Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Marissa Nadler is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who is releasing her seventh studio album, Strangers. Nadler is a trained visual artist who began recording in 2002 and released her first album Ballads of Living and Dying in 2004. She has since released Songs III: Birds on the Water (2007), Little Hells (2009), Marissa Nadler (2011), The Sister (2012) and July (2014).
For over 12 years, singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler has been layering her ethereal vocals over acoustic compositions, creating a dark, textured blend of folk, Americana and dream pop. While her 2014 release, July, tenderly explored her first broken heart, Nadler steps away from her own reflection on her seventh full-length album, Strangers. Instead, she delves into universal themes set against a surreal and haunting post-apocalyptic landscape. The characters in her songs are the titular ‘strangers,’ yet they are all unified in loneliness, despair and humanness. For Strangers, Nadler has again partnered with July producer Randall Dunn, who has worked with Sunn O))), Earth and Black Mountain. Pairing hypnotic, acoustic finger-picking with her otherworldly voice, Nadler tackles the album’s weighty themes with delicacy and wistfulness.
Nadler recently came through Issue’s Los Angeles office, and plays “All The Colors of the Dark” and “Dissolve” from her forthcoming Strangers.
Where are you from?
When did you start playing music?
When I was about 14 years old.
Who influenced you growing up and who influences you today?
Growing up: Joni Mitchell, Nirvana, Hole, Nina Simone, Mazzy Star, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Townes Van Zandt, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Stevie Nicks, Elliott Smith.
Some of my favorite modern bands: Earth, Sunn O))), Grouper, Angel Olsen, Black Mountain, Locrian, Glenn Jones, Jesse Sykes and The Sweet Hereafter. I wouldn’t call them influences but just people—many who have become friends of mine—who inspire me and who I love to listen to.
How would you describe your genre or style?
I really hate genre tags. I’m influenced by a ton of things, but my music comes together in a dark, heavy way.
How and when did you decide that this is what you were going to do?
It really wasn’t a decision so much as being compelled by forces outside of my control.
“Each show is special because
there’s always someone there, in the audience,
who is feeling a connection. ”
— Marissa Nadler
How does it feel to have finished Strangers?
Well, Strangers is my seventh studio album, but I’m particularly proud of this one and excited to share it with the world.
Who would you most like to collaborate with and why?
I’d like to sing with Leonard Cohen. He’s been such an inspiration to me.
What cities or venues are your favorite? Which are you most excited for in upcoming tours?
I’m looking forward to playing everywhere. Each show is special because there’s always someone there, in the audience, who is feeling a connection.
What are your interests and passions outside of your art?
Stop-motion animation, painting, drawing, nature hikes.
What’s next for you?
I’m going to be touring like crazy in support of Strangers.