Interview: Melanie Martinez
Mon, 19 May 2014 10:59:25
Melanie Martinez Videos
For Melanie Martinez, it's all connected.
"I can’t write lyrics unless I have a certain melody in my head," she explains. "I can’t think of a melody unless I have lyrics. They arrive at the same time, which is interesting. That’s the best way to sum up my writing process."
That symbiotic creative process helped her build one of the year's most intriguing and irresistible collections in the form of the Dollhouse EP. Examining strikingly morose imagery with a sharp sense of whimsy and an even sharper sense of humor, she takes pop down a new path altogether. The songs remain utterly catchy, yet they're potently honest. It's a fascinating combination that will solidify her as one of pop's most important newcomers...
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Melanie Martinez talks the Dollhouse EP [iTunes link] and so much more.
Did you approach the Dollhouse EP with a singular vision?
Yes, it’s like a pack of books that are all very cohesive yet they still tell different stories. That’s how I was looking at it. They all have the same vibe and quality, but the stories are different.
What encourages the storytelling for you?
I definitely watch a lot of movies. My favorites are horror movies, which is a bit weird. Ever since I was younger, I wrote a lot of poems and stories. I just like telling stories. That’s the fun part of writing songs. I like to write about things that have happened to me and things that haven’t happened to me but have to other people. That interests me. It’s definitely fun.
What’s the story behind “Dead to Me”?
Well, “Dead to Me” is like the aftermath of “Carousel”. It’s after I went on this ride through a really terrible relationship with someone. It’s like me saying I have to kill them in my mind in order to forget them. They’re dead to me. It obviously isn’t very literal. I think people got that, and it has that comedic quality to it. It was very perfect for after “Carousel”. “Dead to Me”, “Carousel”, and “Bittersweet Tragedy” go together.
Where did “Carousel” come from?
The whole vibe was inspired by childhood themes except for “Dead to Me”. There’s the carnival theme. I paint that picture. I also wanted to tell a story of a really bad relationship I was in, but I wanted to disguise it in all of these childlike qualities. I picture the music video first in my head like I usually do when I write songs. That’s where that came from.
Can you elaborate about “Bittersweet Tragedy”?
It sort of sums up the EP. It basically talks about how the relationship was so sweet and sour. I only notice the sweet parts because that’s what my mind was allowing me to see, but I wasn’t realizing how sad and bitter and everything really was. It sums up the whole story in a way.
If the EP were a movie or a combination of movies, what would it be?
That’s a great question! I think it’d be a string of Tim Burton movies. I really love the quality of his movies. They’re whimsical and dark. They’re like dream nightmares. Going forward, that’s what I’d like for my music to be like.
What are some of your favorites?
I love Beetlejuice. That’s a huge favorite of mine. Then, there’s Edward Scissorhands of course.
What music shaped you?
My dad played a lot of hip-hop like Biggie and 2pac. He also played a lot of The Beatles and other strong lyrical artists. That’s where the two come into play as I realize what my music is starting to sound like.
Does the EP lead into a full-length for you?
I’m working on finishing a full-length album. The EP is only the beginning of a bigger picture. I have a bunch of songs I’ve written for the full-length. It’s that dreamy nightmare vibe. There’s a contrast between the childhood themes and the darkness. They’re uncomfortable, honest, and dark.
Have you heard Melanie Martinez yet?