In This Moment’s Maria Brink Talks ‘Black Widow’ Album, Touring + More
In This Moment are back on the scene, ramping up to the Nov. 17 release of their 'Black Widow' album. The disc has already spawned the hit single 'Sick Like Me' and there's more where that came from. Vocalist Maria Brink recently took the time to chat with 'Loudwire Nights' host Full Metal Jackie about the new album, and Brink also shared some thoughts on the band's touring plans. Check out the chat below.
Let's talk about the new record. 'Black Widow' was recorded in Las Vegas. Not the first time you've recorded there. Maria, what do you like most about working there and how does it make you feel more creative?
I think that we really just felt this magical thing with Kevin Churko. His son also, Kane. He just became literally a member of our band and we trust him musically and artistically. He is the type of guy that really believes something that I believe when it comes to music. That even if I can’t understand the language that a singer is singing in and I can’t hear the lyrics. There is something magical about being able to feel somebody. And that is something that has always moved me with music.
Even people like Johnny Cash, who doesn’t have that angelic voice, but that emotion would move you. That was always important to me and Kevin knows everything about me and he really pulled me kind of to the edge of my sanity and it's about invoking that trueness and those things that have meaning to me in truth. If I am still in the studio, he will tell me, “I love you Maria but you have to go take a break,” when I can’t quite feel it. That is key and why I think that we go to him and also I forgot to mention that he is so talented musically.
You've said that the new album is about turning weakness into strength. What's your biggest weakness and how has it made you stronger?
I think that I struggle with what I embrace on this album. I struggled with kind of fighting with the inner illnesses within myself where my psychological madness and I have always kind of struggled with different disorders and mental things and so the biggest thing that I was kind of always ashamed of or being embarrassed of was kind of that. My loved ones to me really close, if they ever called me crazy it would hurt me so deep and I was so sensitive about it. It is learning about embracing those things and letting go of being ashamed or questioning why it's like that, or learning to fall in love with those twisted darker parts of my mind and myself learning my experiences or anything that I lived to bring who I am. I wouldn’t see the artist that I am or write the songs or be able to relate with other people who are struggling or kids or whoever if I hadn’t had those types of things. That is kind of where I am coming from when I was talking about that.
Do you feel vulnerable when this band pushes itself in slightly different musical directions? Or is there an exhilaration to stepping outside the box?
No, I mean that's me. I am the crazy visionary one pulling them into those. The thing about our band is that Chris [Howorth] is a super old school and traditional metal. I have always loved metal -- Pantera, Sabbath, Korn and all these types of bands but I have always been a super industrial fan -- Ministry, Nine Inch Nails and on the pop side -- but Chris has always been in his roots so there has always been a struggle. But something in the last album that happened, I think with everything falling apart with our band and we had this do or die or reinvent ourselves now or never type thing, we had to let go.
I felt like we used to hold ourselves in a box based on fear. Will the metal community accept us. Is this heavy enough? Is this not heavy enough? All these questions and boundaries we put on ourselves on the last album more so than the new album is more, "Let's do what we want and let's free ourselves," and the whole idea of metal in general is about not conforming and not keeping us up in that box in rock 'n' roll.
I felt like I always mind that to Chris and he really let us go, so at times I do feel vulnerable for a minute. I mean I think we all get stuck into doing something kind of different. “Oh gosh are people going to get this?” I have learned that when I am questioning us a lot it actually usually means that something is special because it is something unique and in my mind it is something out of the box. I am kind of learning that those are our best songs.
It's your first album for a new label, Atlantic Records. One with a lot of history like Zeppelin, The Stones, AC/DC. What was most exciting about recording for this label and how did that excitement affect you creatively?
Honestly, in the beginning I got writer's block. I was all excited that we're merging with this huge empire and all the bands they've worked with priorly. The history. There was all this excitement in me and then there was some fear. You hear the stories about people signing with major labels and you've recorded your whole album, they don't like it and they just pull it and just make you do it again. Or they try to make you, let's hear something a little more radio or let's hear something a little more dumbed down, so those were some fears. None of that came to play. They didn't compromise anything we were doing whatsoever. I had given them a huge presentation before we signed with them. I'm an artist, I really want to do this. They have been nothing but super supportive. The live show we're trying to bring, which is this huge production with all this performing arts stuff. The album, the videos -- they've been super supportive.
I've freaked myself out a little, from the pressure and I had writer's block for probably the first two to three weeks. I was like, I can't do this! But I think that was it. I was freaking out if I could actually evolve to some sort of new level. But, we wrote -- we did a song 'Natural Born Sinner,' and something clicked in me where I was like -- I have to just, smoke a bowl, relax. This is what I do. All of a sudden, all the confidence and the creativeness started naturally happening. But, before that I was tripping.
Onstage you're a very theatrical performer. How does visually bringing the songs to life make you stronger as a singer?
I think I have fallen completely madly in love with the visual side of the whole thing. I think the visuals have just become so important to me. The music is obviously the heartbeat of it. If you're listening to it in the dark, I want to make people feel different emotions with just the music and just the energy. Then being able to take this visual show and apply it to that, I like the show to be just as strong as the music. Even if you were to say, pause the music, and you're just watching our show, you're still kinda feel those emotions that you would feel from listening to us. I love that and I love the next level and I really just want to create a show with the band and everything we're doing.
I swear, it's a huge theatrical show now. Almost every song there's a setup change and something shifts. I think people are going to be really captivated with it. Even if they don't like what we sound like, it'd be very hard for them to walk away by what they're actually seeing. I think it makes me a better singer. When I can really get into these characters that are these different parts of my personality onstage. I'm not just singing it, but there's something about the movement, if it's a primal sexual song and I'm singing that -- I'm just singing it, I'm almost holding myself back. But if I'm whipping my head, with my whole body, dancing and performing is expression. I think that's when I really let go even physically and with my whole being, I think that the voice, how I sound, is even more intensified. I let everything go.
What can we expect on this upcoming tour?
We're going to have a bunch of new songs and we're going to have a bunch of 'Blood,' a bunch of some of the old ones that people love. We're trying to bring a big thing and make sure we're trying to capture all those special moments I think people want to see and the new video, we have two new videos coming out in the next few weeks. So I think everyone can keep their eyes open for that. Make sure people come out and see the show, I think it's going to be something exciting that they haven't seen before.
Thank you so much for calling!
Thanks to In This Moment's Maria Brink for the interview. 'Black Widow' is available for pre-order at Amazon and iTunes. Look for the band also hitting the road on tour at these locations. Tune in to Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie and Tony LaBrie’ Monday through Friday 7PM through midnight online or on the radio. To see which stations and websites air ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.