Despite the government promising a £1.57 billion rescue package to save the arts industries in the United Kingdom, venues are still closing down, promoters are out of work and musicians were being told to retrain. “I took that government career survey the other day for a laugh after Rishi Sunak dropped the ‘retrain’ clanger last year. it suggested ‘Actor’. I nearly spat my coffee out” says ‘Claire Miskimmin’, bass player for Belfast band, New Pagans, who recently released their stunning debut record, ‘The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All’. The irony is, most creative people that take the survey will no doubt be told to retrain for another creative position due to the fact their skills have been developed for the creative industry.

It’s tough to be a mother and hold a career down in any industry
- Claire Miskimmin

Whilst bankers and politicians will no doubt continue to receive their bonuses and pay-rises, musicians seem to be receiving zero support whilst their tours are cancelled and album releases are put on hold. New Pagans, however, decided to push through the pandemic barriers to finish their new record and deliver it to the world.
“This is such a bizarre time we are living through, it's hard to see the world as anything but chaotic and genuinely scary right now,” says Claire. “We have to just believe that this will get better at some point. Creating music is an amazing outlet to pour your anger and emotions into and we’ve all got plenty of those at the minute, it's therapeutic.” Music is such a powerful outlet for so many people. Not only do musicians that suffer from mental health use this outlet to fight off depression and other issues, but fans also rely on this experience to escape the day-to-day grind of having to deal with a totally incompetent government, as well as everything else currently going on around the globe. People are losing their jobs and some are obviously suffering more than others. So how are you supposed to hold down a career in the music industry when the industry is dead and you have zero support from your government?

New Pagans are a highly politically charged band and they have a lot to say about the current state of the music industry. “I’d like to see artists paid fairly for their work,” Claire explains. “ Plain and simple it’s an absolute scandal. We were shafted before this pandemic and with zero help for the arts we are still being shafted.” Not only do New Pagans have to deal with the fallout of being musicians during a pandemic, they also face more unique challenges when it comes to the music industry. “It’s tough to be a mother and hold a career down in any industry I'm sure, but I feel like it’s just not talked about in music.” A study into the American entertainment industry, led by Dr. Stacy L. Smith in 2019, analysed the 700 top songs on Billboard’s year-end Hot 100 chart between 2012 and 2018 and the results are not surprising. Across the three creative roles highlighted in the study, women make up 21.7 percent of artists, 12.3 percent of songwriters and 2.1 percent of producers. Claire says, “As if being a mother is somehow the antithesis of ‘Rock n Roll’ or completely at odds with this world.” Despite movements such as METOO, it seems we still have a long way to go before we truly see equality throughout all industries, especially across the arts where music is concerned.

Their new album, 'The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All' is an incredible mixture of RiotGirl, Punk, and very reminiscent of Sonic Youth. Throw in some Fleetwood Mac melodies with an angry Robert Smith on the mic and you're close to the sound New Pagans deliver on this album. It's without a doubt, one of the most passionate records you're going to hear this year.

"This song calls out the people who blame others for their mistakes and don’t take responsibility for their own actions," say New Pagans, when discussing the closing track on the album, ‘Christian Boys’. "Lyndsey knows that some of the lyrics in the song could be considered controversial, but she has grown up around Christian men and believes that this conversation needs to happen, it shouldn’t be off-limits." This punk attitude is what fuel's the political fire for the dynamic sound of this record. However, it's a shame that this is considered controversial, it's 2021, not the stone-age. We really should be questioning if traditional religion even has a place in modern society anymore, and maybe The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All, is a step towards modern progression.

New Pagans debut album ‘The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All’ is out now.

Author Bio: AC Speed

Senior Editor

I started my career as a music journalist in 2013 and have been involved in the music industry as a touring musician, studio engineer and artist consultant since 2002, as well as previously being a signed artist. My passion for delivering high quality, informative music-related news is a daily driving force behind the content I create. Also a huge gaming nerd! Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Sweden. Skål!


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