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Metal/Prog Metal Interviews

Dethklok

Interviewed by Kat Heitzman
Interview with Brendon Small of Dethklok from 2012
MSJ:

You’re a man of many hats, do you have a favorite one you like to wear?

I don’t think so, I think the thing is that I like to work very quickly. I really like playing music, and I really like playing comedy, and I love acting a lot. Any one thing can get monotonous, so it is really nice having any of those things to switch off to.

MSJ:

What’s the longest tour you’ve ever done with Dethklok?

We usually don’t tour too often. We are usually making a new season. That just takes so much time - sometimes over a year or year and a half to make a season. Last one we did was with Mastodon and High on Fire. I’m not so much of an indoor guy, I’m more of a studio musician I guess. It takes a lot to get me out of my house. But, this one will be much longer.

MSJ: OK, how long is this tour going to be? (Editors note: Due to legal problems with Lamb of God, the tour has been cancelled)

I’m told it’s ten weeks. That’s long for me… I’m the kind of guy who likes to watch Netflix at home and hang out with his dogs. I’m a homebody.

MSJ: When you’re on tour, do you party hard and stay up late with your friends?

Not really. I think I may have when I first started doing it, then you think, “ohhh, it’s really hard and I am 37 years old.” I started touring when I was like 32 or 33 and I think I had one really fun, crazy tour. Then the next one was with Mastodon, and I was in production when I was in that tour, so I felt that one was a little more work heavy. It wasn’t as much of a party for me. It was more like I had a lot of work to do. And this one, I don’t want to party too much, either. I just want to exercise and work on writing while I am on the road.

MSJ: How does it feel to be the only cartoon band to win an award?

Is that true? Haven’t the Gorillaz won a Grammy or something? We won the Golden God award the first year. But, either way, any time someone hands me an award, I will take it. 

MSJ: Who would be your dream musician to start a band with?

Well, I don’t know. It’s pretty funny, because I do a lot of the music myself on the TV show. But when I make the records, I use Gene Hoglan, who I think is one of the best drummers alive. So, I try to beat that. Maybe Bryan Bellar, he plays bass in a band called “Aristocrats,” and has played with Steve Vai. I feel like I am really spoiled rotten with the band I have. But, if I could, I would love to play with any of my guitar heroes. Like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani. I love Brian May from Queen. I love stuff that’s not metal too; I love Jeff Lynne from ELO. I love all that stuff.

MSJ: Do you guys have a practice routine before you go on tour, and if so, what kind of regimen?

You know what it is, you’ll go on the road and have a beer or two. Then every menu has beer and booze and then you kind of have this back seat driver that says, “You will take all those bad habits home with you. So, we’d try to go find a gym and try to stay healthy.” So, like I said, I want to keep writing script ideas while I am on the road. Take all that time seriously as writing time.

MSJ: Have you ever lost your voice while on tour?

No, I think mostly what I am doing is that I am not using my voice really. It’s like extreme whispering techniques, that a lot of death metal singers use too. But, if I had to sing notes every night, I would defiantly lose my voice. But, since I am doing these guttural death metal vocals, it’s easier to preserve your voice, believe it or not.

MSJ: How many instruments do you play?

I went to music school, and when you go to music school, one of your principal instruments you play is piano. I’m a guitarist first, but I also play piano, but I’m not great, but I can record with it. And I have used keyboards on certain episodes, and I have played sitar. And I have made really scary sounds with violin for episodes, but not really played notes.

MSJ: Do you have any background videos or special artwork for the tour?

We will. We are working on that stuff right now. In fact, we are shooting a documentary for the recording of Dethalbum III. I don’t know if it will be tour stuff, but you will see some real cool stuff from how we make a record. We’re right in the middle of doing that now. We got some real cool footage yesterday and we got some real cool footage today. We will just have to keep shooting stuff and then we will put it all together. I think that may be in a special edition when the record comes out.

MSJ: In “Metalocalypse” the fans have always been executed during a live show. Are there any special treats in store for the audience this time around?

Ha, ha ha. One thing we wanted to do is… we have a lot of videos. We will play a lot of old songs like we did before, but we also want to play a lot of new songs. So we wanted to animate some new animation. Also, all the comedy sketches, we want to throw away, and we wanted to have some new stuff based on some of the bizarre shows we had before. We want to show new animation and new music. It’s all about the fans. They are what keeps us going.

MSJ:

Do you think most of your fans that attend live shows are death metal fans, or do you think that most of them are Adult Swim fans that are just curious?

I think it’s both.

MSJ: Do any of the band members have the same quirks as any of the cartoon members that portray them?

I certainly hope not. I think the biggest difference is that the TV show is about a bunch of narcissists who just think about themselves. The truth is that the people who are playing live are very nice respectful, cool people, who are incredibly intelligent, and great musicians.

MSJ: Why doesn’t Murderface just kill himself?

(laughter) That’s a good question… that may be my favorite question that anyone has asked me. He’s not really depressed. He wants people to think he is filled with hate. The truth is that he would just like to be the center of attention.

MSJ: Is Galaktikon going to be worked in to “Metalocalypse” somehow, or have its own animated series?

It could one day. Dethklok is a partnership between me and the network. So there is a lot of legal red tape. So that’s why I did that. It was going to take a long time to finish the next Dethklok record, I can just finish this thing, on my own timeline, and I can involve the same musicians from Dethklok - Brian Beller, Gene Hoglan and the engineer/producer, Ulrich Wild. And just make a different forming thing. It’s a story. I just thought I would set this record out there and see what happens. And if it ends up going crazy, then I will do more stuff. It was fun and I really liked it.

MSJ: Will Galaktikon ever do a tour with Dethklok?

Maybe some day. It is all the same people, but really what I am going to do for the rest of this year is just introduce Galaktikon to Dethklok fans and see what they think. Who knows, some day we may do an encore with some of that music because all the same players are right there on stage.

MSJ: Will Dethklok ever play any songs live from “Home Movies?”

(laughter) Maybe some day. I’ll never say no to any of those crossover ideas. The fun part about making a show like “Home Movies” or “Metalocalypse,” is that it is really fun to say that nothing is repeated. I would like to do something totally new and make it completely different. The shows are kind of similar, both shows are about creativity.

MSJ:

What was the last CD that you purchased?

I like all kinds of stuff. I just purchased Thriller’s CD - a band from the soundtrack of the movie “Let Me In.” It’s kind of new wave stuff from the early 80s. Everyone that is an icon from the metal world listens to different stuff.

MSJ: What is the last live show you attended for your own pleasure?

I got to see Van Halen do a friends and family show for about 300 people at the forum. That for me was pretty big. I got to see David Lee Roth play with Van Halen again. They really sounded great.

MSJ: Do you have any Spinal Tap moments that you wish to share?

I have less of them as I get more acclimated to live performances. But, the very first tour we did, we heard of it as the pretend tour. We were just playing these little colleges as Dethklok. We were just figuring out how the animated world was going to work. There were times I would just drop my guitar off stage because the straps weren’t put on right. And there were times I would hit the wrong pedal during my solos. I definitely have made tons of mistakes, especially in those early days. I am a definitely a better live player now, but I have had some messed up moments up there.

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
You'll find an audio interview of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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