Marit, June 10, 2001

 

Written and photos by: Jason Perlman

 

You are headed out with Jewel which has got to make you feel great. What do you think you can gain by opening for someone like her?
I think we can really gain a lot from her audience, because her fans come to the show to hear nice melodies and lyrics that actually mean something, which is something you will hear in our music as well.

And that is actually something I wanted to talk to you about. From your first CD to The Big Room, lyrically M2M has grown up a lot. But when talking with Michelle Branch and Mejandra Delfino, they said some people were a little surprised to hear what they had to say because their lyrics are so personal.
Well, all we really get is people asking who is Jennifer. Because of the song we have with that title. But apart from that, we try to be very specific in our lyrics in describing our feelings in things that we have actually experienced ourselves. But I think that a lot of people can listen to our songs and hear different things. I think somebody can interpret each story in a different way than the way we wrote it. So, I think it's good to keep it kind of open so people can get what they want out of it, but I also think we have to give a part of ourselves to the song as well.

You write with acoustic guitar and piano a lot. When you went in to record The Big Room with the full band, did you know what you wanted the end result to sound like or was it a lot of trial and error and a surprise when you actually got the final tracking done?
It's actually all inside of my head when we write. I will hear the drum fills and I will hear the electric guitars and the way they come in. I will hear everything and then it really becomes a matter of meeting the right people and making sure they hear the same things in their head. And we were very fortunate enough to work with some great musicians on this record and a great, great producer who really listened to our ideas and didn't feel the need to change something just to change it. He let us go where we wanted to go.

From the few minutes we have talked and from the sound of The Big Room, it sounds like you are more emotion than practical. Meaning, you would rather us a take that felt right if maybe not the perfect take as far as tempo, pitch, etc.
Thanks, thanks. And that is exactly it. And I appreciate you saying that because for us, music is such an emotional thing. For a lot of people, I think it is mainly an outlet to have a nice rhythm to dance to, but we want people to listen to our songs and feel something. Whether it makes them happy or makes them cry, we just want them to "feel" something. That's the whole point for us. So if a vocal take isn't perfect but you can really hear what Marion is saying and Marion can really understand it, then we will use that instead of trying to get things perfect all the time.

You mentioned the musicians you played with to record the record, one being Kenny Arnoff who tours with Melissa Etheridge. Was it a place where the musicians felt free to roam some or was it fairly cut and dry for them?
It went so well. We went and rehearsed for a few days before heading in to the studio because we were planning to record everything live. Which we did, we laid the tracks and recorded in one take; live. But we just would play and play and play until it felt right. Until we had a temp that felt right and until we all did things that complimented one another. So it was very comfortable for everyone.

Marion made her acting debut and it went over pretty well. Is this something we can expect more from M2M or will you concentrate on music?
Well, music is what I totally want to do. I don't think I would be able to work on anything else or have any thing else as my main passion. But I know that Marion would like to try out acting in the future. She loves acting.

You have toured the world probably more than you ever thought possible, and that experience I am sure influenced your life, but does that translate into it affecting your music as well?
I think that it is mainly the connection between Marion and I that makes our music and just us growing as people in some areas the same direction and in other areas in opposite directions. But I think that is what makes our music what it is. But we are definitely influenced from traveling the world and seeing different things and meeting people who don't speak the same language all makes us grow as people. And I think that is something that is naturally going to be brought into the music.

Since you were an early teen, you have been growing up in the spotlight. How has it been just trying to be a normal girl growing up while having your life almost documented on a daily basis?
Well, the music business is one where you are not allowed to have a bad day. Every day you may meet someone who has the ability to change your life. And every day, you are meeting people who have looked forward to meeting you for a long time, and you don't want them to meet you on your bad day. You have to allow yourself to be open, and on your days off, you have to allow yourself to not be social and just stay inside and be grumpy if you want. Because when you meet people, you have to be the best you can be all the time.

Well, be grumpy with me all ya want, I won't take any offense.
(laughing). I am actually in a really good mood because of the weather. I love this weather. I love it hot.

Jewel said that the reason she brought you out on tour was because you reminded her of herself when she was younger.
Really?

Yea, she said she was very impressed with the music you played and liked the fact that you do in fact play music and the instruments yourselves.
We did a show here in New York City and Jewel was in the audience without us knowing and came up to us after the show and said I was a good guitar player and that really touched me. And when she asked us to come on tour with her, it was a dream. And having her support what I do made me want to become better. I may rehearse a little bit harder now and I may practice more and want to write better songs.

Duke from the band Garbage says they like to be categorized as pop because they feel that pop, to them, allows them the freedom to write however they want because anything can be pop. Do you believe that or are you a more traditionalist when it comes to the definition of pop and how your music fits into that.
Well, for us, when we write it just comes out as pop. Our songs have pop melodies and we don't try and fight what is coming out of us. And I think that is why both of our records are very different from each other, because we don't try and copy what we did before. We could have made another Shades of Purple if we wanted to, but we made The Big Room because that is what we want to share right now.