Maggie Lindemann: “I’m going through life changes and trying to reinvent myself… I’m absolutely not the person I was”

As Maggie Lindemann promises to introduce a whole new era with upcoming EP HEADSPLIT, the Dallas singer-songwriter talks growing up, the wide range of emotions within her latest music, and why she wants to be in a Saw movie…

Maggie Lindemann: “I’m going through life changes and trying to reinvent myself… I’m absolutely not the person I was”
George Garner
Jaxon Whittington

It’s been three years since Maggie Lindemann pulled off one of the most radical musical reinventions of recent memory. Starting with 2021’s Paranoia EP and 2022 debut album Suckerpunch, she completed a long battle to take control of, well, everything: her career, her sound, and her image. All of a sudden, the pop sound and aesthetics that defined her breakthrough single Pretty Girl were nothing but a distant memory.

So far, so cool.

The question is, what happens next after you win your battle and you’re finally accepted for you are and who you want to be? The answer comes with her excellent new EP HEADSPLIT.

Presaged by lead single Hostage and the promise of a ‘new era, new Maggie’ it will surprise people, and in more ways than one.

“It’s me experimenting with things that I've been wanting to do,” says Maggie about the changes – emotional and musical – that define it. “It’s me growing up.”

Things get quite intense. For proof, just consult the disturbing cover, seemingly plucked straight out of the warped imagination of Jigsaw in the Saw films. Here, we join Maggie to find out why she’s wearing a bear trap on her head, what she’s been contending with emotionally, the double standards female artists endure and much more…

As far as titles go, HEADSPLIT is quite a dramatic one. What does that word say about where you are in life right now?
“The meaning is just my head being split with so many different emotions. On one end, I’m so happy and everything’s going so good. And then on the other end, I’m lowkey self-sabotaging myself. On the EP sometimes I’m really happy, and then sometimes I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I’m overthinking!’ It’s not like my head is literally split, obviously, but it’s in my thoughts.”

You say not literally, yet the cover comes pretty close. It’s not every day you get to wear a reverse bear trap on your head…
“So, basically, Saw is my favourite scary movie franchise. I was having a really hard time with the cover, I tried so many different things and every time I would get the pictures back, I’d be like, ‘No, this isn’t it!’ The bear trap is my favourite Saw trap – it literally splits your head open…”

None of the traps in Saw are particularly nice ways to go, but that’s one of the all-time bad ones. You could have gone a bit easier on yourself?
“Yeah! But I thought that one was a really good representation of that feeling of being hopeless and trapped. I would love to be in a Saw film.”

On Paranoia and Suckerpunch you proved a lot of people wrong – you took control of your art, your look, your sound. The assumption would be perhaps that you’d be more comfortable with yourself now. Any idea of what’s been the root of all the doubt that, say, lead single Hostage refers to?
“Honestly? I don’t know. Paranoia was so life-changing, I felt so confident with everything I was doing – the outfits, everything. It just came so naturally. That was three years ago. I was 21 turning 22, and now I’m 25 turning 26. I’m completely different now. I’m going through life changes and trying to reinvent myself and refine myself, because I’m absolutely not the person I was. Even with my style. I don’t want to wear plaid miniskirts anymore, because I’m too grown – like, I’m a grown-up, you know? (Laughs) I’m in this weird transitional period. I’m not 19, but I’m also not 40. I’m in this really weird time in my life where I’m trying to figure out who I am now. I think that’s where the insecurity comes from because I do get so many comments like, ‘Oh, I miss your old style!’ or, ‘I miss when you were like this.’ I do too, but I can’t be that person anymore – I can’t even think to put those types of outfits on, because that’s not where my brain is. That’s where I find a lot of insecurity – it’s just trying to figure out who I am now.”

One song on the EP, 24, seems to really speak to that whole experience with the lyric, ‘At 16, a perfect angel / Then 30, you’re turning fatal.’ It seems to be a very powerful comment on the music industry’s infatuation with youth…
“Especially for women; everyone loves you when you’re young, but you don’t get that same praise if you’re an amazing artist at 30. It’s just different. Also, the older you get, they always tell you, ‘Time’s running out!’ or, ‘You have a wrinkle, you’re getting old!’ It’s stressful to be any person, but to be a woman ageing? It’s a really scary thing. You’re always conditioned to think time’s running out, like, ‘I gotta get all this done when I’m young!’”

You’ve reunited with Siiickbrain on the track Deprecating, another song with some heavy lyrics detailing feelings of suffocation, dead souls and karmic retribution… What was the inspiration behind that song?
“At the time when we wrote the song, I was literally going through nothing (laughs). I was just vibing, I was really chilling, so I was having a hard time coming up with stuff to write about. But Caroline [Smith, aka Siiickbrain] was going through some stuff so we just wrote about the situation she was in, basically, where this person was manipulating her and trying to use scare tactics so she wouldn’t want to do things so we wrote about that. We’re best friends in real life, so it’s just easy to work together.”

Die For is a certified banger, but it also seems to have a real lesson at the heart of it with the line, ‘Find who you’d die for, that’s who you live for.’ Was that advice someone gave you, or something you realised on your own?
“I’m just the type of person who, when I love someone, I love really hard. Not even in a sad way, but my will to live is not the strongest – when I’m going through something, I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I'm gonna give up, I just can’t do this!’ But when I’m with someone I’m in love with, or even with my family… I live for them. Everything I do is for my family, for the people I love. In this specific situation, it was meeting my boyfriend that was such a pivotal moment for me, and just me wanting to do better in life because I found this person that I would literally die for.”

Taking Over Me is a pretty experimental song with Jasiah. It starts out with spun-back beats and then goes into rap and metal. It’s hard not to imagine what the Maggie Lindemann of the Pretty Girl era would think of getting to work on a track like that one day…
“That song was really cool. The minute I wrote it, I immediately was like, ‘Yeah, Jasiah! That would be so hard!’ I wanted something that was super-hard and different, something crazy. Me a couple years ago looking at this would have been like, ‘What the fuck!?’”

Having successfully made that huge transition from a pop career to an alternative one, how well understood do you feel now as an artist? Do you think people ‘get’ who you are now?
“I think so. I feel like I don’t really get a lot of people questioning my authenticity. I mean, I might, but not that I see. For the most part, I’ve proven who I am. But honestly, if you don’t fuck with me, I really don’t care. A lot of artists that I’ve looked up to have shown me love and I get a lot of love from people that listen to me. That’s enough for me. I don’t really care about all the other stuff.”

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