PLUS we chat to the band about this new chapter and what the future is already looking like...
We are absolutely delighted to present the brand new video for 'The End Is Her', the latest single from Blood Command.
The second taste of the band's new chapter with ex-Pagan vocalist Nikki Brumen on vocals, musically it's another slab of fist-pumping, hard-hitting, spirit-rousing death pop brilliance. And the video perfectly reflects what the band is all about, losing themselves in their own creation. It is also being released around the same time as the band preparing to play their first shows together in this new line-up, and you know just how special they will be.
Nikki had this to say about them:
"Finally, being in Norway has exceeded any expectations that I ever had. I knew it would be a life-changing and surreal experience but I never imagined my time here would be this incredible. The moment that I stepped off the plane (after 26 hours in transit!) I instantly felt at home. When I saw Yngve waiting at the arrival gate, I burst into tears, it was so overwhelming to meet someone after almost two years of working on the band from opposite sides of the globe, and for him to be even cooler than I could have imagined. I have been blown away and so grateful by how welcoming everyone has been, especially my bandmates, who are all the nicest and most funny people.
"We have been working our asses off to make sure our first show is going to blow people’s minds! Being on stage is where we all belong and I have so much love for Blood Command’s music, that I will put everything I have into our live shows. Having waited this long to play live together, and having been separated for so long, has given us all even more drive to make this show the best live Blood Command performance ever!"
Check the video out right here:
We also took this opportunity to chat properly to Nikki and BC mastermind and guitarist Yngve Andersen about how this creative relationship started...
It feels like the stars really aligned for everything that has happened for us to get here actually to happen. How does it feel?
Nikki: "It feels absolutely amazing. And you’re right when you say that the stars aligned. Being able to front Blood Command is a dream come true. I know that sounds like a cliché, but it really is. When Yngve reached out to me, we were both at really low points in our lives for different reasons. Plus, we were going through a global pandemic. He reached out early in 2020, and that was for me still me at the end of another band, what with me not being with Pagan anymore. So this new chapter all of a sudden opened, and it gave me something every day in lockdown to look forward to and to think about and focus on. Blood Command is more than a band at this point. I’ve said it once, and I’ll repeat it, Yngve saved my life. It gave me purpose, and it made me happy. I also knew I would be the perfect fit; there was never any other thought in my mind that I wasn’t going to be good enough."
Yngve, what was it like for you at that point? Had you always planned on asking Nikki?
Yngve: "It wasn’t planned in any way. I had just heard Pagan after a friend had shown them to me, and I thought it was so awesome, especially Nikki’s part in it. The moment I heard it, I just wanted her to front Blood Command, but I didn’t think any more of it because she was on the other side of the globe. It felt like it was never going to be a real thing. But then our old vocalist Karina [Ljone] told me she was pregnant and would be stepping away. Of course, it was great news for her, but for me, Blood Command is my kid. So I just messaged Nikki straight away and had all of my fingers crossed."
The thing with Blood Command is that it’s not just about having a good vocal. It’s about having a particular attitude and mindset. Otherwise, it just won’t work…
Nikki: "Oh, I can back that up. Yngve is a perfectionist, so if it isn’t 100%, it won’t fly on the world of Blood Command."
Nikki, you’ve spoken about your relationship with Norway in the past as well. Can you tell us a bit more about that and what the country means to you?
Nikki: "It’s another one of those fairytale things and a weird part of me being asked to join. In 2011 I went to Norway with my twin sister for a month. At the time, I was intrigued by the Norwegian black metal scene, and I wanted to see where the bands came from. It’s a beautiful country with so many forests that have a real grim aspect to things alongside all of the church burnings. So I just wanted to see where these things started out, and one of the places I went was Bergen. As soon as I got there I said to my sister, ‘I will move here one day. I want to live here’. It’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, and I felt at home there.
"Then fast-forward ten years, and I’m asked to join a Norweigian band. It’s so perfect, you know? When I would tell my close friends, they all laughed just because it was so spot on. It’s something that was meant to be. When I was in Pagan, my bassist had also said that I should check out Blood Command. When I heard ‘Cult Drugs’ for the first time, it felt like a poppier version of what we were doing, and I loved it. It’s all very spooky stuff that has connected us."
Within that time between Pagan finishing and Blood Command beginning for you, what were your initial feelings on what you would do next?
Nikki: "I try to explain Pagan breaking up as being in a really good relationship, but you know the other person isn’t happy. So you respect their decision to leave, but you don’t want to break up. I wasn’t ready. We were making strides, and I had started learning how I was as a person. Like not just in terms of music, in terms of who I wanted to be. So when we broke up, it was like having the rug pulled out from under me. I felt like I didn’t have an identity anymore. It was more than losing a band. It was like I had lost myself. It was tough because I did respect the other guy’s decisions, but I really wasn’t ready. I slowly started to come to terms with it, realising that I am more than just this band. I want to continue making music, and I know that I will do good things. It was the moment I realised I didn’t need to wallow in my misery and that I was in control of my future. I can do whatever I want."
For you, Yngve, you must be in the same position where you can’t think about what has already happened too much. You have to look towards the future…
Yngve: "Yeah, the road up until now has been okay. But this is where it really starts."
So how did you go about actually putting music together?
Yngve: "The album that we have been working on was already recorded and finished before Nikki joined. So we have just switched out the vocals, but there have been some minor changes in some places to make them even better. We didn’t have to start from scratch, which has made the whole situation much nicer than it could have been."
Nikki: "I was lucky in the sense that Karina had already recorded those vocals so that I could hear what everything was meant to sound like. At first, they intimidated me because Karina had a high and brilliant voice. But then I thought, ‘You can sit here and be scared, or you can work hard and do your best and bring your attitude’. So that’s what I did. I wanted it to sound like Blood Command, of course, and me and Yngve worked so closely to make that happen, but then it still has that punk side to it that I can bring. It’s something that I always want to bring to whatever I do, and it’s what Yngve wanted as well. So I’m glad that I can just be me even though these are someone else’s songs. It’s such an honour."
What does this upcoming album mean to you, then?
Yngve: "I think this is our most emotional album so far, with the most emotional lyrics. It also features some of our heaviest songs and some of our poppiest songs ever. It’s more of everything that Blood Command is. We’ve always been an emotional band, but I don’t think we have ever been this honest and straightforward."
Nikki: "When I record, I need to know what a song is about and what I should feel while singing it. So when I was recording these tracks, I would think about my arsehole ex-boyfriend, and it really put me in the right mindset. That’s where I could pull the emotion from, and I think it works. Yngve is the most fantastic lyricist and songwriter, and I wanted to do what he had written justice. So drawing from my pain allowed them to be the sort of songs that anybody will relate to."
Blood Command has always been about living and living to the fullest through the good and bad. And for you two from different countries, cultures and backgrounds to find that middle ground and be able to create together in such a way shows just how powerful the Blood Command message is…
Yngve: "And that feels fucking fantastic, to be honest. Back in 2019, it was still fun to play in Blood Command, but everything else wasn’t working out so good. But now, it feels like the perfect version of the band, and I feel like the world will be ours now."
Nikki: "The past 18 months have made me realise what I want in life. And we are going to get it."