Limelight: Irij

“I was very nervous about being a frontwoman,” admits Croatian violinist and singer Meri Tadic, “but I’ve proven to myself that I’m capable of doing it with Irij.”

Born in Switzerland to a Croatian family, Tadic spread her musical wings in folk-metal band Eluveitie. Her first appearance was on their 2003 debut Vên, but within the space of a few years, she had begun writing solo material inspired by the Slavic myths her parents told her as a child. Named after the celestial place where pagan gods live, Irij provided Tadic with an outlet for her creativity. “It’s a world between the worlds,” she says, “and has a lot to do with emotions and feelings.”

She released the EP Irij in 2009 and an album at the beginning of last year, just a few weeks after leaving the band. “I’d worked for four years on [debut] Same Zgode… Koje Se Ne Mogu Dogoditi! but the timing of the release was an accident,” she reveals. “After 11 years of being in Eluveitie, I just felt it was the wrong place for me and I had to do my own stuff. It was a chapter of my life that had ended and I wanted to do something else.”

Although Irij is Tadic’s solo project, she’s teamed up with a number of musicians to help her realise her sound: Addi Tryggvason from Icelandic post‑rockers Sólstafir even contributed guitar parts to her experimental debut. Last September, she and her current band performed live for the first time as Irij, and Tadic found the experience an unexpected catalyst for new material. “I really wanted to play a couple more shows but once I got into the flow of songwriting, I had so many ideas that I ended up writing a large part of the album,” she says. “I hadn’t planned it, it just came naturally. I was spitting out one song after another!”

A fan once told me that we sounded like a female folk version of Tool.

Tadic hopes to release Irij’s as-yet-untitled second album next spring and is keeping the exact themes close to her heart for the time being, but if her latest single is anything to go by, we’ll be in for a treat. The uplifting High Above Sorrow explores the intensity of being in love, and there’s even an instrumental piano remix that really brings out the song’s fragile beauty.

With musical influences ranging from Led Zeppelin to Mars Volta via Pink Floyd, Tadic admits her diversity has caused a few scratched heads when it comes to categorising her music. “But,” she says, “a fan once told me that we sounded like a female folk version of Tool and I really liked that because I’m a big fan of Tool.”

Right now Meri Tadic is busy finishing off that second album and planning more live shows. “It’s been almost two years since my last show with Eluveitie so my feet are a bit itchy and I want to get back on stage!” she laughs. “I’m looking out for more opportunities to spread the word.”

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Meri Tadic (violins/vocals)
sounds like
Elegant folk rock with an electronic drive and delicate vocals
current release
The single High Above Sorrow is available now via Bandcamp
Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.