PAL Interview, Huset, Copenhagen April 22 – 2013: Marissa Nadler
For American singer/songwriter, Marisa Nadler, creativity isn’t just a by-product of a fertile imagination – it’s a way of life. Trained in fine art, Marissa’s love of imagery is abundantly evident in her songs. Her hypnotic, folkloric, compositions are more like aural tableaus, conjuring up vivid scenarios and complete stories of the lives of the characters contained within them.
She is a modern day storyteller; her songs echo with scenes of winding dusty roads, lost love and of happiness snatched away in the timespan of a breath. Combined with her otherworldly vocals and rhythmic guitar style, Marissa’s songs are lullabies for these uncertain times. Through her songs we can identify with the pain of loss, with the tension of sweet love turned sour and reassure ourselves that these very human emotions are collective.
On her recent tour to Europe, POP ART LAB sat backstage with Marissa to discover more about what drives her artistically and how a girl always needs a little black dress on tour…
PAL: Hi Marissa, thank you so much for this interview with POP ART LAB, we are all hooked on your songs. You are often portrayed as a singer of ‘dream pop’ but how would you personally describe your own sound?
MN: I think the word dreamy is a very apt adjective. I take inspiration from so many different genres of music but it seems to come together into this amalgamation of atmosphere. Regardless of that atmosphere though, a song is a song. I strive for all else to just write songs that people can relate to and that mean something to me. I think good music is borderless and that is what I hope to attain.
PAL: There seems to be many layers to your creativity: you are an accomplished artist, songwriter and guitarist – why is creativity so important to you, and how do you keep your inner muse alive?
MN: I don’t know any other way. I’ve always been creative, and it’s just a compulsion… almost. I try to be true to myself but muses come and go. I struggle with connecting with a muse, but I know even the deepest dry spell can end. These songs come in waves and I just try to surf efficiently!
PAL: That’s the perfect analogy for those creative tussles we all have. Now, you have garnered much praise for your unique vocals and guitar style from the music industry globally. How do you keep this praise in perspective, and what have you learned from it?
MN: I’m my own harshest critic. I’m sure you hear that from everyone. I hate to admit that most of the praise goes in one ear and out the other. I think humans are programmed to fixate on that one negative or bitchy comment and let it eat them alive.
PAL: I think us women are especially good at only focusing on the negative and blocking out the positive for sure.
MN: Yes, I catch myself doing this sometimes: fixating on the little bit of bad and losing sight of the immense amount of good! But, I try to check myself. The most important thing is that I meet my own expectations.
PAL: Absolutely. So how was tonight’s show for you?
MN: It was great! Copenhagen was a great show. It felt so wonderful to show up here after several years, on a Monday, and have such a wonderfully warm and respectful audience. I’ll definitely come back.
PAL: Touring can be hard work. What do you take with you to remind you of home and what essentials are always packed in your suitcase?
MN: Lots of black dresses, a silk robe. You know, I try to bring nice stuff with me and things that make me feel at home. I’ll travel with scented candles and my favorite warm and fuzzy things.
PAL: A few home comforts and a little black dress are always the best travelling companions, but who else has joined you on this tour?
MN: A young musician named Will Sampson opened for four of the shows. But, the rest I did completely alone.
PAL: After Europe, you are home for a while, but what are your plans for the rest of 2013?
MN: I have a lot of plans. I’m doing collaboration with Balam Acab, maybe another song or two with Angel Olsen, some other cool collaborations and most importantly, writing and recording a new full length record.
PAL: The PAL team look forward to that very much Marissa! It will be on a nonstop loop in our office I am sure of that. Many thanks again for your time and we wish you a very successful 2013.
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