Perception is a curious thing. To the outside world, Marina Diamandis is the drop-dead gorgeous Greek/Welsh front vixen of Britain’s popular Marina and the Diamonds, with a chart-topping 2010 debut The Family Jewels under her belt and a brand-new, even poppier sophomore set, Electra Heart, to boot...
Perception is a curious thing. To the outside world, Marina Diamandis is the drop-dead gorgeous Greek/Welsh front vixen of Britain’s popular Marina and the Diamonds, with a chart-topping 2010 debut The Family Jewels under her belt and a brand-new, even poppier sophomore set, Electra Heart, to boot. Additionally, the fashionista designed her own window display for overseas department store Selfridges & Co. — for which she also posed as a live model — and has been named the new face of Max Factor for their latest makeup line. So what personal travails could possibly keep this kitten from contentedly purring? Quite a few, apparently. Pretty? Famous? Diamandis snorts, derisively. “Well, I certainly don’t think of myself like that,” she sighs. “But if I see a really beautiful person who appears to have lots of good qualities, you kind of think, ‘Oh, they would never be rejected or lose in love!’ But it all depends on who you fall for. And if you think that person is the most beautiful person in the world, you’ll always feel less than him if he doesn’t feel the same about you.” Romantic problems? She’s had ’em in spades, and utilized the album/alter-ego Electra Heart [and thumping dance-pop ditties like “Lies,” “Primadonna,” “Bubblegum Bitch,” and “Fear & Loathing”] for cathartic release. As they say, Hell hath no fury….
PureVolume: So you dated a real creep?
Marina Diamandis: Well, sometimes I’m like, 'Oh, maybe I’m a bit harsh on him — he’s not that bad of a guy.' But then I’m like, 'Who would write a whole album about someone and make up a fictional character just to be able to talk about what happened?' So he obviously was a fucking idiot. So I guess I just fell in love with the wrong person, someone who…who just didn’t love me. I’m not going to tell you who it is, obviously. But hey — fuck him!
PV: Did you have old-school ideas about romance?
MD: Well, I think this affected me so much because I’ve always had fairly good relationships with the person afterwards, and I’ve always felt very loved. So it kinda scared me — that one experience where I didn’t feel like I really had any control or equality in the relationship. So I dunno — it ended up not really being about a guy, but about love in general, and how we all relate to it. And how it is so relatable — it’s a universal thing. And how much your perception of love can change when something like that happens. So songs on my record like “Primadonna” and “Home-Wrecker” focus on the universal truth about love, and prizing yourself as first — not second — best. Because if you’re second best, what’s the point? Even if you’re in love with someone, I’d just rather be alone.
PV: Are you still alone?
MD: It’s funny — I’m actually very happy. So that’s the beauty of pop music — you can use it to get out all your frustrations. So I’m not alone — I’m in a very balanced relationship now. And your views on love are always directed by your last experiences with someone, so when I met someone else, I just thought, 'Oh, my God! I can’t believe I was with an ex like that and I had all these weird feelings about relationships and what they should be!' Now I understand that you don’t have to be with a screwed-up person. It’s just wrong.
PV: How long were you with this chucklehead?
MD: Well, I was never really with him — that’s the amazing thing. And if you’re not with someone after, say, four months, then you’re never gonna be with them. I’ve always been really headstrong, and with the three long-term relationships I’ve had in my life, I knew immediately, within a week of meeting them, that I was gonna be in a long-term relationship with them. I don’t really do flings or one-night stands. But this guy wouldn’t even hold hands in public! And then one day, he pushed me away because he ran into a friend in the street, and I just thought, 'Oh, my God. This. Is. Over.' And I didn’t even call him — I just sent him a text saying, 'It’s over.' So I was the one who was helpless, but I was the one who ended it. Because it’s just weird not to be number one in somebody’s life. So Electra Heart is a very weird record, because it’s very multi-layered — on one hand, it’s very bubblegum pop and ironic, and then on the other, it’s kinda bitchy and aggressive. But deep down, without sounding too help-bookish, it’s about having self-respect and expecting certain things from a relationship. And if you don’t get that, then it’s simply not the right relationship for you.
PV: It sounds like this became an entire psychological experiment for you. You cut off your long auburn hair, then dyed it blonde.
MD: Yeah. I’m fascinated with anonymity in a way, because with our whole culture, and with my generation, you see how things have developed in the online world. You look at Tumblr, and there are all these Tumblr-famous people who are kind of anonymous. And for some reason, I really wanted that. And I was traveling across America, as well, living there and writing there. And I could’ve written [Electra Heart] in London, but I didn’t want to — I needed that kind of escapism, that separation from just being Marina. Artists need that sometimes to stimulate your imagination, in order to make work that is truthful and that is about what you really want to say.
PV: Well, you used to look like Catherine Zeta-Jones. Not any more!
MD: I know! Now I look like Lana Del Rey! Two years ago, it was Lady Gaga, then it was Catherine Zeta-Jones, now it’s Lana Del Rey or Shakira.
PV: But you chose blonde because of Marilyn Monroe?
MD: It’s weird because Marilyn Monroe is kind of having a renaissance in culture — I’ve noticed a lot of artists talking about her at the moment. But I think every woman connects to her in some way. And actually for a very long time, like three or four years, I wanted to dye my hair blonde, but I knew that my dad would go mental. But then I thought, 'You’re 26 and you’re scared of upsetting your dad?' So this became a freedom symbol for me. And when you wanna disconnect with who you are and a certain chapter in your life, it’s perfect.