I remember the first time I saw In This Moment live. It was on the Mayhem tour a few years back and it was the first time “Zoiks” got backstage passes. We were so excited to be there sitting around backstage that we didn’t do anything except take pictures. Then In This Moment took the stage. I didn’t know who they were. I knew the name, but I wasn’t expecting that voice to come out of that girl. At one point she ran through the crowd a sang from the soundboard while the crowd did a circle pit around her and the band played on the stage. After that show I went to my record store and picked up “A Star Crossed Wasteland” and became a fan.
Fast forward a few years I get a press release about this new album from In This Moment coming out called “Blood” and that two of the members left to join the band of some “American Idol” kid and their management had dropped them. Within seconds of hearing the title track “Blood” I was blown away. That feeling didn’t go away track after track. This was an album that brought you from the side stages onto the main stages. If you’ve ever seen In This Moment live you know what kind of show they put on. I can’t wait to see them do it as a headliner.
Check out my chat with Maria Brink from In This Moment. You can listen to the entire interview uncensored here:
Maria Brink (MB): Hello Bob.
Bob Zerull (BZ): Hi Maria. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this with us.
MB: Oh thank you for caring about interviewing us.
BZ: Your new single off the “Blood” album is “Whore” but you’ve kind of redefined the word with the song. Can you tell us a little bit about what your intent was with the song?
MB: Oh yeah absolutely. The song represents basically anybody. You know everyone keeps thinking it’s just for women, it’s actually not just for women, it’s just anybody in general who has felt like they were, whether or not it’s publicly humiliated or put down or I think that a lot of us for some reason we let other people’s opinions of us or other people’s words towards us, we give them that power, so if somebody were to call you something degrading, we let their words have so much power over us, and so the song is about letting go of that. The song is about self-empowerment and understanding our self-love and who we are and not letting anyone or anything have power over us anymore.
BZ: When you perform it live you wear a dunce cap and you recently posed nude with the dunce cap on as a promotion for the video. Is that what the dunce cap symbolizes? Kind of the humiliation?
MB: Yeah kind of like, well you know punishment. The reason why I did that is because to me there’s nothing more vulnerable than being nude. You know what I mean? It’s a scary thought and everybody has their own insecurities and to place myself in kind of that being punished place with the dunce cap on the stool and a degrading word written down me, I wanted to kind of place myself in that vulnerable thing to really kind of have a visual, strong message to go with the song. I wanted something that people were going to pay attention to because I think it’s a really important message and I think it’s an important song to inspire people to learn about self-love and to learn about strength within ourselves, and to learn about not letting other people, whether or not it’s young teenagers being bullied or whether or not, no matter who you are or what you are, I just wanted to have a strong message attached to it and a strong visual attached to it.
BZ: Is there gonna be a video for this song?
MB: Yeah we just shot it. Oh my god I’m so excited.
BZ: The Blood girls have appeared in your first two videos and they show up with you on the red carpets, and they’ve even been on stage with you lately, who are they and what do they represent?
MB: They are all different types of beautiful goddesses. I like to call them my goddesses. The two girls that I have now who perform with me on stage, they’re actually new girls, but to me we all just represent women and that’s why I kind of like the mask because it leaves so much mystery and it kind of makes me feel like we’re all just women and we like to represent women together. I just wanted performers, I wanted to make a statement, and I wanted to have it be bigger than just me. You know what I mean? I don’t want it to be just about me. I wanted to bring a show and I wanted to bring something bigger than us. When I first started talking about it with the guys, they’re like what are you talking about. They’re my band members. Especially when I wanted performers on stage they’re like what? We’re a heavy metal rock and roll band what are you talking about? And I’m like I could just see it in my head over and over and over and I really wanted to incorporate performance and performing arts into our show and everything that we do, and the guys let me roll with it. And I’m madly in love with it, and I love expressing ourselves, and I love being able to create this big performing arts show, and I can’t wait until I have the finances to have a really really big production.
