Nadja were responsible for inspiring the first post on this incarnation of Subcide after I witnessed them live in October 2010. Therefore it only seems appropriate that further exploring the realms of the band's dynamic yet intense enveloping drone should take place. Following is an interview with Aidan Baker... 1 - With out making reference to any other bands, artists or musical genre’s, describe your music in a away that will make readers of this interview, who haven’t heard Nadja, want to check you out.
Nadja is like a heavy blanket of sound to tuck you in at night.
2 - Nadja have a interesting and unique live stage presence. Leah faces away from the Audience, with Aidan toward and a table of effects pedals in between. Is intentionally planned or was it something that came about naturally? How do you find audiences react to it? What aspects do you feel are important to your live show? What were your impressions of your recent (5 October 2010) New Zealand show? Any plans to return?
Our performances aren't really about us, per se, but the sound, so we like to physically present ourselves on stage more as a something of a tableau than a specific focal point. Most audiences seem to be fine with this, although we have had some people complain that we don't move around enough...but since we don't exactly make boppy, bouncy music, this complaint seems fairly irrelevant.
To be honest, my memories of our Auckland show remains rather hazey, since we were pretty jet-lagged at the time...I do remember enjoying the show, at least, and the audience was enthusiastic and responsive, which is always satisfying. It would definitely be nice to come back to New Zealand, if only to see more of the country than just Auckland, but who knows when that will happen...
3 - Aidan, I’ve read that you used to make ‘Godflesh’ inspired music in the 90s. What form did this take? Were there any releases?
No releases, just demos...although one day I might get around to making proper recordings of these demos. They aren't really any more or less Godflesh-inspired or -sounding than Nadja songs, though certainly more structured and not as droning/ambient. I would describe the music I was writing then as something of a mix of Codeine and Godflesh with a touch of Caspar Brotzmann, since these were three artists I listened to a lot at the time.
4 - I understand you also have books published. Could please you tell us what these all are and where they are available?
I have published four books of poetry, or prose poems, as I prefer to designate them: "Fingerspelling" (Penumbra Press, 2000), "Wound Culture" (Unbound Books, 2002), "Place Name" (Wingate Press, 2005), and "The Shape of Snakes" (Broken Spine/Averse Publishing, 2010). Of these books, only the last is still in print and available (from our webstore:http://brokenspine.bigcartel.com). I do have another book of poetry, "Passing Thru," coming out this year with Beta-Lactam Ring Records.
5 - How did the collaboration New Zealand’s Black Boned Angel come about? What process did you use to create and record said collaboration? Were you happy with the results? Why/why not? Are there any other artists that you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
The collaboration with Black Boned Angel was suggested and initiated by the record label 20 Buck Spin. We traded cds of raw, unfinished tracks through the mail, each of us finishing what the other had started. Personally, I'm happier with the "Christ Send Light" ep than the full-length, if only because "Christ Send Light" was such an unexpected result. I am happy with the full-length, but it kind of sounds like what one would expect from such a collaboration and I think collaborations are more successful when they result in something entirely unexpected.
It would certainly be interesting to do something collaborative with Justin Broadrick, of course...I have spoken with him about the possibility and while he wasn't opposed to the idea, actually making it happen might be a challenge...
6 - How do you and Leah find making music and touring as a couple? What are it’s advantages?
Touring and travelling with one's partner is certainly easier and more comfortable than travelling with bandmates, no matter how close band members might be. And definitely it is nice to be able to share these experiences with each other. Also, because there are just the two of us and we perform with a minimal amount of gear, we are able to get to a lot more places that it can be too difficult to get full bands.
7 - What are your favourite Effects pedals? Why? What pedals or equipment do you think are most responsible for creating the Nadja soundscape?
