Marissa grew up listening to folk music and started playing guitar as a teenager, following after her older brother, who was active in local indie bands. She chose to pursue her art studies and continued writing songs as a hobby. Describing herself as a very shy person and, at first, decided against playing live. She rather preferred the recording environment:
‘I like being alone in a room and spending time layering harmonies and putting soul and life into a recording.’ she says. ‘Then, I like to be able to connect and share with other people, as a way of ‘talking’ to them.’ (Leech, 2010, p.299)
Nadler released Ballads of Living and Dying (2004), her first full-length comprised of folk narratives in a stark, gothic style. She pursued this approach on The Saga of Mayflower May (2005), on which her folk laments take a more autobiographical turn. Her most acclaimed output, Songs III: Bird on the Water (2007) was recorded at Hexham Head with Greg Weeks. Working with Weeks brought Nadler many connections within the scene and she has extensively worked and toured with Josephine Foster and Nick Castro.
Vetiver started out as the project of singer-songwriter Andy Cabic. Cabic grew up listening to his parent’s records, mainly soft-rock legends Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and America. As a teenager, he started getting interested in indie-rock and played in the North Carolina band The Raymond Brake. The band ended, Cabic moved to San Francisco and started playing acoustic guitar, after losing his electric guitar in an accident. Cabic met Devendra Banhart and the pair started playing together, working on what would become the first Vetiver album.
Vetiver (2004) is an intimate collection of folk-driven songs featuring a plethora of guest artists, including Joanna Newsom on harp, Colm O’Ciosoig (My Bloody Valentine) on drums and Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star) on vocals. The presence of these artists as well Cabic’s ties with Banhart brought the album reasonable attention from the independent music press.