BZ: I was gonna say, I’ve seen you several times over the last year really. You’re always on the side stage or the opener, but every time I see you I was like I want to see what they’re gonna do in an arena show headlining or something like that, because it seems like you guys have a really visual show, you usually steal the show when you’re there.
MB: Oh I really appreciate that. Thank you. We’re doing the Hell Pop tour you should come out to that.
BZ: Yeah I plan on being at the Milwaukee show actually so I’m looking forward to seeing it.
MB: Oh perfect!
BZ: How did that tour come together?
MB: It was just time for us to do. I think we’ve done a lot of touring on this album and we’ve felt like the time was right for us to do our headliner to represent these songs and who we are and this album, and so we just thought it was time and so we just started brainstorming it all and putting it all together. And I’m still completely fixated on it because it’s coming up soon now so I’m brainstorming every day. To me the visual on this album something happened and I fell in love with the whole stage show part of it. I don’t know why I never did this before but I’m so infatuated with it now and I really like the visual show, it invokes all the same emotions you would feel as if you were just listening to the music at home in the dark. You know when you listen to music it makes you feel certain emotions. Our album, some of it’s dark, some of it’s angry, some of it’s sexual, some of it’s haunting so I wanted to bring all of those emotions into the visual show, so it’s really important to me. We’re gonna do a lot of really new awesome things in the show and I think people are gonna be really surprised. I want people to never be able to expect anything from us. I don’t want people to be able to be like oh I’ve seen that show before from them. I want to keep continuously evolving and growing and keeping people stimulated and excited.
BZ: Blood has been out for over a year now, and before that album came out you lost a few members, you had management issues, how close did you guys come to calling it quits?
MB: Oh gosh. We were on the edge, teeter tottering. Things weren’t really going good for the band, and like you just said management dropped us, and the band quit, and we were really petrified. I was so scared, and we didn’t know what to do, but it wasn’t that long. I mean it was probably like two hours in all reality that me and Chris felt maybe like we were defeated or we didn’t know. There was something that happened in everything falling apart that was so beautiful for me. It was like I had a fire lit in me that I can’t even remember the last time I felt something like that. So it was so crazy because if none of all these horrible things, if we didn’t hit rock bottom, we would not have truly come alive the way that we did. Because when we hit rock bottom, I said that’s it and we cannot let other people’s disbeliefs in what we’re trying to create, like we just said with a ”Whore,” like the message behind “Whore,” we can’t let other people’s perceptions or other people’s thinking that we’re done or we’re nothing affect what we want to do with ourselves and what we can create and who we are and the stand that we can take. So I told Chris we gotta do this. We gotta stand up and we gotta fight. We gotta pull out the fire in us that no one has ever seen. We need to redo everything. We gotta come alive with the visual show, with the sound, with how we represent ourselves. Every single thing we have to do, this is our moment. And thank god Chris didn’t give up on me, he’s my brother, and my partner and we just rallied.
BZ: At what point did you know that you had something special with “Blood?”
MB: The point was, we were trying to look for managers and nobody was really giving us the time of day. Nobody was interested. It was a really defeating feeling because me and Chris were trying to be strong, we were trying to do stuff, and we really weren’t getting any interest from anyone. And our producer Kevin Churko who we’ve recorded with our last few albums, we love so much, and we’re doing the next album with, he believed in us still and he said to us, I want you guys to come to the studio, and Century Media still believed in us as well, but Kevin said I want you guys to come to the studio and we gotta record something and we gotta do this. So we said okay. So we went to the studio with him and we all sat down and we said we have to do something that we’ve never done before. We have to do something that we haven’t heard from ourselves and no one else has heard. So we really reached inside ourselves to find something original, something unique, to find something that represented that fire in me. And we just did “Blood.” And then when we did “Blood,” I remember the first time we listened back to it, we had just done that one song, and I knew right away, I didn’t know what was happening, but when I was listening to it I was like something’s happening. I’ve never heard this before, I don’t know what this is, I don’t know what’s going on, but I felt like something was happening. And we sent it out to all the managers and instantaneously had all these managers wanting to fly out, they wanted to meet with us, they were interested, so all of a sudden the whole game changed. So right there in that moment is when I knew something was shifting.
