Having unleashed their seventh album, Mother (opens in new tab), theatrical metallers In This Moment hold their fatre in their hands. We challenged frontwoman and mistress of costume changes Maria Brink to answer your burning questions about their new era, collaborating with metal icons and what we can expect from ITM shows of the future.
What’s the correct number of costume changes for a 45-minute festival set? Three seemed excessive.
Jo Fleischer (Facebook)
“I have to do what’s good for me. The show we’ve built is almost as if each song is its own movie, I love how our show keeps you on your toes the whole time — we’re doing something only we are doing right now. I respect some people’s point of view worrying that we’re lacking something else because we’re too focused on one thing, but we work really hard to balance everything equally. I’m also trying to do more layering so I can change the visuals just by shedding something without having to go away and change into something else. I know stripped-down shows can be beautiful and perfect in their own right and that’s who those artists are, but for us, it’s almost like a play; when a song or a scene changes, the colours and the looks change, and I have performers to add the performing arts element on top of the music that I’m really passionate about. Someday it’ll be my legacy that I leave behind so I work really hard to stay innovative and approach all the different artistic levels that come with what I do.”
If you had an unlimited budget, what would you add to your stage show?
Lisa Abraham (email)
“I’d add in Cirque de Soleil shows, extra over-the-top things would be coming down from the ceilings and I’d probably levitate over the crowd! Maybe someday I’ll do those things. It’s one step at a time but I love live shows and that feeling of being able to perform just as much as the music.”
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On the last album you went a different route from Blood and Black Widow: will this album continue on the path that Ritual set? Will it mesh sounds from previous albums or will you forge a new sound and go in a different direction? Basically, what can fans expect from Mother?
“Mother is the next level for us. There’s definitely a transition happening; I think you can really hear it and feel it with the visuals you’re going to see at shows. There’s new things you haven’t heard from us before, and obviously the empowering Queen We Will Rock You cover we’re doing with Taylor Momsen and Lzzy Hale. It’s such an honour to sing with them and to do something so powerful together. All you can do is your best try to get your soul out there so people will either love it or not. That’s why I’m always trying to evolve and experiment; I don’t want to be just one thing. I want to be experimental, evolve and grow, go to that next empowering place in myself, and I think you can hear that on Mother.”
What’s the hardest thing about being the frontwoman of an internationally famous metal band?
“My biggest challenge is being away from my family. My family is the most important thing in the world to me – they’re my lifeline, my everything. The time you have with the people you love is more precious than anything in this world, more than fame or money. It’s hard for families to be torn apart and there’s a lot of sacrifices families have to make, so I want to just honour them and love them because they know a lot of what I do is for them too. We’re really learning to balance things out so if I have to be gone from home for two months, then I need to be home for another two months.”
What was it like covering Phil Collins’ iconic classic hit, In the Air Tonight?
“I love that song, it’s so beautiful and haunting and totally has its own lane. Embracing songs I’ve always loved and being able to do our own thing with them is something I’ve come to love. I remember first hearing that song and thinking, ‘Wow, what is this?’ Even when you heard that song when you were little, it brought a certain emotion and mystery over you. Maybe you just couldn’t place your finger on it or understand it back then. All the great songs are scary to cover; you don’t want to touch them because they’re so perfect, but you’ve got to think of it in the way that you’re not trying to make it better, you’re just trying to do your interpretation of it. So when I let go of that pressure, I love it.”
How do you come up with your costumes for the live shows?
Hayley Leith (email)
“It starts with the music first so while the music is happening, I’ll come up with an energy for the album, put pictures and colours together to make an artistic moodboard of imagery to share with my bandmates, the label and producers etc. I listen to a song and start feeling what emotions it evokes or what it means to me; something might evoke reds and oranges, fires and something visually stunning or powerful, then the next might just be me and a piano. I’m an obsessive person about this; my mind is continuously thinking about it and I can’t stop it.”
Do you have any pets?
Cat Hadder (email)
“Yes and if I didn’t tour for a living, I’d have so many animals! Right now I only have a chihuahua, Twinkle, and she’s fierce, she’s like my little dragon. She goes everywhere with me, she flies and tours with me, goes to video shoots, so whoever hangs out with me hangs out with my dragon. I love animals more than people and my dream is to have an animal sanctuary someday, own a bunch of land and live on the water.”
Do you think there’s a stigma or hesitance for management hiring female crew members within the music industry?
“I don’t think so. If you look at my crew, we’re all women. When we roll through, we have more women in our crew than we do men and they’re badasses all over the place. I’m seeing a lot of women in other camps too – tour managers etc. I have a female stage manager, a female tour manager – there’s definitely powerful women out there representing right now. No matter who you are, you can’t let anything hold you back, so even if there is a stigma saying it’s harder, do what you do and you’ll make it happen.”
You’ve collaborated with some amazing artists – anyone else left on your hit list?
Devin Bryant (email)
“Trent Reznor would be a dream to work with, plus Chino Moreno from Deftones who’s been my favourite singer for a long time, his voice is super-angelic and so real. Probably Maynard James Keenan for his voice, and Stevie Nicks would be amazing. I’m also in love with Wardruna, their music is just insanely beautiful.”
Maria, what makes you truly happy?
“My family, love and peace – for me and for everyone else. I’m always saying ‘give me some peace’ and I choose peace over drama, over a lot of things, and I always try to seek that. I’m a naturally anxious person so I have to keep my surroundings almost hypnotising me onto a nice, healthy wavelength. My house is like a spa: there’s water fountains and fires, there’s tranquil music playing and smells of oils burning at all times!”
Originally published in Metal Hammer #334