Blackened rock & roll upstarts Pagan are bringing their musical cult straight to local listeners. With a self-titled, four-track release now available, the band is turning their attention to the live front. With a spot on this August’s Night of the Living Shred upcoming, Killyourstereo.com chatted with the Melbourne based outfit.
2015 has been the formation year of sorts for Pagan. What’s it been like during the infancy of the band so far?
Pagan has been a work in progress since 2013, [with] our demo recorded mid 2014. But, we only made it available recently. We are all fairly occupied with work, travel, study and extra-curriculum [activities]. We felt that it only made sense to share the demo when we were available to play some shows. And that is finally happening now.
Essentially, while you’re trying to cultivate the music and grow the fan base, you, arguably, have to work twice as hard to ensure the promotional and management items are equally sorted. How has this side of things been so far?
It’s been pretty straightforward for the most part. The only focus for us, from a promo/management standpoint right now, is just to make sure that people know where to find our music if they want to hear it, and to make sure that we’re doing our part to promote the shows we book, or have been lucky enough to be asked to play. That’s our only real concern. As long as we’re pulling our weight in that department, the majority of our focus can be placed on writing good songs, playing gnarly shows and learning how to be a good band. We will probably do some shirts soon though.
What’s the balance like managing band commitments with outside time constraints like work and study?
Yeah, good question. It’s hell.
How important is social media to a band these days? While there are pros and cons, for a band like Pagan, it must make it convenient being able to record music and then put it on bandcamp and subsequently Facebook etc., and disseminate it straight to listeners.
The essence of social media is connecting with people. Bands have never had a better platform to have their music so accessible and shared. This is the digital age and if we didn’t take full advantage of it, we would be out of touch. And it is also incredibly easy to listen to music from a device like a laptop as opposed to hard copies. Take the 1984 classic, ‘Out Of Touch‘, from Hall & Oates for example. Good luck finding the landfill version of that in the next 10 years. Don’t get me wrong, holding a record with artwork and lyrics is great, and perhaps Pagan will entertain the thought of a physical copy of something in the future. But, a digital release is so much more accessible, cheaper and environmentally friendly.
On the topic of the music itself, you recorded your four-track S/T with our good friend Adrian Horsman. Was there much growing pains going into the studio together for the first time – seeing what dynamics worked, what didn’t etc.?
Nah, no growing pains. We just had a really good time! We are all pretty much on the same page in terms of what we want to sound like on record. We’re not really interested in doing perfect, expensive sounding recordings. Adrian just got that we wanted to make something raw and real, and he didn’t try to sway us into polishing things up just because his name was going to be on it or whatever. In the day and a half that we recorded everything, his focus was on capturing the tension and moodiness of the songs we were documenting. As dark and gritty and gnarly as the songs are, I think you can absolutely hear how much fun we had bringing them to life when you listen to it.
Adrian Horsman is a wonderful guy and a great friend to us. He is lovely and hilarious and genuine, and instantly made us feel comfortable in his studio out in the gloomy bush. As you’d know, he has this infectious love and unequivocal enthusiasm for what he does, and it rubs off on you and everything you do when you’re in his studio, and despite the plethora of recording knowledge he already has, he is always keen to learn and experiment, which only makes for cool and unique sounding recordings. Anyone who reads this interview should listen to his band Deadweight because they’re one of the most criminally underrated hardcore bands of recent times.
You guys have Night of the Living Shred scheduled for August. It’s a good local line-up. What can we expect from Pagan on the live front?
By the time we get to play it, we would have played a grand total of five times I think, so we, ourselves still don’t even really know what to expect from our shows. But other than the promise of a noisy, sweaty and wild rock and roll soiree, I don’t think we want anyone to ever know what to expect when they come to see a Pagan ritual.
What’s planned for the rest of 2015?
We should record something before the year is up. And we would really like to make some videos.
Favourite album of 2015 so far?
That’s tough. Our tastes can change quite dramatically. I’d say either Ceremony’s The L-Shaped Man, Twerps’ Range Anxiety or the Badbadnotgood x Ghostface thing. Oh, and Drug Church’s Swell EP, and the new Coliseum record, Anxiety’s Kiss. And Future Islands brought out a new single, that’s on some heavy Spotify rotation. We’ve butchered this question.
Album(s) you’re looking forward to in the second half of 2015?
I know Client Liason are recording at the moment. They are one of the best bands in the world right now. And some of our friends play in a band called Have/Hold, and they have a record coming out which will be terrific too.
Thanks for the interview. Appreciate your time.
Catch Pagan performing at Night of the Living Shred this August: