Interview – Mary Helen Margaret

Mary Helen Margaret

Mary Helen Margaret’s latest track, ‘Watching me giving birth to a vacuum’ is an immersive dive into their unique blend of alternative pop. The duo, known for their unapologetic and confident style, masterfully combines folk, pop, and emo influences, creating an emotionally charged sonic experience.

This song exudes an infectious mood of girly determination, blending confidence with raw honesty. The instrumental arrangement is a genre-blurring masterpiece, featuring distorted acoustic and ’80s-style electric guitars, drum samples, and subtle auto-tune effects that weave a nostalgic yet contemporary sound.

Beyond its musical prowess, ‘Watching me giving birth to a vacuum’ carries a profound message; It urges listeners to trust their own experiences and truths, particularly in the face of adversity. The lyrics resonate with anyone who’s had to confront their past and find strength in their reality.

With this track, Mary Helen Margaret not only showcases their artistic evolution but also their commitment to pushing musical boundaries. ‘Watching me giving birth to a vacuum’ is a must-listen for those seeking introspective and empowering music.

Indie Midlands: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the title ‘Watching me giving birth to a vacuum’? What is the context of this release?

Mary Helen Margaret: So, I went to college. And it wasn’t real. An entire warm world where you can do anything. Except, my teachers abused me. And in the real world you can do little of anything, and in the real world you can’t be abused and just forget it 8 years later, and the working class entry level money chase after school makes life ….really cold. So, when I was in class, I thought I was producing, or giving birth, to grand new thoughts. Art. Images. Concepts. Warm and shiny. But college is a vacuum. Like everything else. So truly, I was giving birth to nothing. At least in my case. And I see everything now, the abuse, the escapism, everything. I remember everything, I really do, and it’s taken me so long to be able to say that.

Indie Midlands: The album cover and artwork are quite striking. How do they relate to the music and themes explored in the album?

Mary Helen Margaret: Ah yes, the album is called ‘if you’re reading this, it means you’re still alive’. Honestly, I’m 30, but even from the age of 15 I’d wake up some mornings and be like “how on earth am I still here?” Life was rough. My first memory is being locked in a closet. I grew up in Florida, being trained to be this sexualized beach bunny or something. And I like being her, but I still have scars. I guess I’m trying to say with all of this, I’m a victim of abuse. I just learned that fully this year because apparently repressed memories are a thing. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get to experience and celebrate sexuality. I’m still alive. I didn’t die in that closet. Neither did you. Remember that.

Indie Midlands: ‘Watching me giving birth to a vacuum’ seems like an intriguing and enigmatic title – Could you provide some insight into the lyrical themes and the overall message that Mary Helen Margaret is conveying through this music?

Mary Helen Margaret: The title is essentially me in college, getting an acting degree, being abused by teachers, and creating art in a vacuum.

The true rub of the song is this: If you’ve ever been abused and someone to your face says you haven’t, throw any doubt aside. Whether it be a mother, a friend, or an entire institution, they cannot tell you the truth of your abuse or experience. They cannot change or alter your reality. You were there. You were in the room. You heard what you heard. You saw what you saw. You felt what you felt. You remember everything, you really do.

Indie Midlands: How does this release being unique elements to the table?

Mary Helen Margaret: So my husband, Small Scotch, produces all of my music, but this specific release I actually for the first time got to add some of my own crazy flair to the production! This included things like distorted harmonies, heavy pop guitar, and lots of brash vocal layers. From my Spotify stats, people love to put this track under some derivative of ‘White Girl Playlist’ hahaha. My whole thing in life is being unapologetically girly, being seen, and allowing myself to be heard.

Indie Midlands: Mary Helen Margaret has a distinctive style. How has the sound evolved or changed with this release, and what can fans expect in the future?

Mary Helen Margaret: This song and the entire album is a step backward and a spring forward. Born from years of unreleased jarring alt pop, which then transformed into folk, back into the pop universe, and now maybe lives in some new realm of emo, pop, and folk.

As for the future, well I actually am a bit psychic hehe, but I don’t want to spoil too much. The cards are screaming banjo, though. I bought one. A banjo. It’s name is Shelley, based off Shelley Duvall, who is one of my spirit mothers for sure. And I got a harp! I call it Harpy or Harpsicord. Definitely more emo girl to come, maybe more acoustic, in the room, stripped down and bare.

Indie Midlands: Collaboration often plays a significant role in the creative process: Are there any notable collaborations or influences that had an impact on the creation of this album?

Mary Helen Margaret: My husband honestly makes collab easy. I primarily write lyrics + melody and he does the instrumentation and production. We kind of keep in our lanes and let each other drive at different times. It’s not normal. I’ve collaborated with a lot of people. It’s awful. Everyone wants to play god. But for us, we both love each other above ourselves, so it’s never like a competition of ego or intellectual vanity. We share god. That’s the key.

Indie Midlands: Can you share any anecdotes or stories from the recording or production process that shed light on the creative journey behind this release?

Mary Helen Margaret: The ‘end’ of the song totally wasn’t supposed to be included. That was me being super bossy and dry to Small Scotch in the studio haha. Whoops! But it cut so well, and comes at the very end of the album, ‘if you’re reading this, it means you’re still alive’. It’s, in my humble opinion, a definite banger, and I live for a rocking end.

I want to include more spoken words here and there, I’m definitely of the John Cage mind that all sound is music. And I like making girly emo pop. That’s my wonderful or toxic trait depending on who you ask. But that’s okay. I love y’all to the moon.

Nat Greener