Embodying electric force, boundless talent, and comforting backbone for those in a time of need with a ferocity that’ll rattle your bones, In This Moment lead vocalist, Maria Brink, has spread her angelic wings and soared beyond both nest and bird. As a strong frontrunner, In This Moment have established themselves as a major influence within the ever-shifting world of Metal with their dynamic discography abounding with tracks that will either serenade you to sleep or knock you off your feet. On the edge of In This Moment's sixth studio album release, 'Ritual', I caught up with Maria Brink to dabble into her multifaceted inner world, discuss the intention behind this release, shed light on meaning beyond the surface, tattoos and more.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Saffer
Congrats on the upcoming release of your sixth studio album, ‘Ritual’. You seem to lyrically embrace your pain as an opportunity to heal throughout while shedding light through your experiences. Tell us about the inspiration behind ‘Ritual’ and the intention/message that you are sending out within this release?
Thank you so much. I definitely wanted this album to have an empowering feeling within myself and for other people that listen to it. I was going on a spiritual, inner solitude and self-journey when I wrote this album. I was spending a lot of time by myself and just going on this inner search. I took an inspiration trip with all of the women in my family right before I began to write this album.
I can only imagine. Each album is akin to its own saga within itself. You know, you said that you went on a solitude journey, which is quite profound. I perceive that there is an abundance of emotion brimming throughout your latest music video release for “Oh Lord”. It is visually apparent that you are encountering something akin to an internal metamorphosis.
Yeah. I think that I am somebody that always embracing everything within myself with my fans. There are so many people that are struggling and finding themselves in really dark places, and I am somebody that truly believes in turning pain into power. The hard experiences, confusion, and journeys that we go through are always in some weird way blessings that help us spiritually and emotionally evolve and become stronger. The experiences help us learn and sympathize with other people that are hurting, and that was a part of this journey. Learning to turn pain into power. And learning to be strong by myself, and not having to look for some man or some person to tell me that it is all going to be okay. Learning to find the power and strength within myself, alone. I think that was a message within this album. Also, I am someone that expresses herself in a lot of different forms and have done so in a lot of different ways the past. I am brave and enjoy pushing the boundaries. But, this album is a lot more sexually toned down, because sometimes I am a little free and wild in ways, and I wanted to show our fans a different strength within myself that I always had. Through the way in which I chose to express myself sometimes, people don’t always quite grasp that….
You know what, Maria? I have made the observation that, no pun intended, you have really embraced the chapter that you are in within the moment throughout each album release, no matter if it is entirely diverse from the previous chapter or not. Personally, I perceive that observation as the evolution of In This Moment as a band and a reflection of the evolution you are encountering as a woman.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Saffer
I do. I really do. That is what I am. I like to be truthful with wherever I am in life. We evolve in life. We have different experiences that evoke different things inside of ourselves. This self-journey and this empowerment journey brought me to this album. It’s more serious and reflective of the powerful sides within myself. It’s all coming from my heart.
Yeah. I feel that. As a Sagittarius, you are a fire sign. I perceive you to be a woman who is simultaneously in tune with her sensual side and masculine roar. Do you have any wellness practices or rituals that you engage in to keep you creatively invigorated and soulfully aligned with your purpose on this earth?
Yeah. I am such a fire person. I am Cuban, Italian, German; I am all fire! I am definitely so full of fire that I really have to work hard in life to balance out my fire. I also choose to express myself in a more darker color and shade, even though there is light in my heart and soul. I am drawn to express myself through a darker view. I have suffered bad anxiety, social disorders and things like that, so I work very hard to fill myself with a lot of positive energy to balance out the fire within me and the rage that is right underneath of my skin. There is a natural light within me, I am a total hippie. I am someone that is always burning incense and there are always crystals and positive vibes around me. I am all about love, attraction and manifesting your destiny. I think that we are all really powerful, powerful beings. I try to express that to people and embrace the light. The light is what keeps me sane, but there is a darkness within me, and if I don’t let it go and feel through it and with it within myself and with my fans through my music, I won’t be able to be in the light. You know what I’m saying?
Photo Credit: Brandon Nagy Photography
Yes! Totally. I relate it to the Yin/Yang balance.
You artistically express yourself in such a dark, alternative manner, but I personally find that as a resonation with your true core. That’s powerful.
Thank you! Everyone has a way that they have to express themselves and let it out. Some people go to the gym, some people internalize and self-destruct. And I choose to release my heart and emotions through music. That’s how I heal.
Beautiful. I love how you said that you choose to, because ultimately, everything within every individual's life is a choice. Let’s talk tattoos. What chapter of life were you in when you got your first tattoo, the infinity symbol on your back?
Oh my gosh, I was a girl! I was a young girl. I actually love my little infinity symbol, and that is one tattoo that I kept no matter what because that is one tattoo that is really special to me. I started getting tattoos really young, and recently over the past few years, I ended up actually redoing all of my tattoos. I am so lucky that I didn’t go too dark to begin with because you find that when you get older and mature in life, things change. Just think about where we were ten years ago…..
Photo Credit: Jeremy Saffer
Ten years ago? That feels like a past life.
I know! It’s like a dream. I am in love with my tattoos now, but I covered everything. It’s exciting, I got both of my sleeves redone and I also got my back redone. People need to think really hard about what it is that they are going to have tattooed on themselves forever.
Absolutely. You have created a wonderland, atmosphere of mystery and empowerment and inclusive community for your fans with Maria Brinks Wonderland. Do you perceive that perhaps you have brought this to life to regain a sense of your childhood and liberation that you didn’t encounter when you were young?