BZ: How different is the Maria on stage from the one I’m talking to now?
MB: You’re so funny. She is different. My Maria on stage definitely is a real natural part of who I am, but obviously I can’t walk around as that girl. You know what I mean? It’s definitely an alter ego, but it is part of who I am, it is who I am, it is my life. The Maria, what I look like in real life and how I am, I’m a super flower child. I wear all flower child 60’s dresses. I don’t wear make-up. I wear like lip gloss and my hair is always really natural, and I’m a really kind of natural free spirit in my everyday life who has crystals and I burn sage, and I think I find a lot of calming beauty in that stuff. I am such a fiery woman and I am a real passionate woman and I get so much stuff built up inside of me that I can release all that on stage, and I kind of counterbalance it with the normal Maria that I am because with the real calming, natural kind of earthy spirit stuff and it kind of balances me out so I don’t go too crazy.
BZ: Is it difficult to come down after performance then?
MB: Yeah sometimes it is very hard to come down after stage. I have a whole routine because I really put all of my emotions and all of my experiences in life and things that I, the true meanings behind these songs I do evoke. I pull them out of myself on stage so some of them are very dark, and some of them are very traumatic, and some of them are really deep, some of it. So to pull that up and share with all these people, and not to mention you have thousands of people in front of you, that’s a lot of energy coming from the crowd you know what I mean? So it’s exhilarating and it’s powerful, and it really, I do somersaults on stage so when I come off stage sometimes yeah I have to listen to specific music, I burn candles, and I slowly have to breathe myself down. I’ve had full panic attacks after shows many times. But it’s a good thing. It’s kind of like…it’s so hard to put into words. It’s a good thing. I live for it and I love it.
BZ: The last question I have, I feel like within the rock and metal communities there is as much negativity as there is positivity which I think is what’s holding rock music back from getting more popular. Why are we afraid of our favorite bands to get popular and two how do you handle negativity thrown in your direction?
MB: I think that where that stems from, I believe, people love something, and I think that it’s special to them, and everybody doesn’t know about it so it feels more intimate I think, and it feels more like it’s your special thing and not everybody has already grasped it, but I don’t think people should be afraid of it because as long as whatever it is that that band is, and whatever it is that they represent, as long as they stay true to that and they stay true to their message and who they are and what they are and how they represent themselves, it’s okay for it to be spread out there for other people to experience, and I don’t think it lessens how special it is, but some people find it hard to share with everyone else. They want to keep it all to themselves. I think the second thing you said, what was the second one?
BZ: How do you handle negativity that is thrown your way?
MB: What I’ve done, I don’t read anything. I don’t look at anything. I don’t let myself be pulled into it, because I am kind of, I think no matter who you are if you’re reading things like that and you’re doing all that, I don’t want to subject myself to it anymore. And I’ve learned to really grow into that power of what, again referring back to “Whore,” knowing and learning who I am, and kind of embracing what it is I want to represent, and being free as an artist and letting go of other people’s expectations of what they think I should be, what shouldn’t I be, what should I do, what shouldn’t I do, should I scream, should I sing, I shouldn’t pose nude, I should. That’s all their perceptions. That’s their own business, and there are millions of people out there and I have millions of people’s opinions coming at me, so I kind of just try to keep it sacred to myself. Do it and then not read all of the yucky stuff. Now if people choose to at shows, when they share their positive feedback with me, or I get to experience the crowd and their beautiful energy, that’s what I want to experience, and that’s what I choose to experience, and I try to just not even go to the negativity. And if somebody brings the negativity to my face or is cruel to me or mean to me, I obviously will just get out of the situation and let them know that that’s unacceptable and I’m not going to let anybody degrade or put me down or treat me mean.
BZ: Awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this with me. That’s all I had, and I can’t wait to see you guys in November.
MB: Awesome. Thank you so much. Let everybody know too that we just shot the video and to keep their eyes open for “Whore,” the video, and we’re excited to see you and come out to the Hell Pop show.
BYLINE: Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.