Brendon Small is the creator of the popular Adult Swim series “Metalocalypse”. Brendon is also the guitarist/vocalist for the live version of the band Dethklok. Media Mikes recently had the chance to talk with Brendon about his upcoming solo album titled “Galaktikon”.
Check out our interview with Brendon Small about Season Four of “Metalocalypse”
Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about your new album?
Brendon Small: To start with people who want to hear the album before its release can go to my website www.brendonsmall.com and sample the entire album. It’s different than I guess what I am known for at this point. I tried to coin a phrase for this album and that is “High stakes intergalactic extreme rock”. That is what this record sounds like to me. This album is a long concept album that I wanted to have different 70’s space elements. I wanted modern metal and rock sound in there also. The sounds really range from bands like Queen and ELO to Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkins. This is something I am doing on my own time outside of Dethklok to be able to explore more melody. No influence was unwelcome during this process. Anything I felt like doing I just went and did it. I didn’t care because I wanted the album to sound like I thought it should.
AL: Can you tell us about the actual concept for “Galaktikon”?
BS: I had finished the guitars and bass for what would be the last song on the record. The track basically only had the rhythm guitars and a temporary bass track. I was improvising some vocals over the top of those and at the time still had no idea what the album was going to be about. While I was singing I thought that the song sounded like and energetic final battle chase sequence. I used some lines about a guy going to save a girl. What I was really doing was thinking about a superhero on his way to save the girl but complaining about it. The end result was what if Superman and Lois Lane had a big, messy public divorce. She left Superman but still ended up getting into trouble all the time resulting in Superman still needing to save her. Even worse than that is what if she started dating Lex Luthor? She is going to have to rebound somehow. It’s an intergalactic divorce story. Each song takes on a part of the story and it progresses throughout the album. The story is kind of obliquely written and I wanted these songs to function almost like pop songs in a way. The songs do have a meaning underneath all of this stuff.
AL: Was the initial writing process different for this album as compared to when you are writing Dethklok material?
BS: These songs are a little bit more odyssey based. The songs take a lot of twists and turns. The first song on the record titled “Trident” has somewhat of a bridge and then it takes all these left and right turns. It is all kind of melodic and makes sense on its own logic. I did however experiment with a couple odyssey composed songs on the second Dethklok album. Generally for the stuff I do with Dethklok I will go into the studio with some drum parts and work with Gene Hoagland. We sort of cut and paste his ideas and my ideas together and then I will lengthen or shorten the guitar parts in order to fit the song. Digital recording really gives you an open session where you can just mess around constantly. It is like a gigantic sketch book that you are always changing and moving things. That’s how I work. I don’t have anything fully formed when I start out. I just have energy or a tempo. When it comes to melody or vocals it’s just me experimenting on top of stuff till they start to sound right. That’s how I do guitar lines as well.
AL: From start to finish how long did this album take to complete?
BS: This was a pretty long process. I think it took about 2 years. I had the recording done around April of last year but I wanted to pick the right time to release it. I thought now would be a good time as season 4 of “Metalocalypse” is set to come out as well. I think I will get more bang for my buck releasing the show and the album at the same time. The drums were actually record back in 2009 prior to starting the second Dethklok album. The contracts weren’t finalized yet to start that record but I had everything booked already. I would have felt like a jerk bringing all those guys in and not having any work for them. I gathering up a bunch of riffs that were written back in 2005 that I knew wouldn’t work for Dethklok and told the guys they were now working for me not the show. We did the drums and they sat on a hard drive while I went on tour and finished season 3 of the show. Once I was finished with all that stuff I realized I had spent all this money on drums and that I needed to do something with them.
AL: Is there one track that stands out above the rest for you personally?
BS: I have no objectivity with this album. I will listen to the songs and think that I would like to fix certain parts or that I like another part. I think throughout the record you can hear me starting to sing a little better. (Laughs) By the last song I think my vocals have gotten stronger. I don’t necessarily have a favorite. I do have moments that I enjoy. Really anything with a guitar moment excites me. There’s a part in the song “Dangertits” where I think I have a really great guitar tone.
AL: Any tour plans for this album?
BS: I don’t have any tour plans right now. I am going to see how the album does. This record is totally independent. I financed this thing all myself. I talked to some labels but I knew I would probably get a better deal if I did things on my own. I am pretty much going to be selling it through my website. It’s not going to be a sound scan thing so people won’t know how many copies have been sold. I will probably put it on iTunes the day of the release but all the pre-order stuff is going through my website. Whether the album succeeds or fails I have learned a lot about being an entrepreneur.
AL: Do you have any other upcoming plans?
BS: I have some projects that I am working on where I would just end up being a producer on. I can’t really talk about those unless they get picked up. There are some things that I am really excited for. There is some stuff out there that I would also love to do. First things first is I have to get this record out and season 4 of “Metalocalypse”. There is going to be a whole bunch of cool announcements coming out related to the show. That stuff will probably keep me busy for awhile. I am a very lucky guy in that I have gotten to do what I want with the people at Adult Swim. They are great people and give me a lot of creative freedom.