feb. 2, 2022 in San Francisco; ticket pre-sales start Monday, June 14. Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land is available now via Neon Gold/Atlantic Records on all streaming services, along with a variety of physical releases – including vinyl pre-orders, CDs, limited edition Fly Trap Clear Green, Marina Metallic Blue and Ancient Dreams Gold cassettes, and a very special Marinazine CD package– are available exclusively via the official MARINA web-store.

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