Festivalphoto spoke to Rebecca Spinks, singer with The Mariana Hollow, before they played supporting Pythia at the Borderline in London on 29th February.
Festivalphoto: Ok for anyone who hasnt listened to The Mariana Hollow before, how would you describe your music?
Rebecca: I'd describe it as alternative metal/rock. There's definitely a melodic edge to our music so we like to write songs that people can listen to and remember. It's fairly dark, some people say it reminds them of the sea
Festivalphoto: Your new album, Velvet Black Sky has just been released (although I keep mis-saying it as Black Velvet sky).
Rebecca: I keep doing that as well to be honest.
Festivalphoto: Where did the album title come from?
Rebecca: To be honest I was reading a book and it was just a few of the words in a paragraph, and I kind of revolved them around and I thought that's a really good set of words, and for me I think it describes a lot of the songs on the record. It's like a calm before the storm feel, so something that's very beautiful but holds a bit of apprehension and not knowing what the future's going to hold, and that's kind of the image I feel it conjures up when you hear velvet black sky. So that's where it came from, and a lot of the songs on the album deal with issues like that, so that's why it works for me
Festivalphoto: Can you tell us a bit about the album?
Rebecca: We spent 18 months or so crafting the songs and I think because in that time we got to know each other better we felt more comfortable writing with each other, and we wanted to challenge ourselves and make things a bit heavier, because some of the responses to the first album were that people wanted a bit more and a bit more upbeat stuff. All of the songs, they're part of each of us whereas on the first album it was mainly the guitarists writing the songs, Rich and Danny. This album's really been a combined effort and it just represents the unit that we are now, which I'm really pleased about.
Festivalphoto: You released a limited edition of the album - signed and numbered, around 3 months before the main release - what made you decide to do this?
Rebecca: Well basically we were struggling to get anywhere to be honest, and we realised that the main way of us promoting the band further and getting better gigs and more reviews was to get a PR firm, so really the limited edition was something to help fund that. Obviously we spent a lot of money pouring it into the album and video, and we all work day jobs and don't earn a lot from the band obviously, so it was just a way we felt we could sell some CD's and promote ourselves further so we can do more gigs and more things in the future.
Festivalphoto: As you say you've taken on a PR firm. Is that having noticeable benefits?
Rebecca: Yes it seems to be really good actually, it's The Noise Cartel, Pythia are working with them as well, and they've been really good in raising our profile so we're noticing more plays on myspace, more hits on the video, and I think since we've had that and had them pushing us on their website and getting us into the right magazines for reviews and things like that, it's been really helpful, so we're hoping for good things this year.
Festivalphoto: You're due to support Breed 77 on their UK tour. Are you looking forward to that?
Rebecca: Yeah I'm really excited about that. We're really honoured that they offered us the support slot, and it is an unplugged tour so it's going to be a bit different for the fans of Breed 77 as well as our fans. We hope to make a lot mre friends and fans of the band as we go around the UK, because we've only played a few cities of the UK so we're really pleased to go to places like Manchester, York and Cardiff - it's going to be great for us, so we just hope that opens some more doors really and possibly some other gigs with Breed 77 in the future.
Festivalphoto: It's always good to play to a new audience
Rebecca: Absolutely right. London's very difficult. Obviously it's our home town, we love playing here and there's lots of opportunity and we've got a lot of loyal friends and fans who come out to see us but it would be nice to make some new contacts around the UK.
Festivalphoto: Are there any headline dates planned ?
Rebecca: Not at the moment. Well actually we do have one in June, it's in Croydon, but we're still sorting out some other things so probably we're going to be rehearsing for this Breed 77 tour then in the summer we'll try and plan some other headline dates.
Festivalphoto: What bands do you think have influenced your music?
Rebecca: Well I think we all have different ones to be honest. For me I'd say some of the female vocalists such as Aimee Echo from Human Waste Project, and Jessicka from Jack off Jill, they've really influenced me, but as a collective band, I'd say early Metallica stuff, Paradise Lost, Anathema definitely for Rich and Danny has been a massive influence. Various influences really, we take things from different places.
Festivalphoto: When you buy music, which do you prefer - Vinyl, CD or legal mp3 downloads ?
Rebecca: Oh I'm definitely a CD person, or a vinyl if it's something special. I'm not a fan of downloading because I like to have my wall of CD's and I like to open the inlay and read and look at the pictures, and read the lyrics while I listen, so I don't think I'm ever going to change on that. Sometimes I download things you know but generally I'm a fan of buying CDs.
Festivalphoto: What was the last album you bought?
Rebecca: The new Nightwish album and I bought that a few weeks ago and I'm enjoying it.
Festivalphoto: Ok thanks for your time, I'll let you go and do your soundcheck.
Rebecca: Thank you