Brendon Small Discusses The Upcoming Dethklok Invasion
Band Photo: Dethklok (?)
It may have all started with a simple idea, poking fun at the extremes in heavy metal music, but Dethklok has long since broken out of that simplicity and become a world-wide phenomena. The comedic antics of Nathan Explosion, Skwisgaar Skwigelf, Toki Wartooth, Pickles, and William Murderface have already been explored in The Dethalbum, Metalocalypse Season 1, and Metalocalypse Season 2. That’s not going to save the unsuspecting masses from accidental death at the hands of the world’s seventh largest economy, however, as a new blitzkrieg of Dethklok is about to be unleashed.
Besides the upcoming “The Dethalbum II,” the bumbling musicians are coming back for more metal mayhem in a third season of Metalocalypse on Adult Swim. Dethklok will also be making the transition into interactive territory soon with its own video game. In addition to the Dethklok game, the track “Murmaider” will be appearing in the upcoming heavy metal themed video game “Brutal Legend.” To round out the deluge of new material Dethklok will again jump off the screen and onto the page with a new comic book series from Dark Horse.
Metalocalypse creator and Dethklok front man Brendon Small filled Metalunderground in on all the upcoming activity. Before getting to the latest material, Brendon spoke about how the show originally started.
Brendon: I was fresh out of music school and just started doing stand up around Boston. I did a show called Home Movies and it got canceled. I moved to L.A. and was just trying to figure out what the next thing was. All I was doing was going and seeing metal shows. Something happens in music school where you kind of get a little brain washed. You kind of forget what you went there for. I was just spending years reacquainting myself with what I liked about music in the first place. I met a buddy, Tommy Blacha (the voice of William Murderface, Toki Wartooth, and other characters), and he was the only one in the comedy world who would go to metal shows with me. I was looking for some kind of outlet for the music as I was interested in and it all kind of made sense for Metalcolypse. I called the head of the network and said I had an idea for a show. I didn’t have too much at the time, I just knew it would be about an extreme metal band and it would be called Dethklok. Luckily I had a relationship with Adult Swim already so they trusted me a little about before I got into the show. I guess me and Tommy thought that somebody was going to do this show and they were go to screw it up for us, so we wanted to get there first.
Despite the huge success of Dethklok, Brendon remains an unassuming figure who doesn’t seem to realize how big his creation has become. He seemed surprised when asked if he ever thought his “fake” band would reach the heights that it has.
Brendon: Honestly I just go to work every day and kind of keep my head down. I don’t really know if it’s gotten big. I know the network keeps it on the air and they keep ordering new seasons, so that’s enough for me at this point. It feels like it has the potential to become something big. The whole thing about the show that makes me happy is that I have an excuse to play the guitar again.
The creative team behind Dethklok has been working with Konami to develop the upcoming “Metalocalypse: Dethgame.” The game will be available in downloadable format for both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles. Brendon discussed how he wanted the game to work within the overall world of Dethklok and who the main character is.
Brendon: To be honest until three years ago or so I didn’t even have an Xbox. I figured at some point something like this should happen, even if it wasn’t going to, so I had to do some research and buy all the games. There’s those games based on Harry Potter or whatever and nobody ever talks about them or plays them, and they don’t sell that well, but there’s millions of dollars put into them. I just wanted to make sure that the game made sense in the world of Dethklok and that it’s fun to play. I had a story in mind that I thought was important. Even super fans who really like the show and know every line don’t realize that Dethklok isn’t about murdering cannibals. It’s about celebrities who can’t do shit for themselves. They just happen to be in an extreme metal band. They don’t know what day it is or how to open a door for themselves. If there is murder or killing its incidental. The people who are the real badasses are the Klokateers, the roadies. The klokateer character is kind of like a half-roadie, half S.W.A.T. team guy. It’s kind of a brawler of a game. The Klokateers are almost like their own army. You’ll be able to move around in various parts of the Dethklok world like where Dethklok lives. We saw the alpha tests and we were very happy to see the direction. We’ll see how it goes and go from there. It’s going to look fine and have all the music. We’re excited for it. It will have tracks from the first album and tracks from the second album. It is a brawler but there will also be a rhythm based element. A little bit of a Guitar Hero-ish sort of thing. There will be some interaction with the music at the end of levels for the boss and that sort of stuff. They’re telling me fall for a release. My only concern for all this stuff is to get it to be the best possible version of what it can be.
Dethklok has already graced the pages of a comic book once before with “Dethklok vs the Goon,” but soon they will be getting an entire series from Dark Horse. While the TV series gives a direct view to the band members and the game gives a view of their klokateers, the comic book will expand in new directions and shed light on lesser seen aspects of the Metalocalypse universe.
Brendon: I wanted to have Dethklok be Dethklok, that’s the TV show. The video game focuses on helping Dethklok as one of their roadies. The comic book series from Dark Horse is going to be able to tell the peripheral stories that you don’t get to tell in Dethklok and flesh out the world a little bit. Where did this character come from? What happened at the end of that episode? Does that go on while Dethklok goes back to their life? There’s a whole bunch of stuff where we don’t get a chance to do everything we want to in the world of Dethklok. The network wants the show to be funny. The record gets to be about whatever it wants to be, the guitars and double-kicks and all that stuff. The video game will be totally violent, totally fucked up and brutal. The comic book can be this thing that fleshes out the world in a really cool way. It is a series but I’m not sure how many there are going to be at this point.
There will be some changes in the upcoming third season of Metalocalypse, including a change in episode length. Brendon elaborated on how the show is made and the challenges of making a longer show.
Brendon: We have a lot of work ahead of us with the new season. We’re moving to a half-hour. Bringing the show to a half-hour is its own kind of battle by itself. You want to make the story strong, the show interesting, then you go to commercial and when you come back you want everyone else to come back with you. It was crazy to have to write a record and do the show at the same time. The TV show is a big undertaking, it has a huge staff of people. They have to make sure that the animating and the models are right. The editor has to understand the story and everything. The music I just kind of get to do by myself. I bring in a drummer but that’s it. It’s something that I can control by myself, sitting in a room by myself writing music. The show is definitely something that can fly off the tracks in the matter of a week. It can get out from under you and turn into the shittiest thing ever. My job is to avoid that and try to make it better than it was before.
Dethklok’s new album “The Dethalbum II” will be released on September 29th in both a standard and deluxe version. The cover artwork for the album can be viewed here. Brendon spoke about the number of robot themed songs on the album and how the songs are created.
Brendon: That’s incidental. Well “The Gears” is about the roadies. “The Cyborg Slayers” is about murdering cyborgs. There are a few people who have tampered with the idea of sci-fi metal and there is a little bit about there here. I’m writing the music from episode to episode. I’m taking these 30 seconds songs and taking them to a full-length version and taking them to a different place while still keeping the integrity of the original song. I’m making it a bigger, better, more polished version of it. I can make the song have its own life.
To get some more insight into how the new album sounds in comparison to the first one I asked Brendon if “The Dethalbum II” was only “really incredibly brutal” or more “baptized in the blood of infants” brutal.
Brendon: That’s up for the audience to decide. This album has a lot more melodic moments than the first album. I like the way “baptized in the blood infants” sounds better, let’s go with that one.
In support of the new album Dethklok will be touring alongside Mastodon on a 34 city tour across the U.S. in October and November. A listing of the tour dates can be found at this location.
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