Naj & Gordon

Walking down B Street on a slightly overcast but warm afternoon, I hummed a Chet Faker tune on my way to one of the best Davis hangouts for creative souls: Delta of Venus. I was meeting with local duo Naj & Gordon after hearing their music and briefly meeting them at International Poetry Night. I chatted with Naj as we bought coffee. A week before, I ran into her casually at KetMoRee, but now I was able to shake Gordon's hand like the professional I sometimes dress to be. Naj, an anthropology major, and Gordon, a philosophy major, stayed true to the first impression I had of them earlier: insightful, open, driven 4th years. It was an absolute pleasure to talk with them about their music.

Naiady (Naj) Porta: guitar, vocals, production

Gordon Allen: fiddle, guitar, vocals, production

Genre: Acoustic rnb and electronic beats

How did you meet?

Gordon: We first met through a mutual friend, and we just started jamming; I had my fiddle and with her voice - we stayed up 3 or 4 hours past everybody else on the porch just playing everything we had ever known, and showing it to each other. I hear something in her voice that my voice and my violin hears too. It's like she's my soul mate in music.

Naj: Everything I did with my voice he matched with his fiddle, and we knew what we were going to play before we played it. It's very intuitive.

What has recently been important in your music?

Gordon: Creating the visual space around the performance. We started out with an acoustic vibe but we want to go into electronic pop. We love pop music. Ultimately, it’s just about a sound that connects people to each other, and that’s such a beautiful thing. We want to be inside that connection, and help people find each other, and themselves, I guess. Music is where we both found our voices, and I think it can be a powerful tool for change and overcoming.

Who are your favorite artists and influences?

Naj: Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, D’Angelo. Also a lot of independent electronic producers, like Kaytranada, Jack Garratt, Marian Hill, and Matoma. One of the most influential artists in terms of singing for me is Tori Kelly. Her runs are so tasteful and never over done. She inspires me to improve my singing every time I listen to one of her tracks.

Gordon: So many. In terms of my fiddle playing, I’m trying to blend styles and do things I’ve never heard anyone do on this instrument before. But I grew up playing Scottish and celtic music when my dad was on tour with Alasdair Fraser. For beats, I listen to a lot of deep house and glitch hop - Zhu, Dirtybird, Quanta, Kalya Scintilla. In terms of songwriting, James Blake, Alt-J, Moses Sumney, Ed Sheeran, John Legend. Music where every note and breath is intentional. If there was one act we aspire to play like, it would be Disclosure. They have an infrastructure that allows them to create spontaneously and fluidly in front of a live audience with the precision and quality of a studio recording. We want to use soulful samples, stuff that makes people want to dance.

Naj & Gordon will be playing Picnic Day, at 1:15 PM at the Silo Stage. Check out their newest video:

Read more about the band here and follow them on Facebook and Soundcloud!