Canadian ambient doom metal duo Nadja are enjoying the welcoming reaction their dark, noisy soundscapes receive these days now that the world has become much more receptive to repetitive dissonant riffs. Things weren't so easy for them back in 2003, when Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff first started performing together.
"We don't clear rooms as soon as we play a note any more," Buckareff says, laughing. "That used to happen a lot at the beginning."
"On Halloween this year, though, we played a metal festival in a small town in middle Germany, but it was completely the wrong billing and we cleared the room," Baker recalls with a hint of pride. "That was the first time that had happened in a few years."
"It was almost nostalgic," Buckareff adds.
Despite occasional unfriendly purist metal audiences, relocating to Berlin five years ago had a big impact on their lives. Daily expenses there are low enough to let them live on what they make playing experimental music, and regular touring is much more feasible, so they've begun focusing more on performance while cutting back on their ridiculously prolific recording output.
Including EPs, collaborations and full-length albums, Nadja have appeared on about 50 releases, but they still try to do something new with each recording. Some excursions have been closer to shoegazer-folk, others more rhythmic and post-rock-influenced.
Last year they surprised many with their collaborative album Cystema Solari (CORPOC) with Italian hip-hop group Uochi Toki. This spring they're tackling a whole new challenge: the dance floor.
"It's a track we've been playing for a couple of years at least that we jokingly call our techno piece," Baker explains. "We play it when we get booked for raves. Every now and then we actually get an invitation to play a dance party."
Listen to Nadja here.