Melbourne crew taking on bad times with disco-punk-black-metal…
When Melbourne quartet Pagan formed, they didn’t set any rules for themselves. The result? A devastating combination of black metal, disco and, erm, French pop.
“I love Kvelertak,” says Pagan’s likeable vocalist Nikki Brumen. “Our drummer Matt [Marasco] is jazztrained and loves French pop music, and we draw some influence from that, too. There are also elements of black metal, such as the blast beats – I really enjoy heavy music and I love growling. Then there’s the disco element… I don’t know where the hell that came from! When it all comes together, I think it works.”
She’s not wrong. Pagan’s debut album, Black Wash, is an absolute riot. From the blast beats to Nikki’s haunting screams, there’s black metal bits galore. But, as the vocalist hints, the record is an eclectic affair, with elements of extreme music combining with more ear-friendly fare. Black Wash is a bristling 11-track collection of disco-punk, which fans of Turbonegro, Marmozets and Nikki’s idols Kvelertak will no doubt dig. Despite the energetic music, however, Nikki explains that the lyrical inspiration for Black Wash derives from a pretty dark, personal place.
“I wrote the record after going through a break-up, and the album revolves around that,” she says. “I’m a woman who’s not afraid to express her emotions, and I was with someone who was quite emotionless. So Black Wash talks about gender and how women may have a different emotional landscape to men. Throughout our relationship, my partner had been gaslighting me – they were the problem, but they made me feel like I was the problem. That rang true to me, because some of my favourite albums have had similar themes and helped me get through some shit times.”
It’s hard-hitting stuff, and while Nikki may be bruised from her experiences, the thought of her words resonating with others is one she’s moved by.
“I don’t want our fans to feel like they have to conform to something, and I want to be able to help people with our music,” she says. “You should be authentic to who you are, and embrace it. That’s what Pagan is all about.” Pagan’s DEBUT ALBUM, BLACK WASH, is out on July 6 via HASSLE RECORDS
“I DON’T WANT OUR FANS TO FEEL THEY HAVE TO CONFORM” NIKKI BRUMEN