Belfast's New Pagans make music that is vivid and engaged, blending big riffs and immense dynamics with lyrics ready to start conversations and challenge given ideas.
The band’s name is a reference to the Latin paganus, originally meaning villager or outsider, reflecting their mission to stay removed from the city rules and the orthodox. Singer Lyndsey was raised in a climate of religious observance, so her encounters with popular music were furtive and occasional. “It really only started when I was 18”, she explains. “I’d heard of Fleetwood Mac, but I’d not ‘heard’ them. As a result, I have a unique way of hearing things”.
One of the band’s first releases – in September 2016 – was ‘Lily Yeats’, a tribute to the sister of poet William Butler Yeats and the artist Jack Butler Yeats, influenced by Lyndsey’s study of Women’s History in Ireland. Their subsequent releases have explored similarly significant ground, with 2017’s ‘Worker’s Song’ referencing the Donegal Industrial Fund and informed by new austerity, and 2018’s ‘Bloody Soil’ providing another mutinous note from the downtrodden.
Their first release for 2019, ‘It’s Darker’, was an exceptional, loud reckoning referring to a messy party incident in which a musician became aggressive and wouldn’t tolerate Lyndsey’s opinions. “That’s where the original anger comes from – a confrontation. It’s happened to me a few times. It’s like, ‘oh you’re a girl, you should just shut up’. A feminist anger came from that. Yes, I should be able to have an opinion. And it can be different to yours.”
The track garnered support from the likes of Daniel P Carter and Phil Taggart at Radio 1 and John Kennedy at Radio X, as well as BBC Introducing, and was shortlisted for Best Single at the 2019 Northern Ireland Music Prize.
It features on the bands latest offering, Glacial Erratic EP, alongside the singles 'Charlie Has The Face Of A Saint' and 'Admire' which garnered further support at radio. New Pagans supported the release with their first headline tour of the UK.