Nadja

Het Canadese Nadja was onlangs nog in Nederland om op het onvolprezen Roadburn festival te spelen. Helaas heb ik ze toen gemist, maar gelukkig had oprichter Aidan Baker even tijd om – tussen twee optredens in oostelijk Canada door – wat vragen te beantwoorden. We waren benieuwd hoe het was om met een echte drummer te werken, in plaats van met een drumcomputer, en hoe we de muziek van Nadja nu het best kunnen omschrijven.

Door: Jan-Simon | Archiveer onder different metal

You recently released a new album, 'Desire In Uneasiness', the first to be recorded with a live drummer. Is this a unique project, or will Nadja be a trio from now on?
This was a unique project, yes, but that doesn't mean we might not be a trio at some point…

What made you decide to work with a drummer for this record?
We wanted to try something different, something with a more organic feel that's difficult to capture with electronic drums.

You worked with Jakob Thiesen on this record. I read that the two of you have collaborated before in Whisper Room. Still, I think not many people will know who he is, can you tell us a bit about him?
I have performed with Jakob many times, both as a duo and with our trio Whisper Room – we have a collaborative record recently released on Waterscape Records called 'A Bout de Souffle'. He has played drums with a few other groups, as well as recording more electronic/techno-based music under his own name. (Aidan at this point refers to Jakob's page from Discogs, which may give some more info on his work.

Does this mean that you will now do Nadja-shows with him?
Probably not, but it's always a possibility.

It seems that using a drum computer has not prevented you from making music that has a very improvised feel. It does make it a bit harder to just try things in the studio. Can you tell us how a Nadja recording session used to be, and if it was different with a real drummer?
When we recorded with Jakob, we improvised/jammed and then took the recordings and edited and re-worked them, essentially building the songs that ended up on the album from the improvised raw material. Other albums have been recorded similarly, although we generally start with a very basic drumtrack and chord progression and then improvise over top of that, adding layers and textures until the song is 'finished'.

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The Crucial Blast press-sheet labels Nadja as metal. We all know that is a very generic term and fans as well as musicians are keen on narrowing the description as much as possible. Strange constructions like funeral doom death metal or atmospheric Viking black metal are invented. I would not consider Nadja to be just 'metal'. It would place you in the same category as Judas Priest or Pantera, so how would you define your music more precisely?
We usually call ourselves 'ambient metal' or 'ambient doom' since that more or less captures the sense of juxtaposition or antithesis we're going for with our sound… I have seen various terms like metalgaze or shoegazer-metal used to describe us, but those are a bit silly sounding. Someone called us dreamsludge recently, which I like.

Should we think of Nadja as a metal band at all?
We do use elements of traditional metal in our music, but whether that makes us a metal band is pretty subjective. We prefer to let our listeners decide for themselves.

Do you think Nadja is part of a scene, in other words what bands do you identify with?
I think we fall into a few different scenes, since our sound encompasses various genres and there isn't really a 'shoegazer metal' scene (at least not yet). We do tend to play with bands of a more drone-metal nature, but aside from metal shows we've played with artists ranging from noise to post-rock to electronic to experimental.

You were in the Netherlands recently, to play at the famous Roadburn Festival. How did you like it?
We liked it a lot – it was great to see people going out to see quite a diverse line-up of bands.

At Roadburn the whole metal underground seems to gather. Is it as well known in North America as it is in Europe? Is it something you aim for as a band, to play at the Roadburn Festival?
It is not very well known in North America, no, and there isn't really a North American equivalent at this point. Playing Roadburn was certainly a good experience for us and hopefully it will give us the opportunity to play more European festivals.

Did you see interesting bands at the festival yourself?
The only set I saw the entirety of was Jesu's, which was very good. I would have liked to have seen Boris and Wolves In The Throne Room, but I missed them – likewise Isis and Current 93, since they happened on days we weren't at the festival.

Finally, what does the future bring for Nadja? You did a few shows in Europe following Roadburn, will we be seeing you here again soon?
We plan to be in Europe again in the autumn of 2008, hopefully for an extended period, so we can get to all the places that people keep asking us to come to. As for releases, we're currently working on a new record for Alien8 and a DVD project for Beta-Lactam Ring Records and have forthcoming releases with Belgium's Consouling Sounds and Brazil's Essence Music.

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