Neon Hitch is one of the most unique artists out there, and 2014 is gearing up to be a huge year for her. Her brand new mixtape 301 to Paradise is available now on her website. I spoke to her about the eerie ways 301 kept popping up in her life, how Marilyn Monroe has inspired her and how her hair is basically a mood ring.
OK!: Tell me a little bit about the mix tape that’s out now.
Neon Hitch: Well, I made this mix tape with Kinetics and One Love, my friends in New York, and it’s kind of like an audio movie. It’s because I like to keep content out there, and I am not going to release the official album until later in the year. So I created this piece of art. It’s very inspired by Marilyn Monroe. And it’s a mixture of my travels, my story, and Marilyn’s story. It’s partially fictional, but it’s based on a true story. It’s very gypsified. There are little audio clips of Marilyn telling her story. I did this documentary with the BBC when I was like ten or something, and it’s about me being a gypsy traveler. We’ve taken audio from that and pieced it into the mixtape as an interlude. You’ll get to hear some of that too.
OK!: I love the big collage that you put on Instagram, too. Is that the cover art for it?
NH: Yeah, I made the collage. I like to do collages. When I made the mix tape, I said, I need to just do the art myself. I was like cutting up bits in magazines and kind of like expressing what’s going on inside my mind visually.
OK!: When did your fascination with Marilyn start? Where did that come from for you?
NH: I mean, everyone loves Marilyn Monroe. But, I did a song called “Midnight Sun” and in the video, we projected Marilyn Monroe, so visually, that’s where it kind of started. And then, I put the number 301 in the song “Midnight Sun”, and since then, I’ve had a crazy connection with the number 301. Every hotel I stay in, it’s always room 301. I want to stay in the hotel where Marilyn used to stay in room 301. It’s been a very magical journey and she seems to be very relevant in my mind, and in my art right now. It’s a beautiful thing. She’s inspiration.
OK!: And the 301 number. Did that just kind of happen or do you have any more ties to it?
NH: I put it in a song first, but since then, it’s everywhere. My first agency meeting was suite 301. The hotel, the guy I wrote about, I got to stay with him and he’s in 301. It’s very stark. I found a necklace that says 301, and I wear it every day. I find that I’m on a path of 301, so that’s the theme of the mix tape. It’s a 301 paradise. I’m on a journey and it’s in paradise being, when I actually put out the actual album. This is the journey along the way.
OK!: I love signs like that. So then, I wanted to talk a little bit about the fashion. We’re seeing nods to Marilyn with the hair and with the things that you wear. Do you design your own clothes, because you’re always wearing amazing things?
NH: I do. I will wear a dress as a head scarf and I’ll take a t-shirt and cut it up and turn it into something else. I like to be creative.
OK!: Speaking of that—I am fascinated that you do the trapeze stuff, but you’re writing and singing and you’re an artist in all these different ways. Are there any other art avenues that you want to travel down still?
NH: I am just a very creative person. That’s how I express myself. I would like to get into many different things—making clothes. I am going to be writing a book. I already keep all these journals. I want to write books, fictional and a real book. I want to get into movies. I love to be creative, so whatever falls in my path.
OK!: Can we talk about the hair for one second, too. It’s amazing. It always looks beautiful. Is it as simple as curlers or do you have any tips for how you get your hair like that?
NH: I like dry shampoo if you’re on the run and don’t have time to wash your hair. You gotta have hairspray. And a little backcombing never hurts. It’s not great for your hair, but it’s really effective. A little bit of back combing in there just to give it an extra oomph. Dolly Parton is inspiration for my hair. I just love big hair, whether I have red hair, pink hair, blonde hair, it has to be big. I like big, curly hair.
OK!: Are you blonde right now still, and also, do you find that you are changing the color or style of your hair like with your moods?
NH: My hair is absolutely a mood ring. That’s absolutely correct. It’s not deliberately blonde. It was pink and then it just faded. I just kind of felt comfortable with it. I like it. It feels fitting with my mood. I am going to be coloring it again soon, but it’s not going to go anywhere too crazy different. I like it a bit lighter.
OK!: Getting back to the new mixtape, do you feel like it’s a departure from the things we’ve heard from you in the past or are you excited about something completely new you tried in the studio with your sound that you are excited for people to hear?
NH: I am excited about this being so true to me, my sound, and my story. Previously, I hadn’t been able to put much of my story in my songs. This is a great way to kind of like express all of that in a gypsy-fied musical way. It’s an introduction to my new sound. It’s honest and really interesting. I’m super proud of it. It’s interesting too. We’ve got some upbeat stuff. It’s a journey.
OK!: Were there any songs, artists, or movies that really inspired you that you really put into your music now?
NH: Well, I don’t really watch a lot of new television or new movies. I love to watch old movies, so Some Like It Hot was a big inspiration, the Marilyn Monroe movie. One of my favorite movies is True Romance. That sums up my whole love life. I’m always going for the bad guys.
While I was creating this album and mix tape, I had deliberately not listened to the radio or listen to any music on the outside. I didn’t want to be distracted. Previously, I had listened to the outside and you feel like you have to compete and fit in and I’ve really been out of touch. Recently, I’ve been listening to some stuff that’s coming out and I’ve got to say, it’s really amazing. I feel like radio has become more open-minded and more musical and less of a format. It’s got more freedom.
OK!: Looking at 2014, do you have any goals that can be personal or professional?
NH: Goals. Definitely to do more Yoga. I love doing yoga. Have my album out. To be happy. I just want to enjoy life.
OK!: Speaking of yoga, you said on your Instagram that Yoga is the best cure for a hangover, so explain more of that!
NH: I live like a rockstar because I am English. A. I like to party. But you know, it’s really important to have a balance. I will have wild nights, but the next day, I will go do yoga on the beach and it’s so detoxifying. I literally feel brand new afterwards. My and my younger trainer started this thing called Bonita Neon Yoga and we just show off our yoga video. I want to inspire people to be healthy as well as party.
OK!: What is your advice for someone who wants to live more of that gypsy lifestyle that you do, and any places in the world you recommend people see?
NH: The beautiful thing is that anyone can. I guess you need money to do anything, but if you want to live that lifestyle, go buy a camper van and see the world. I advise it for everyone. I think everyone should see as much as the world as you can. Broaden that spectrum.
I would recommend India. I spent a few years living there when I ran away from home and that’s also where the inspiration for the mix tape came from too. I talk about my India trip. India is great. It opens your mind and really makes you really grateful for the small things in life. It makes you realize how greedy western culture can be.
Click here to get the 301 to Paradise mixtape.
What is your favorite song off the mixtape? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter @OKMagazine.