Nadja’s stunning 41 minute album Sv is a masterclass in tense atmosphere and relentless smouldering soundscapes. As a highly prolific band that have released a plethora of quality material, Sv stands up there as one of their best pieces of work and should ideally be required listening for any discerning music fan. I had the privilege to quiz Aidan Baker, 50% of Nadja, about the release…
For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!
Nadja is a duo of Aidan Baker (guitars, vocals, drum machine) and Leah Buckareff (bass, vocals). We make music that has been variously called metalgaze, drone-doom, and (our preferred term) dreamsludge. This is music which incorporates elements of doom metal and industrial with the melodicism and textures of shoegaze and experimental/ambient music.
Give us a bit of background to Nadja
As a duo, Nadja began in 2005 in Toronto, Canada with our first proper album release “Truth Becomes Death” on the label Alien8 Recordings. We have since released numerous albums on such labels as Hydrahead Records, Robotic Empire, Important Records, and our own label, Broken Spine Productions. In 2010, we relocated from Toronto to Berlin, Germany to take advantage of the better musical opportunities in Europe.
What are your influences?
We are influenced by a lot of different music, but some of our main influences are: Swans, Godflesh, Neurosis, Khanate, My Bloody Valentine, Caspar Brotzmann Massaker, Coil, Red House Painters, Slint, etc., etc.
What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?
The new Swans album “The Glowing Man” has been getting a lot of play recently. Also the LP re-issue of Tarentel’s “From Bone To Satellite” and a some of Wire’s Bruce Gilbert’s solo albums from the 1980s, like “This Way” and “The Shivering Man”.
Tell us about Sv – what is the concept/idea behind the release?
We originally wrote “Sv” to perform at a pair of music festivals we were invited to play in Berlin a few summers ago, One of the festivals had an overlying theme exploring the apocalypse and the other was an outdoor dance festival, so we accordingly set out to make something that might be thought of as apocalyptic dance music.
Tell us about the album artwork
The artwork is by Australian artist Sheldon Hunt, who also did the artwork for our album “Thaumogenesis”.
Sievert is long and impressive – what’s your favourite part of the track and why?
Since Sievert is one long track, designed to be listened to and experienced as whole, it’s not really possible to pick out a favourite section of the track. Each part of the song leads to the next part, so trying to isolate part of it goes against the nature of the song itself…
How did you go about writing and constructing this song?
As with most of our compositions, it started with a simple riff around which we constructed a drum machine track. Because we were deliberately intending to explore a more rhythmic element than we usually do with this piece, building that drum track largely determined the shape and form of the piece.
What was recording it like?
Our recording needs are quite simple, so we almost always work at our home-studio in our apartment, as we did for this album. Once the rhythm track and basic chordal structure were in place, we improvised the soundscape and ambient/noise patterns which form the textural elements of the piece.
You seem to be very a very busy person – how do you fit it all in?
I like to keep busy…I don’t do well with free time…
What are you up to for the rest of 2016?
We will be doing a few short tours in the autumn of 2016 around the release of another full-length album on Gizeh Records.