Exclusive Interview: Maria Brink from In This Moment
Change. Some people welcome it. Others resist it. Some seek it out. Others fear the unknown. Sometimes it happens beyond our control. Whatever one’s mindset, change is inevitable. The challenge comes with how we face it and deal with the consequences.
For vocalist Maria Brink and guitarist Chris Howorth, the duo at the heart of In This Moment, change came unexpectedly when they found themselves rebuilding the walls around their foundation. Stripped down to their essence, the core of In This Moment is on fire with their fourth album, aptly titled Blood.
Brink and Howorth began tracking Blood with producer Kevin Churko late last year at The Hideout Studio in Las Vegas, their third with Churko at the helm. “In January , we began writing and recording more songs,” says Howorth. “Kevin put no limits or restrictions on us. There was no setting the clock this time. He just wanted us to record until the songs were the best they could be.”
The powerful title track, “Blood,” was the first one written for the album and it’s one of Howorth’s favorites. “It really set the tone for the whole record and kicked a bunch of doors down,” he says. “I think it’s a really unique song that doesn’t sound like anything I’ve heard before, and I’m really proud of that. My other fave is “Hello.” I like it because it’s so heavy and melodic at the same time. Crushing riffs and huge choruses never get old to me. This song is In This Moment 101. Our fans will love it.”
I caught up with Maria before a blistering set on their summer tour to talk about Blood and the turn of events that unfolded to energize her like never before to make the most honest, powerful record In This Moment has ever released.
Maria, I am so excited to talk about this record. Blood creates it’s own atmosphere from the very first track and I think you’ve accomplished so much with this album.
Thank you so much. I really appreciate you saying that. I’m so glad that you take that away from the record – that you can feel that. That’s what I truly believe. I feel like we’ve found this new animal inside of us. It’s something we’ve never heard from ourselves before and something we’ve never heard in general. We’re excited to bring something unique to the table.
Would you say this is the most honest album you’ve ever written?
It really is. I didn’t care what anybody thought. I didn’t care if I was supposed to be heavy, melodic, this or that. It felt really natural. I wanted to take everything that was inside and let it out and have it be something unique. Something people haven’t heard from me and something I haven’t heard from me before. I was really fearless this time.
You were put in a unique position when members left the band. You turned that into a situation that seemed to be motivating and inspirational. What emotions did you encounter through the entire process?
In the beginning it was really scary. Members were leaving and management parted ways with us. When it feels like people are giving up on you it’s scary. It made me question myself. I didn’t know what to do. That only lasted for two days. I can let someone questioning the band or someone’s lack of belief in the band affect what I want to do. I want to headline arenas! I want a huge performance with fireworks! There is so much I want to accomplish. I won’t let other people’s lack of belief affect what I want to do. Once I embraced the empowering part of it I felt more exhilarated than I have in longer than I can even guess. It was almost like it was meant to be. It was a blessing that they quit – and that doesn’t mean they’re not valuable. I with them the best. I love them. I love everything we created with our past manager. I’m so grateful. That situation sparked all of this new energy and this new vibe. That goes to show that everything happens for a reason.
It’s hard to play the pretend game, but would you have been able to make a record like Blood had you not went through that whole situation?
No. We wouldn’t. It’s almost like we have this new beginning and this new freedom. We would not have written that album. It wouldn’t have happened. That took a special chain of events, specific people that did it, and the intimacy of how we created it. It’s the best album we’ve ever written, by far. This was meant to be.
Some people would certainly be disheartened and would want to give up, but I think going through the reformation of the band brought out the best in you.
It did bring out my best. It challenged me. I think when we’re pushed to our lowest it forces the best to come out of us. That’s when we need to rely on ourselves to find that magical empowering thing we all need at some point in our life.
I read a quote from you that said this record brings out the “alluring simple side of the band” and that it’s the boldest you’ve ever been. Was it about choosing that new direction or is it just more about who you are?
We all have different sides to us that make us who we are. This album represents the more primal, alluring side of me. It’s more empowering. With everything that was happening I just wanted a darker album. Not “dark” as in depressing or sad. It’s more of a strong “dark” – not a depressing woe is me “dark”.
In This Moment is certainly an image-conscious band and you’ve definitely had fun with that. You can’t deny your horde of male fans. Some “chicks in hard rock” have a hard time dealing with that but you seem to have embraced it – maybe more on this record.
I’m always embracing that and growing as a woman. I’m comfortable with who I am and my sexuality. I’m completely comfortable in my skin. It doesn’t bother me when I get that type of stuff. I love strong visuals when entertainment is concerned. It comes down to the songs. That’s my true identity. They trigger emotions that’s what it comes down to. When you can add a visual element to make something more enhanced and really make it come together as one expression, that’s even more special. David Bowie, KISS, Slipknot, whoever it is. I love having a strong image. I know that’s not what it’s all about but it helps enhance the performance.
What motivated your songwriting for Blood?
Just all the things I was going through with the band. I was on fire! I haven’t been that on fire since I can remember! I’m already a fiery woman so that was huge! A combination of all those things started unfolding to create these songs. Whatever I was feeling I was just letting it out.
The “Blood” video presents you as a few different characters. Are they representative of the different emotions you went through while reforming the band?
Exactly. You nailed it. It’s about the inner-struggle we all go through when questioning or doubting ourselves. It’s about finding that powerful leader in us that’s going to command us in whatever war we go on. The video is about showing the different sides of me. The vulnerable, scared side. The empowering “conquer all” side. The really feminine Aphrodite side.
I think you’re really going to reach a whole new set of fans with Blood while keeping your longtime fans happy.
I feel something really special. It’s something really unique. I feel like this is something that’s going to raise us to a completely new level. It already feels like it’s changing our lives. I’m so excited for the journey and so grateful. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Who are some of the artists that made you want to start your musical journey?
I really give my mother the credit. My mom was a real rock n’ roll mom. She was taking me to concerts when I was three years old. Stevie Nicks, Rolling Stones. She loved the Runaways. It had a lot to do with all the concerts I went to and I was always surrounded by music. To see my mom admiring it made me inspired. To see the band on stage, the crowd, the music – I just fell in love. I knew that’s what I had to do.