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Brendon Small Talks Dethklok’s Canceled Tour, New Album, ‘Metalocalypse’ + More

Brendon Small
David Livingston, Getty Images

Co-creator of Dethklok and ‘Metalocalypse’ Brendon Small was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. Small spoke about the cancellation of Dethklok’s co-headlining tour with Lamb of God, as well as ‘Metalocalypse,’ the upcoming Dethklok album and much more.’ If you missed Full Metal Jackie’s show, check out her interview with Brendon Small below:

The tour that you were going to be on was cancelled, I know that you obviously have a million and one things going on so it’s going to be kind of a break for you right now.

It’ll be a break, we’re supposed to be on the road right now but no one can do anything about the situation. The fans have been really cool about the bad news of us not being out in the U.S. or Canada, they’ve taken it well. It seems like they get it and they realize there’s nothing anyone could do, they asked us why don’t we tour by ourselves and don’t think we didn’t think about that. Once you’ve locked in as a co-headlining act and one of the major bands falls out of that, the venue size has changed because we’re good for a certain amount of seats and so are they but our fans aren’t necessarily their fans and vice versa which is nice about co-headlining because you get to cross polonaise audiences. But once one of them drops out you have to start switching venues and those venues are already taken for that time. All the things fans have suggested to me through Twitter and all that stuff, definitely stuff that we thought about because it’s in everyone’s best interest to be out working on the road.

We’re not the dumbest people in the world, I’m not gonna say I’m a genius or anything but we’re not total dummies and it’s in everyone’s best interest to be working, to be making a living, to be paying their rent and feeding their animals and, or children. It was really not great news to hear that we couldn’t do this. Good news is, stay tuned because in the very very near future we’re going to have concert dates for this fall.

There’s obviously a wide variety of people that are Dethklok fans out there. What’s been the most unlikely Dethklok fan you’ve ever met?

The most unlikely, oh geez. I don’t know, I’m surprised anybody likes anything I’m involved with so anytime anyone’s a fan I’m very surprised. Ultimately the way I look at it is that, for me and the people that make the show – for use we’re like the audience and if people like it beyond that – it’s been crazy to get people that have been apart of this show, not necessarily meaning fans but Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top to Steve Vai to Dave Grohl to King Diamond. I’ve tricked them into working on the show that doesn’t necessarily make them fans but that’s been the most exciting part. I’m trying to think who else, oh Jon Hamm from ‘Mad Men’ who’s been on the show – he’s a fan.

I remember before I’d seen ‘Mad Men’ he came up to me and said “I’ve been watching ‘Metalocalypse’ a lot” and I was like “Yeah, well thank you sir. That’s very kind of you, I really appreciate.” Then I started watching the show and I was like “Oh my God that’s Jon.” I can’t believe how good that show is or how great of an actor he is so of course I was like “Please be on my show.” So that was a surprising one because I’m like “He’s not metal” and he’ll be the first one to tell you that.

There’s going to be a new Dethklok album coming out in the fall ‘Dethalbum III’ is there a process of getting in character when you’re recording a Dethklok album or is the music purely Brendan Small?

It definitely has to be heavier than what I would do if I were just making a record because I want to put in everything and I’ll throw in a lot of melody in the guitars but not in the vocals. So I have to keep my voice kind of low and scream-y as possible which is something I probably wouldn’t do on a solo record, like my solo record ‘Galakticon.’ When I’m doing that stuff I want to make sure the guitar work is interesting and fast, I have to make sure the rhythms are perfectly played, it can’t be sloppy, doing my own stuff I would probably be a bit looser with stuff.

It has to be pretty precise especially if you’re playing fast stuff and there’s a lot of fast stuff on this new record but definitely when I’m writing lyrics, I’m thinking what would Nathan Explosion say or if there’s a different character helping write the lyrics, what would that person say and on top of that I have those characters take what they’re saying incredibly seriously so there’s almost no joke in sight. When you pull back and look at the whole thing, you think “How serious are these people taking themselves?” and I don’t mind people asking that question when they hear this music.

I have to ask if Nathan Explosion is at all Peter Steele inspired?

No he wasn’t actually, when the show started I was thinking somewhere between George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher and Conan the Barbarian and I think that’s kind of what we ended up with visually. What Nathan Explosion was, was we just thought of him as the quarterback of the band and just a vision maker and not really good with his emotions and if you watch the latest season of ‘Metalocalypse’ you’ll see that he has to confront that often.

Which has a greater effect on the other Metal or an animated TV show?

They are two different worlds. When I’m doing one thing, I’m not necessarily thinking about the other. So when I’m sitting there in the room, working on scripts with the writers or working with the editors or directors or directing, I’m not thinking about music. When I’m thinking about music I’m not really thinking about story, sometimes a little bit of story but I forget that I play guitar and I forget that I’m a musician making TV shows.

On occasion when I perform or do standup I’m not thinking about myself as a guitar player and when I am a guitar player I forget that I’m a writer and do all that. It’s really nice if you’re me because I get bored really easily, it’s really nice to be swapping things but it’s also really crazy to be a full time musician and a full time writer and switch horses constantly. So when we do go out on tour that’s a different mindset than in production on a TV show. It’s just totally different things, it’s really fun to challenge yourself but it’s also a little weird – I definitely forget I do these other jobs when I’m doing the other one.

I want to talk about the new Dethklok album, You finished it right?

Finished another record.

Congratulations.

I know it’s a lot of work especially coming right out of the season into the studio and it’s the same group of people. It’s myself, Gene Hoglan, Ulrich Wild co-producing and mixing. On this record, the big difference, I usually play all the bass myself but, Bryan Beller who toured with us and was part of the Dethklok world, is probably one of the best living bass players. He’s playing on this record and it adds another level of great musicianship on top of it. You got Gene Hoglan, you got Bryan Beller and then it’s me trying to stay in line with those guys, trying to keep up.

Anthing else you have going on in your very busy schedule?

Like I said I’m taking this time off, this month, to do a lot of writing. It’s not cool that the tour got cancelled but I never have free time and I’m using this time to do as much writing as I possibly can, to work on some other projects, to do some performing. I’ll be performing in Los Angeles, doing some standup, I’ll be on a show with Kevin McDonald at the Steve Allen Theater on the 16 of this month, so go online, I’ll probably tweet about it. Follow me at @BrendanSmall. I’ll probably be posting about some more standup shows, I don’t get to do it that often so I’ll probably have some great nights and some horrible nights – you guys be the judge.

Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.

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