Well, I am pretty attached to my Akai Headrush looping pedal, which I've had for about 10 years now and is definitely integral to the Nadja sound -- though more so to my solo work, perhaps. Equally important to the Nadja sound are my distortion/overdrive pedals, of which I have three: a Boss Overdrive/Distortion, Profile Overdrive (which was the very first pedal I bought, well over 20 years ago now), and a Boss Super-Octave (which has a built in distortion). Leah uses a Boss Bass Distortion/Overdrive pedal as well.
8 - for those unfamiliar with your Solo material, where would be a good place to start as far as ‘Aidan Baker’ releases are concerned. What sort or people may like to check it out and why?
I released a 2CD compilation on Important Records recently, entitled "I Wish Too, To Be Absorbed," of material drawn from older and/or more obscure releases that was something of an attempt to showcase the different types of music I make under my own name, so it serves as a good introduction. Generally, drone and ambient is a recurring element within all my music, but I have made albums ranging from space-rock to shoegazer-pop to neo-classical post-rock to drone-folk.
9 - How do you maintain the high frequency of Nadja and Aidan Baker releases? What inspires you to produce so much music?
I have a lot of sounds in my head and I need to get them out...
10 - I understand that Nadja’s music is inspired by what you read. What are you reading at the moment? How might it inspire the music you are creating or are going to create?
Some of it is inspired by literary sources, yes, although not exclusivly. We take inspiration from other sources as well; films, other music, or simply from making sounds/compostions/whatever ourselves...Right now, I'm reading "Aurorama" by Jean-Christophe Valtat (Melville House, 2010) which is a something of a steam-punk/revisionist history novel about a Victorian city in the Arctic. It's an interesting blend of fantasy and realism, science-fictional and anachronistic technology, and Inuit/shamanistic mythology. Since it is set in the Arctic, ice and cold are dominant elements, so we might end up making an icy, cold album...
11 - How did your covers Album ‘when i see the sun always shines on tv’ come about? Will there be another covers album? why/why not?
We played cover version of Swans' 'No Cure For the Lonely' and Paul Bellini/Kids in the Hall's 'Long Dark Twenties' in our live set for some time and they always got appreciative responses, so we thought we'd make a full album of covers, both as something of an attempt to illustrate our sonic roots and to have some fun (in a genre that's not especially known for levity). There are lots of other songs we would like to cover, but I don't know that we will make another full album of just covers...one is probably enough...
12 - You have a number of older hard to get albums such as Corrasion. Are there any plans to re-release them so that they are more easily available. If so where, when and how?
"Corrasion" is still available on vinyl from Basses Frequences (http://bassesfrequences.org). But yes, there are a number of older, out-of-print albums. Some of them we plan to re-issue ourselves on our own label, Broken Spine Productions (http://brokenspineprods.wordpress.com). The first of these cd re-issues, "Bodycage," we just released a few months ago and we have plans to re-issue "Thaumogenesis" and "The Bungled & The Botched" as well.
13 - What is next for Nadja? Any last words?
We are slowing down the Nadja releases at the moment, so we only have 2 albums, apart from afore-mentioned re-issues, scheduled for this year: A collaborative album, "Konstruktion," coming out this spring with the US ambient/noise artist Galena (http://myspace.com/galenaoaks) on Adagio830 Records (http://adagio830.de) in time for our April tour in Europe. And we have a split album with fellow Canadians Picastro (http://myspace.com/picastro) entitled "Fools, Redeemers," coming out next fall with Alien8 Recordings (http://alien8recordings.com).
Solo, I just released two new albums, "Lost in the Rat Maze" (Consouling Sounds) and "Only Stories" (Broken Spine/The Kora Records), and I have a few other releases scheduled for later in the year. Including a multi-genre (ambient/metal/jazz/etc.) album I did with multiple drummers, including Ted Parsons (Swans, Prong, Godflesh), Thor Harris (Swans, Angels of Light), Mac McNeilly (Jesus Lizard), Steven Hess (Locrian, Panamerican), and Phil Petrocelli (Jesu, Grey Machine), to name a few.