PAGAN’s first ever headline tour in support of their upcoming debut album Black Wash. The Black Wash Tour will see PAGAN carry their cross and lead a procession of electrifying live shows across Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart and Sydney over three weekends this August with local supports to be announced. They will be playing from their hotly-anticipated debut album Black Wash (out July 6 on EVP Recordings), which features the blistering lead single Death Before Disco and favourites Imitate Me and Wine and Lace. Nikki Brumen from the band drops by to answer a few questions for Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles.
How does it feel now that your new album is finally out there?
Have you ever had a secret that you wanted to tell so bad that you thought you might burst? The album went live on Spotify as the clock struck midnight on July 6. I was drinking at a bar and surrounded by a bunch of friends. I checked my phone at 12:01am and saw that it was out and the most resounding sense of calm fell over me. I can’t explain how euphoric the feeling was to see it had finally been given to the world. Plenty of hugs and shots of black Sambuca ensued.
Was it a tough journey getting there and finishing it off?
It was, but more in terms of the shitty admin part of being in a band that no one really talks about. In the span of just a few months we’d added a second label from Europe in the fold, so just trying to coordinate everything with like 6 people in different parts of the world was tricky. Writing and recording the record itself was a challenge, but a really fun and exciting challenge and we had a total blast making these songs come to life.
Were there plenty of high fives when you played the final version back for the first time?
I don’t think any of us have actually listened to it together to be honest. Haha! We had some shows in Brisbane and Byron this weekend though so we definitely celebrated! I think this week we’re going to try and organise a little pasta dinner with Mike Deslandes who recorded Black Wash, but if someone actually puts the album on I’ll be very surprised.
Is it hard to keep a lid on the excitement that is building for your first headline tour?
We really cannot wait to do this tour! It’s quite nerve racking because we still have a lot of logistical stuff to figure out, and like you said, it’s the first headline run so we don’t even know if people are going to actually turn up. Haha! But, we promise that whoever does will not go home disappointed. We’re going to put so much into these shows as a thank you to everyone who decides to give up their time and money to come and party with us and show their support for the art we make.
What can fans expect from these shows?
The best thing about headlining a show is that you can pretty much do whatever you want, so we really want to try and make these shows the most fully realised Pagan experience possible and turn every venue into the Church of the Black Wash for the night. It’s going to be something like an evangelical worship service and a 1970s Milano Discotheque.
For the uninitiated how would you describe Pagan sonically?
Working in an office has made the experience of trying to explain the band to people very traumatic for me, so I don’t do it anymore. Just listen to our song Death Before Disco and that’ll pretty much sum it up for you in about in four minutes.
Who has been the biggest influence on the band?
I think the four of us are each other’s biggest influences because we are all conduits of our own influences as individuals. Also, Mike Deslandes has been a pivotal and incredibly instrumental part in helping us work out what Pagan is supposed to sound like and how to make our ideas come to life. Even though he doesn’t play in the band we consider him a part of it.
How did the band meet?
I knew Matt and Xavier because our old bands would play together a lot. I love their band and playing styles so much and the three of us would go on to really bond over music, skateboarding and food amongst many other cultural things. In another part of my life, I had become very close to Nikki through dating her twin sister and we did a punk band together for a while which made me realise that she was legitimately one of the best front-people I’d ever seen perform, so I brought the two universes together late one night at an espresso bar and made my dream band.
Compared to the first few singles do think the Pagan sound has changed much?
I think the intention was to be a much more “traditionally heavy” band originally, but it wasn’t until we wrote the song Wine and Lace about two years ago that we kind of figured out that we wanted to write more songs that we wanted to start fucking with more pop and dance elements, and in doing so, we could still be this super dark and gloomy rock and roll or metal band in a way that is entirely our own.
Did you re-record any of the singles for the album?
Yes, we re-recorded Wine and Lace and Imitate Me. We also re-recorded a song called Fluorescent Snakes which was the second or third song Pagan ever wrote and was originally on our first demo that we recorded about three years ago, but the song was listed under a different name. Like, seven people have that demo though, so it kind of doesn’t count.
What’s your favourite song off the album to play live?
I really love playing the song Holy Water. I think because it just has this really infectious rhythm and seems to really get the room moving. The intro to that song is pretty tough too!
Beyond the tour what’s next for Pagan?
Basically just lots more shows and festivals throughout the rest of this year and next, which will be rad because it has definitely felt like the band has been more about emails than actual playing lately. We’re ironing out details at the moment, but the record is also out in Europe and the UK, so we’re also hoping to get over to there to play before the year is out because the band seems to be getting a really warm reception over there already which is so lovely! And with all of this and that aside, we’ll continue to meet up regularly for pasta and wine.
Interview by Rob Lyon
Be sure to catch Pagan on their Australian tour at a venue near you…