Marika Hackman Photo by Joost Vandebrug

British musician Marika Hackman’s new album, her third, is called “Any Human Friend,” a title that comes from watching a documentary about 4-year-olds interacting with dementia patients. One kid said to another how great it is to make “any human friend,” and it struck a nerve.

“It’s that childlike view where we really accept people, are comfortable with their differences,” Hackman said in a press release.

That said, the album is not one to listen to with your kids, as she sings about sex and sexuality in a way that’s bold and edgy. Songs like “The One,” “All Night,” “Hand Solo,” “Come Undone” and “Conventional Ride” get right into things, but are also catchy, dreamy, playful, fierce and smart. Hackman’s voice hovers between arresting and haunting, and the album on a whole has earned a solid spot on my best of 2019 list.

Hackman’s Saturday night show in Portland will be her first visit to Maine. I spoke with her from her home in London’s East End, and the conversation touched on many aspects of “Any Human Friend.”

The album’s been out for about two months and has gotten an overwhelming positive response from both critics and fans. How does that feel?
It’s an amazing feeling. It feels like everyone understood it, they got the point. The worst thing is if you release something that you feel has an important message and people kind of missing that means you haven’t done your job properly in terms of creating something that’s direct and easy to access. So, the fact that everyone seems to have got on board with it is very exciting to me and playing shows around it is so cool because everyone is buzzing and singing all the words back.

Tell me about the album cover with you holding a baby pig in your arms.
I was inspired by these pictures of mothers with their newborn babies, like straight out of the womb, but I didn’t want to hold a baby, that didn’t relate to me. The reason I picked a piglet is, to me, they’re kind of this much maligned creature. People think they’re stupid, we treat them really badly, people think they’re dirty. I used to have pigs, and they’re actually fascinating creatures. They’re crazy clever, they can learn loads of commands, they’re actually really clean and they’re quite sexual animals. I kind of felt that me holding the piglet is like me being like, “I’ve got you, I understand you and I accept you for who you are, not for what everyone else thinks you are,” which is what the record’s all about really. It’s about acceptance, it’s about being yourself and experiencing all those different emotions and being comfortable with that.

Some of the “Any Human Friends” songs are quite frank, and I’ve found listening to them to be liberating. Was that your intention?
I don’t write music to change the world, I don’t write music to be political, and I don’t write it to try and help people. I write music because I love writing music; it’s something I’ve always done, and I have an urge to be creative. But then what’s happened is that it has started to affect people’s lives, and people are telling me that it’s helped them get through certain situations or helped them discover who they are. I can’t ignore that, and it’s such a profoundly amazing thing to have someone turn around and say that to you. Coming into this third album I was like, “Hey, if I’m as honest as I can be and if I’m as brave as I can be, chances are this is gonna hit so many more people in a way that will be helpful to them.” It feels like I achieved what I set out to achieve with this album, which is very satisfying.

What music did you listen to during your formative teen years?
When I was starting to write music, and this was very much me on my own with an acoustic guitar, I was listening to Laura Veirs. She’s amazing. “Year of Meteors” and “July Flame,” those two albums really shaped me first going into songwriting. I was also really big into The Shins. The way they write songs is insane – so clever and complex and weird. As I was getting older, I would say around 17 or 18, it was Beach House and Warpaint. I was teaching myself the guitar, so I was also learning, like, Simon & Garfunkel songs and things like that to try and help my picking technique.

Was there a live music experience that further propelled you into knowing that this is what you were meant to be doing?
There were two actually. There was one where I saw War Paint playing when I was 18 in this tiny little club in Brighton. It was just before the first album came out. It was amazing to see four really cool women rocking out. Also Laura Marling. We toured Europe together. Watching her play shows just on her own with a guitar, she’s incredibly captivating and I think that really gave me a confidence boost. Seeing a woman standing there taking control, being in charge and owning that stage was very inspirational.

Tell me a dream collaboration with a musician who’s no longer alive?
I would love to play some music with John Bonham from Led Zeppelin on the drums. I think he’s such a cool drummer. I’m obsessed with the drums and the bass. I would probably be on the bass for that one and work something really groovy out with him.

Marika Hackman with Girl Friday
8 p.m. Saturday. Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland, $15 in advance, $20 day of show, all ages. portcitymusichall.com

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