Yeah. Even when I was a young girl, I had this really crazy and vivid imagination. I was putting on these little shows and I always had this big, creative mind. All of the parents would come to the trailer parks and fill up the seats that I had set up because I would put on a play with all of the little kids when I was five years old. I think that things that we experience, maybe things that we didn’t have or things within our imaginations when we were young stick with us. I think that for sure I express and live that within my music and through the music. You know, that’s the beautiful thing about art and creation; you can make yourself and create yourself as though you are a little girl or whatever you desire to be.
Right! Anyone can create a character within themselves. It’s as though we are all characters in life and through art, we can all experience an entirely new world within this life.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Saffer
It’s true. You can change your perception at any time. For instance, was I born a Queen in life? No, not at all. I grew up in the projects, trailers and motel rooms when I was a little girl. So, when I learned about the power within how we express ourselves and what we say and how powerful words truly are, now I can pause and say, I am a Queen. I decided that I am a Queen and that is how I am going to carry myself and how I am going to treat myself. I believe that and believe that we are all Queens or Kings, therefore, other people will believe with me and empower with me, which will lead toward them empowering themselves. This mind and how we perceive is just so beautiful and powerful.
Right! Yes. It is astounding what you can manifest within and transmit on the external aspect through your art, it’s so powerful.
Right! Other people can then absorb that, and they can carry themselves as a Queen or King if they don’t already. And they can start feeling those feelings of strength, and I think that that’s the real beautiful part of music.
Yes! The cyclic nature of it and all of the messages you can send from within throughout. If you could bring back to life any musician that has passed to record one song with, who would you choose and why?
Oh my God. [laughs] That is such a question.
I know- that is one you definitely have to think about! How about we revisit the question down the road?
Yeah, let’s do that! That’s a hard one.
No doubt. So, you are going on tour with Motionless in White, Starset, Vimic, and Little Miss Nasty. Is there anything that fans can expect this time around that is a bit different than your performances over the previous years?
We are definitely bringing the most powerful show that we have ever put on. It is a really different experience for people who have seen us before. We are taking this completely different angle on the whole show itself. For instance, we have a burlesque act performing as the first gig, and the whole show in itself is something that you don’t necessarily get when you go to a rock show or a metal show. It’s very theatrical, and I change themes throughout almost every song. It’s almost like each song is its own life and character that comes with it between the set changes, the wardrobe changes. It’s a really cool experience.
Yeah, totally. I noticed that you bring people to accompany you on stage that are so bizarre and out of this world, which keeps an otherworldly perspective of the show at the top of the mind. Even if a viewer were to wonder what it is next, it is more than likely going to be an element that is totally unexpected and bizarre.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Saffer
I love that! I think that the element of surprise and keeping people in wonder while going on this journey with you through the show is my dream. I have this big show in my mind that is a dream that I work toward consistently to get to that dream. All of the crazy stuff that you see on stage is all stuff from my brain, and I care about all of the details. I go through the entire lighting show with the lighting guys. I do the choreography with the choreographers. I come up with the wardrobe. I am this insane workaholic.
That’s a beautiful thing because ultimately, I perceive that what you are presenting and expressing is going to go down as your legacy that you are leaving behind, and what you are creating to be your legacy is what you truly are.
Right. I care passionately, and anybody that works with me knows that. My whole life is my family and my career.
Beautiful. What has been the ultimate dose of wisdom that you received and ingrained into your core throughout your time as a musician?
For me, and I think that no matter who you are, to be successful and to create music is about letting go of other people's perceptions of who we are supposed to be, how we are supposed to be, how we are supposed to do things, or where we are supposed to be in life at what age. It’s about just letting go of everything and following whatever it is within you that makes you feel alive and fulfilled inside, whether you want to be a musician or an astronaut. I try to live my life in gratitude and love the people that I love with all of my heart. I try not to let anyone else's negativity touch me. Just love and care about all of the details, and don’t give up on your dreams or whoever you want to be. People should not be, hmmm, what’s the word...
Perplexed. Perplexed by other’s perceptions and opinions. I totally understand where you’re heading with this…
Right! Yes. And when you let go of other people's perceptions and really want to do something, don’t just watch it on the television and wish that you could do something like that or state that it is not realistic. That’s not true.
Everything and anything is realistic.
Yeah. It’s only not realistic if you believe that it is not realistic. Some people don’t embrace the power within themselves, but it’s there. It’s all about loving hard and trying to steer people toward embracing the power within themselves.
Beautiful. Do you have any closing messages for your fans?!
We love you. Like you mentioned, we are going on our sixth album, and sometime’s for bands, things will fall off or fade away. But, we are the strongest that we have ever been in our career right now. There are so many beautiful things happening for us, and it’s all because of our fans. I just want to tell anyone that is a fan of ours that I appreciate your passion and how you keep coming back to come along with us on this journey. All of these things that we have and that we are doing, we could not have without our fans. We are so appreciative of all of you and we love you.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Saffer
I can feel your passion when you state that, Maria. Now let’s revisit that question pertaining to if you could bring back to life any musician that has passed to record one song with, who would you choose and why?
Oh, that’s right! [laughs] For right now, I’d say Johnny Cash. He is someone who has really inspired me through the freedom of his lyrics and how he can create so much with one guitar and without all of the bells and whistles. His voice has such a deep impact on me, and it would be really special to write something with him.