Heavy metal is teeming with a wealth of incomparable talent and colossal personalities. There is, however, a much-addressed matter of a shortage of women applying their trade in the heavier genres of the music industry. Bassist Nadja Peulen has been the one major exception. In a career spanning over 20 years, Nadja has become one of heavy metals most recognized and accomplished women. Nadja’s ascension to musical paramount began in 1999 after joining nu-metal icons Coal Chamber and has since seen her evolve into one of heavy metals most admired figures.
Nadja’s association with GhostCircus Apparel originated at the very beginning, “I could be wrong, but I believe I may have the first dress that GhostCircus Apparel made, or maybe I just like to think that.” The affiliation was never really a question, with GhostCircus Apparel designer eli james being a local musician as well, “Eli’s a good friend of mine, we played in a band together a few years back.” Music and fashion are two art forms that have forever been intertwined and explored as different ends of parallel spectrums. Nadja is one such artist who has never been afraid to express herself with her style as well as her music, “I’ve always just been myself, which is a plethora of many things. So if GhostCircus Apparel can keep up with my many personalities and styles, we’ll fit together just fine.” Her personal style is one of the many things that have helped her identify herself, a responsibility GhostCircus Apparel has savoured, “I like the fit and the materials, which are very comfortable. I’m still surprised how my first dress fitting was almost perfect in size without being measured prior to manufacturing. Eli has a good sense of measurements and fit, I must say!”
GhostCircus Apparel, however, isn’t Nadja’s only familiarity with fashion. In 2000 she launched her own apparel company, Crueltees. Crueltees was soon picked up by alternative clothing chain Hot Topic and became available right across the United States. “I had a few very active years with Crueltees, until I got busy with music again and then I put it on the back burner. Fashion, styles, and business have changed since those early days and I’m looking to get back into it again as it’s still a passion of mine. I’ve been brainstorming ideas for some time now.”
Music and fashion though, only scratch the surface of Nadja’s creative initiative, “Music is my number one and when I’m not actively touring or working on fashion, I want to expand my website: NadjaPeulen.com, and turn it into an interactive site with blogs, video episodes, a discussion board, information, tips, a podcast and a merch store (which is already active).” Besides the social aspect of the lifestyle Nadja already lives and is looking to expand upon through her website, there’s so much more to this most intriguing and inspirational person. “Besides that, I’ve been into yoga for a while and lately also started attending meditation classes. So…slowly I’m turning into a metal hippie, or ‘zen bitch’, as I’d like to call it, hahaha! All good stuff for a future book!”
This ‘zen’ attitude has helped Nadja navigate the often confusing and overwhelming environment of the entertainment industry, with the kind of positivity and mental clarity that can only be acquired over time. “My experiences, good and bad, have prepped me for various things in life. In the end, I think it’s all about learning, becoming the best version of yourself and not taking anything too serious and personal. People live in their own reality and hear/see/perceive things according to their personal belief system. In a dog-eat-dog world, it’s helpful and freeing to have a different perspective and not take things personally. It’s a survival technique and yet really just a way of life to maintain your energy and happiness, so you can pay it forward to the right situations and people.”
2016 has been a year of preparation for Nadja, taking the necessary time to make the crucial steps forward, toward the next chapter of her already invigorating story. However the passion for art is something that will never disappear, and when asked about the future, Nadja was quick to leave her options open. It’s safe to say that we’ll be hearing/seeing and possibly wearing a lot more from Nadja in the not too distant future.
Photographer – Valery Latypov