Blood Command’s Nikki Brumen opens up on the realities of moving from Australia to Norway to join the band, and the best bits of creating ‘PRAISE ARMAGEDDONISM’ with her new-ish bandmates, as well as some personal reflections on how they have changed and progressed as a person through music.
Fancy moving to a different country to join a band you’ve written an album with, but never met before? Sounds pretty intense, right? That is exactly what Brumen (formerly of Pagan), did recently. As of a few weeks ago, Brumen is a resident of Bergen, Norway having moved from Melbourne, Australia. Nikki says that while it wasn’t a culture shock, because she had been to Norway before for a few months, it has taken some adjustments: “It’s so far from Australia, but I am so lucky I have so many amazing people supporting me. I have no regrets in the world about my decision.
“There are very few people that would join a band without ever having met their band mates, record an album and then meet, one and a half years after joining the band. The first time I met them was when I went to Bergen for four months, and we had a 36-date tour booked at the time!”
“Being in this band is for nobody but myself”
Despite having built up quite the reputation as a vocalist and having an incredible range, Brumen grew up with “imposter syndrome” around her voice: “My parents always made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. Rest in peace, as they both died recently, but they always made me feel like I wasn’t capable of doing something like singing. I’d learned to scream a few years before Pagan in a riot grrl band, and I learned to use my voice before Pagan, but I always thought I was a terrible singer, because my mum told me that I couldn’t sing!”
Yngve [Andersen, Blood Command guitarist and producer] sent Nikki the songs for the new record [‘Praise Armageddonism’], and the tour, and initially she was worried about the amount of “clean singing”. Fortunately, a conversation with her twin sister, who reminded her about her ability to sing, and her time in school musicals and choirs, reminded her that she could indeed sing! “I had convinced myself. My brain had forgotten that I was a good singer when I was younger. After getting over that fear, I kicked into action, went to loads of vocal lessons and worked really hard.”
The new album was already mixed and mastered with former vocalist [Karina Ljone] having completed her takes, but that ended up being beneficial to Brumen when coming in to the fold: “They were so sick of this record when they met me! By the time I got it, I had Karina’s vocals on the record. So that I could learn it, which was an advantage. It was a weird thing, as I’ve never sung someone else’s lyrics. It was a unique experience as I had to make it my own in the studio. I come from an acting background, so I have to sing everything with meaning and passion. Quite regularly I would write to Yngve about the song’s meaning, so that I could put my own experiences to the track. I was going through a lot of hardship at the time, so I was able to put a lot of emotion into the lyrics. Moving forward, Yngve and I are writing all the lyrics together.”
Nikki goes on to talk about what being in the band means to her now, reflecting that she is doing this entirely for herself: “I am happy doing what I do, and truly that is the only reason why I am doing this. I am not here to succeed in terms of the number of streams we get, or the number of people that come to our shows, of course that’s a bonus. Being this band is not for anybody but myself, not in a selfish way, I do hope people get something out of it. I don’t do this to please anybody.”
For more information visit: https://bloodcommand.bandcamp.com/
Watch/listen to the chat where Nikki talks about how she has changed and developed over the years below: