Any Human Friend
“hand solo,” “blow,” “conventional ride”—these are just a few of the cheeky offerings off Any Human Friend, the new album from rock provocateur Marika Hackman. “This whole record is me diving into myself and peeling back the skin further and further, exposing myself in quite a big way. It can be quite sexual,” Hackman says. “It’s blunt, but not offensive. It’s mischievous.” There’s also depth to her carnal knowledge: Any Human Friend is ultimately about how, as she puts it, “We all have this lightness and darkness in us.”
“I think because my life was flipped upside down, it was taking me longer to write,” she says. “This was definitely the hardest process I’ve gone through to make a record.” She wrote the album over a year, recording a few songs at a time with co-producer David Wrench (Frank Ocean, The xx). “I stopped being able to sleep properly,” she says. “I was waking up in the middle of the night to write songs.”
But the longer recording process also meant that Hackman had the time to experiment in the studio, especially with electronic songs. She was inspired by Wrench’s vast synth collection, many of which she used throughout Any Human Friend (“the synths give the album a nice shine”), notably on “hold on,” a deep dive into ennui expressed as ethereal R&B. She also switched up drum rhythms and wrote songs on the bass, such as the upbeat, idiosyncratic “come undone” (working name: “Funky Little Thang”).
“The drive to do all this is all just about trying to work out what the fuck is in my brain,” she says, laughing. The dragon she’s chasing is a rarified peace that materializes after properly tortured herself. “I really did have a good time working on this album,” she says, reassuringly. “It’s just emotionally draining to write music and constantly tap into your psyche. No musician is writing music for themselves to listen to. It’s a dialogue, a conversation, a connection. I’m creating something for people to react to.”