It is perhaps this idea – that it’s not what happens to us, but how we choose to react – that is Mother’s key message. The conversion of suffering into healing underpins a lot of In This Moment’s music, most famously in 2012’s Whore, which flipped a misogynist term into something empowering. There are similar strokes on Mother – the ire and sarcasm that blaze throughout As Above, So Below, and the mixture of determination and forgiveness within the gospel-tinged Lay Me Down.
The other constant, and the one that has propelled them onto ever bigger stages, is the theatricality of the live show. The band – completed by bassist Travis Johnson and drummer Kent Diimmel – are accompanied by three ghostly, masked dancers, the ‘blood girls’ (“We call them blood goddesses now, because we were girls when we started but we’re women now,” chuckles Maria). There are props, costumes and disconcerting lighting effects. It’s a feast for the senses, carefully managed to make an audience feel uprooted, transported and weirdly mesmerised. It all helped In This Moment to stand out, in a good way, on their recent arena tour with Halestorm and New Years Day.
“I like to keep the element of surprise alive,” Maria smiles. “I am someone who is always trying to expand and be experimental. I always feel like I’m growing, both as an artist and a human being. I like that transcending thing, so that it never gets stale, and that tour was fantastic for all the bands involved. It was great to see so many women in the crowds too, and so many people getting into what we were all doing.”
It has reached the point where she is virtually unable to think of music without also seeing the potential for accompanying visuals. “I constantly conceptualise different things for different songs. All the time I get colours and images in my mind – usually things I can see happening on stage, or in a video. I’m a bit obsessive about it. Mostly, I look for things that some might assume would hold you back and turn those into positives.”