story + interview / LOGAN BRENDT
photos+ creative direction / HASSAN KINLEY
Brooklyn-based Seasick Mama can’t be confined. She breaks genres and the traditional expectations of a pop artist. Interestingly enough, she also possesses the motherly attributes of her stage name by taking care of everyone around her with a smile. On the day of her photoshoot for Ladygunn, she makes breakfast and lunch for the crew while throwing in an erotic antidote every now and then, discussing her drummer boyfriend and sex life. She could seem like a bit of an exhibitionist, but at the same time she seems a little reserved. Since women are often thought as complex, in this case, it’s particularly true.
With her large brown eyes and charming giggle, the bewitching singer-songwriter is establishing well-deserved attention with her robust voice and versatile musical stylings on her debut EP Dead Like Money. Already working with mastermind David Sitek of TV on the Radio, Sam Farrar from Phantom Planet, and Peter Wade of MNDR on her next EP, she’s well on her way to fulfilling her musical aspirations.
Determined to make it in this unpredictable industry, it seems that it is indeed in the cards for her. So, Seasick Mama sits down with Ladygunn to answer questions about her current and forthcoming EPs, her wild past, and lessons learned. She proves to be intelligent, well spoken, and seems to really have it together, even if she admits she didn’t always.
So, Seasick Mama, are we allowed to know your real name? Or is this to be kept a mystery?
You can use my real name, it is Marial. Nothing is ever, ever, ever a mystery with me.
On your Dead Like Money EP, each song carries its own elements, not sounding all the same as a tracklist often can. Was this a conscious decision to do this, or was it more of a pleasant surprise?
When I was writing Dead Like Money (with Mark Turrigiano) nothing was ever conscious. I remember trying to make conscious decisions and asking questions (and probably being really annoying) and Mark would always reply with “I don’t know, there are no rules.” That was my approach with Dead Like Money, a boundry-less and unruly piece of work. We started it off pretty raw, and realized the honesty in it all is what made it work.
Did you have some sort of epiphany that made you get serious about music?
Oh man. When I first got signed to the label, No Shame, I was a head case. I had no responsibility other than to make music. I went a bit crazy, started drinking a lot and got myself into trouble. One night, I was in the studio with my producer and my drummer (also my boyfriend) and I was a total asshole and wasted their time. When I realized I ticked off two people I really respected, something inside of me switched on.
I realized I needed to be a better person, make better music, and really put my entire self into making this career work. I made some smarter choices in my lifestyle and the sky opened up. Opportunities fell from the sky, the good kind of pressure turned on, and now I am watching a path clear. Once my head was clear, my epiphany hit hard.
Who would you love to go on tour with?
I would love to go on tour with HAIM, White Arrows, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, and TV on the Radio.
Concert horror story?
I went to play the Bacanalia Festival in the Dominican Republic in May 2013 and it was the first time I used in-ear monitors. The engineer asked me how I wanted the mix, and I told him I only wanted to hear myself. Bad decision! The stage was so big, I could only hear me, and only me. I missed so many queues and my timing was off. The horror…
What influences your fashion style?
I really have the worst sense of style. I am boring. I only wear solid colors and I stay away from patterns. They make me feel messy. I love Alexander Wang. It’s a perfect example of how I want my wardrobe to end up.
Tell us about No Shame and how your deal came about?
No Shame is my family. They found my Tom Waits cover for “Going Out West” and asked me if I had any more music. I lied and said “a bunch”. I had nothing. I kept beating around the bush until I started making demos with Mark Turrigiano and showing them those. They loved what we were doing, and it all escalated from there.
What other projects are you dipping your toes into?
Right now I am working on a new EP called, Tip Top Shape. There are some really great collaborations on the record with David Sitek (TV on the Radio), Sam Farrar (Phantom Planet), Peter Wade (MNDR), Lester Mendez, and Joel Shearer.
I also just wrapped a music video with Jay Bulger for a new song called “Man Overboard”. It is more along the lines of a short film. Bulger is a mad man.
When will we hear a full-length?
Soon. I need to cause some more chaos in my life first.