Horror fans may recognize Brendon Small's name from the
brutal, yet hilarious, Adult Swim series METALOCALYPSE. As the mastermind
behind the top-rated Adult Swim show and the best-selling death metal album of
all-time, THE DETHALBUM, Small's talent knows no limits. A true fan of metal
and the macabre, Fango caught up with Brendon to pick his brain on the subjects
of the music, horror, and who he would cast as Dethklok manager, Charles
Offdensen, in a live-action Dethklok movie.
FANGORIA: You have a new album coming out entitled BRENDON
SMALL’S GALAKTIKON. Was this album something you had been itching to do for
awhile now, or did this recently come together in-between projects?
BRENDON SMALL: This is a project that I did because I didn't
know if DETHALBUM II was going to come out, and I wanted to keep Gene Hoglan
and Ulrich Wild working. So, I gathered some music that I'd been messing around
with in Pro Tools that I felt was a bit too “rock” and melodic for Dethklok and
decided I was going to use the melodic singing style from the song
"Hatredcopter,” and see what happens. What I ended up with was something
FANG: Even with your signature guitar tones and rhythm on display, GALAKTIKON sounds like its own animal; but your melodic approach to the
vocals are a nice surprise.
SMALL: I knew that I really liked melody in the vocal. Some
of my favorite metal has incredibly melodic vocals, from Metallica to Maiden to
Dio. But the big idea was for me to keep an open door policy to ALL of my
influences. I drew from Queen, ELO, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters, there are Weezer
moments, classic rock stuff, Metallica moments, and black metal moments;
everything was fair game as far as I was concerned. So I needed to do this to
put some melody that I couldn't in Dethklok.
FANG: Again, you collaborated with producer Ulrich Wild.
What's the biggest contribution Ulrich brings to your music and to you as a
musician, in general?
SMALL: Ulrich is great. He understands mixing in a way that
I simply don't. Also, I give him a lot of layers to deal with. I harmonize a
lot of guitars and vocals, and his job is to make sure they're all coming
through in a mix which he does masterfully. I just don't have the mixing chops
he does. He's a super talented and relaxed dude; I love working with people
FANG: GALAKTIKON will be released right around the time when
the fourth season of METALOCALYPSE premieres. You've found away to
combine the perfect mixture of music, humor, violence and animation. That's no
easy task. How you have gone about writing for a project such as METALOCALYPSE?
Meaning, do you come up with the music first, then write an episode around the
lyric content, or is it vice-versa?
SMALL: It's always story and character first, and then I
scramble very quickly to put rough music together. By the time I come back to
it to clean it up, a couple months have passed by and I get this new
objectivity about the song, which is helpful.Only in the first season did I
have a couple songs ready before the episodes. I work better (musically) with
deadlines. . .
FANG: You've had the fortune of having some incredible
musicians lend their voices to the show. As a true metal fan, how do you keep
yourself from “geeking-out” in front of guys like James Hetfield?
SMALL: It was hard to not dork out. He's the big, tall
intimidating super front man from Metallica, but he was incredibly down to
earth and just wanted to be a good actor, so it was easy to relax and
concentrate on the work. But yes, I'm glad I didn't blow it by dorking-out.
FANG: Being that you've been successful in both heavy metal
music and cartoons, what was the last metal album that blew your mind? Are
you a big fan of animation, in general?
SMALL: I really dig the new Meshuggah, Cannibal Corpse... I
can't wait for the new Gojira, love the new Mastodon. Oh, and I really dig the
new High on Fire!
FANG: Horror fans will no doubt continue to appreciate the
violent, but hilarious, antics Dethklok attracts. As a writer, where do you
pull the over-the-top violent humor from?
SMALL: When I pitched the show, I remember trying to coin a
phrase "Extreme Slapstick" wherein it can be as violent as it can
possibly be, as long as it's funny in nature—though we do reserve the right to
be dramatically brutal. I remember talking about Monty Python and the Black
Knight getting his arms and legs hacked off. I always loved that scene and
wanted to try to do something like that. Ultimately, if we do our jobs right,
it should get laughs.
FANG: Besides being in the creative seat with your music and
series, you've also started directing some music videos. Who are some current
bands you'd like to provide visuals for in a video?
SMALL: Oh yeah, that was fun! I'd love to direct a video for
any of the above mentioned bands. The tricky part is that music video budgets
have gone way down and it's hard to do something with no money.
FANG: Do you have the itch for directing live-action? Will
we see you crossing over to do feature-films anytime soon? For example, is
there a GALAKTIKON script currently being typed up?
SMALL: Yes. I love live action. I really dig acting too and
have been studying it more intensely the past few years. I'm now developing a
live action show for myself to produce, write, and act in.
FANG: You get to cast the roles of Dethklok,
Dr. Rockzo, and Charles Offdensen in a
live-action Metalocalypse movie. Go!
SMALL: I don't know, I think the only thing that makes this
show/band interesting is the fact that they don't exist. But I'll play your
game; Charles Offdensen will be young Kyle Mclaughlin. How's that?
FANG: What were the last horror films that left an
impression on you?
SMALL: I just got BASKET CASE and FRANKENHOOKER on Blu-ray.
FANG: Lastly, you're stuck with one metal album and one
horror film for the rest of your life. What are they?
SMALL: I love POLTERGEIST. I love MASTER OF PUPPETS, but I'll
go with BIRDEMIC and Chumbawumba just to be unique.
New episodes of Metalocalypse can be seen Sundays, on Adult
Swim. To preview and purchase Brendon Small's Galaktikon, visit his official site.
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