Introducing Eerie Wanda

Phone interview by Roxy Merrell

Ahead of the long-awaited debut release of Eerie Wanda’s Hum tomorrow, 26 February on New York label Beyond Beyond is Beyond we called up Eerie Wanda front woman Marina Tadic to talk about unsuspected paths, not overthinking the things you do and how, exactly, your bedroom pop project can suddenly be touring Europe as the opening act for Allah-Las.

Eerie Wanda - by Ben Rider

Photo by Ben Rider

I saw Eerie Wanda open for Earth Mk. II at the OT301 quite a while back. Back when you were playing in Earth Mk. II and Eerie Wanda was a shy bedroom pop project. What happened since then?

I think that was our second show. I was playing with Earth Mk. II and writing my own songs on the side, in my room. I recorded a couple of demos and sent them to some friends. One of those friends was Jacco Gardner, who sent it to Jasper Verhulst – who’s now my bassist. Jasper was really enthusiastic about the songs and wanted to start a band and record an album. So that’s what we did!

We found a drummer, Nic Niggebrugge, who also plays with Jacco now, and Jasper’s friend Bram Vervaet plays guitar. So we’ve just been playing shows since then, and been on tour with Allah-Las. That’s kind of just what we’ve been up to.

How did you become friends with Jacco?

We were both studying in Utrecht, and that’s where we met. Back then, he playing with this band called The Skywalkers. I went to his show and the rest is history. We became friends and have been for the longest time.

That’s a pretty big step, from bedroom pop to opening act for Allah-Las. Especially without an EP out or anything! How did that happen?

Yeah [laughs] it definitely is. It was a huge surprise to me, too. Jasper knew Allah-Las because he had played with them before, when touring with Jacco. He sent them our songs and just really loved it, so… one thing lead to another.

Your personal network really had you jump in the deep end.

Yeah, totally. I don’t know how else I would have done it. I had some experience performing live with Earth Mk. II, but I had only played my own stuff three times before. Plus, I had never even been on tour or anything, so it was all really exciting.

It seems like when describing you, the internet likes to make a point about your relationship to different locations. Band from Amsterdam, Nijmegen-based, Croatian/Bosnian roots. Where do you feel at home?

I feel at home where ever the people I love are. Home is not really a place to me. Growing up in Holland, I always felt somewhat alienated, because I’m not Dutch. But when I’m in Bosnia or Croatia, I feel more Dutch than the people there. I don’t really feel like anything, particularly… I don’t identify with one nationality.

You’re an illustrator and artist, alongside being a songwriter and musician. Was an artistic path always in the stars for you?

Definitely. I’ve always been drawing and making things. I always knew that I wanted to go to art school. And to be honest, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I feel like I live in a bubble. I only hang out with other people pursuing creative things. I work at EXTROPOL, too, which is a somewhat secluded underground venue, and those are kind of the only places I ever go to. I’m either there, in my room, or in Amsterdam with my band. See? In that way, I really live in a bubble. I hardly ever show up at normal places… but what is normal, anyway?

Who knows? It sounds like a nice bubble.

It is a really nice bubble.

How does your exploration of different art forms relate to one another? Does your visual work inspire your music, or do these explorations live in different realms?

I think they are quite separate. It’s not like, when making music I’m thinking about visuals. But there are real similarities between them – both inspired by surrealistic things and by me being quite an emotional person. But to be honest, I don’t really know. I don’t really think about it. It’s mostly intuitive.

I don’t like to overthink the things that I do. I don’t want to explain all the art that I make. I think that that’s a really big part of me, and how I make things. I like to just leave them the way they are.

I noticed a lot of your work is linked to literature, like book covers or illustrations for literary magazines. Do your songs tell stories?

Sometimes. Some lyrics are very visual. Like, I’m just thinking this line in the song ‘Happy Hard Times’. It goes, “Everyday, I watch in silence, how you walk through the fields of diamonds.”

Some songs have clear stories, others are more vague or abstract. I guess the combination of the two is exactly what I’m drawn to in my visual work. Where there are things you understand, but also a different world, filled with mysterious things.

Does ‘Eerie Wanda’ live in that different world?

I guess so. I just like the way it sounds. Wanda is like a cute, geeky name of someone I imagine living in the ‘50s. Some geek called Wanda. And eerie is kind of a contradiction to that name. I just had this image of someone that I could relate to. Some geeky, lonely, dreamy girl. Other people might think she’s weird and eerie, but she might not be at all.

The release party for your debut LP Hum is just around the corner. Have you been working on the record for a long time?

Not really, actually. We recorded the record quite a while ago, and we got it done really quickly. The process was naturally intuitive and fast. So it’s been ready for a while now, and we can’t wait for people to hear it!

Come celebrate the release of Eerie Wanda’s Hum, out on 26 February via Beyond Beyond is Beyond, on 4 March at De Nieuwe Anita, Amsterdam.