Dethklok Co-Creator Talks Audience And More
Band Photo: Dethklok (?)
Christopher Porter, entertainment editor of the Washington Post Express, recently conducted an interview with "Metalocalypse"/DETHKLOK co-creator Brendon Small. An excerpt from the chat follows:
Washington Post Express: How do you write a show that has super-specific in-jokes for the metalhead community — and the black- and death-metal fans in particular — while still appealing to the general viewer who doesn't know the Finntroll supermarket refers to a Finnish folk-metal group?
Small: We don't think of the bigger audience or anything. We just think me and Tommy; we just think about what we'd like to see in the show. If it's broad, it's because we think it makes sense with the story or the characters. If it's super specific, it's because we think it makes sense. We don't try to anticipate what an audience will think; we just do what we think will be cool.
Washington Post Express: Even when you pitched the show to Adult Swim, you didn't worry about making sure you appealed to non-metal fans?
Small: To their credit, they know a little bit about [metal]. Most people know a little about the idea of Norwegian metal — they don't know much more. They didn't know bands, they don't really listen to them. With Adult Swim, yeah, we had to educate a few people; a few people knew some stuff. But at the end of the day, they pretty much leave us alone. They don't ask us to throw in more or less BURZUM references. They just want to make sure the show works. And we're happy being creative, then they let us do our thing.
Washington Post Express: How did you come up with "Metalocalypse" — it's quite a change from your previous animated series, "Home Movies"?
Small: The laws of "Home Movies" functioned very differently from this show. That's one of the reasons this show exists: "Home Movies" was a very low-key, dry, dialogue-driven, spacious kinda comedy — like, manners-based humor. I wanted this to be the polar opposite. Plus, I really like metal. I really like playing guitar — and now I have an excuse to play guitar and be very happy. [Tommy Blacha] and I, we'd wind up at some crappy comedy parties and we'd just sit and talk about metal for a long time and not talk to anybody else. And he would be the only one who would go see metal shows with me. We'd go see CANNIBAL CORPSE and NILE and BEHEMOTH, stuff like that. Meanwhile, we were sitting around pitching some other shows. I think I had some crappy deal at SciFi network that was being elongated forever. And we were just commiserating. Then at one point I talked to my buddy from [the Adult Swim show] "The Venture Brothers", Jackson Publick, and I was telling him about this sketch that me and Tommy did. We did a live show at one point where we compared CANNIBAL CORPSE and "Glengarry Glen Ross". And I can't believe I had to be told this, but my buddy Jack said, "We aren't you doing that as a show?" And I was, like, "I can't believe I didn't figure that out." So, it wasn't going to be CANNIBAL CORPSE meets "Glengarry Glen Ross" with a guy looking for leads. But there was a show there. I also wrote all the music for "Home Movies". After "Home Movies", [Adult Swim/Cartoon Network] requested, "Come back when you have another idea. And if you have one that's a musical idea, even better."
Behind the scenes of DETHKLOK:
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