PA­GAN

Mel­bourne crew tak­ing on bad times with disco-punk-black-metal…

Kerrang! (UK) - - Instant Expert -

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

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