Nadja is a duo of multi-instrumentalist Aidan Baker and bassist Leah Buckareff—active since 2005—and making music which has been described as ambient doom, dreamsludge, or metalgaze, a signature sound which combines the atmospheric textures of shoegaze and ambient/electronic music with the heaviness, density, and volume of metal, noise, and industrial.
Nadja has released numerous albums on many different underground labels—Alien8 Recordings, Daymare Records, Robotic Empire, Hydrahead Records, Gizeh Records, and Important Records, to name a few—including their own imprint, Broken Spine Productions. The duo has toured extensively around the world—including performances at such festivals as SXSW, FIMAV, Roadburn, Donaufest, Le Guess Who, Incubate, and Unsound—and has shared stages with artists like Earth, OM, Khanate, Neurosis, and Godflesh.
Originally from Toronto, Canada, the duo now resides in Berlin, Germany.
1: Our collaborative hip-hop (doom-hop?) album with Uochi Toki is not (just) in Italian.
2: We have toured and performed on five continents.
3: We have used synths on only one of our albums.
What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Everything…the world…making music itself…
How and when did you get into making music?
Aidan: I grew up in a musical household and first started taking piano lessons at the age of 5 or 6. I then turned to studying classical flute, which was my main instrument for many years. As a teenager, I played jazz saxophone in school, and taught myself to play guitar, which is now my primary instrument. I played guitar in a number of new-wave/punk/grunge band s over the years, before beginning to explore the more ambient/experimental direction I work now work in in the late 1990s.
Leah: I played piano and violin a child, then gave it up until I met Aidan and he put a bass in my hand s.
What are your 5 favorite albums of all time?
Since it is pretty difficult to pinpoint 5 favourite albums (and they frequently change), here are 5 in recent, regular rotation in our flat:
The Flaming Lips – The Terror
Slug – The 3 Man Themes
Pitchshifter – Desensitized
David Sylvian & Holger Czukay – Plight & Premonition
O Paon – Fleuve
What do you associate with Berlin?
Aidan: The freedom to live and work as an artist.
Leah: The smell of coal burning in the air as soon as it gets cold.
What’s your favorite place in your town?
Aidan: Treptower Park (especially the Soviet Memorial)
Leah: Stralauer Halbinsel.
If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Aidan: Invent music.
Leah: Crochet (and talk to myself).
What was the last record you bought?
Aidan: David Sylvian – Gone To Earth
Leah: Low – The Great Destroyer
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Jens Hannemann (drumming for Nadja).
What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Aidan: The Boredoms in Melbourne on October 10, 2010 performing with 10 drummers.
Leah: The Touch & Go 25th Anniversary Festival in Chicago in 2006.
How important is technology to your creative process?
It is important, but we think it’s equally important to not be completely dependent on technology.
Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
Aidan: I have one brother. He also plays music, but not professionally. When we were younger, we sometimes played together in punk band s, but now we make and listen to rather different music from one other.
Leah: I have 6 siblings. They are nonplussed.