Marissa Nadler: At Her Most Autobiographical

While a lot of critics have been calling dreamy folk singer/songwriter Marissa Nadler’s sixth studio LP (July, released last month) a step in a new direction, in my most...

While a lot of critics have been calling dreamy folk singer/songwriter Marissa Nadler’s sixth studio LP (July, released last month) a step in a new direction, in my most recent chat with the Boston-residing chanteuse, she clarifies that she actually sees the album as a logical evolution of her sound throughout the past decade.  July could be considered Nadler’s darkest and most introspective effort, although for her, this felt like a very organic step.  She’s currently promoting the album with a handful of live dates and she will be playing Johnny Brenda’s this Saturday, March 15th.  Read what she has to tell me about what’s she’s recently been up to and what she plans to be up to in the near future.

Izzy Cihak: You recently released your July LP.  What have been your favorite reactions to it, whether from critics, friends, or live audiences?  It seems to be being regarded as a step in a new direction for you.

Marissa Nadler: I just have to say that I’m happy that the reception has been so positive to this particular record. I’ve been making albums for a long time so I’m pretty grounded and realistic about things these days. Nonetheless, it seems that the addition of two strong record labels (Sacred Bones, Bella Union) has really helped to get this record in the right ears. I’d been doing things on my own for the last few years so the help is wonderful!  I do see my career as a long one and my body of work as a continuous one, so I think that each record is a building block off of the one before.

Izzy: What aspects of your life do you think most contributed to the album’s content and aesthetic?

Marissa: The songs are entirely autobiographical and it’s all in the lyrics. It’s pretty hard to go into any more detail than that.

Izzy: This is your first album released by Sacred Bones.  What are your thoughts on the label?  Any peers with whom you’re especially happy to share the label?

Marissa: They are amazing. I’m very excited to be working with them. Um… David Lynch, Jim Jarmusch and Jozef Van Wissem, Zola Jesus! It’s really crazy and very cool. Everyone that works at the label is super nice!

Izzy: Your recently released video for “Dead City Emily” is entrancing and intoxicating to an almost painful degree (but in a good, introspective way).  What were its most significant influences?

Marissa: Derrick Belcham directed it and it stars Emily Turndrup, a modern dancer who’s been in Sleep No More. I kind of let him take the reins on the video because we share a very similar aesthetic.

Izzy: What can be expected of your upcoming live dates?  A lot of people have been characterizing July as embodying a new sound.  Do you think that’s reflected in the live show?

Marissa: I have a band with Janel Leppin on cello and synth and harmony vocals, and Nina Violet on viola and lapsteel and harmony vocals. No, I don’t think this is a “new sound,” as much as it’s a progression and continuation.  My live setup is always changing and evolving, depending on who’s available. I could play alone or with a group.

Izzy: And what are your most significant plans for the rest of 2014?

Marissa: I’ll be touring a lot and starting to write some new songs.


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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.