To Make A Hero – Maria Brink and Andy Biersack ‘Dark Nights: Death Metal’ Interview
Countless iterations of Batman have been created since the character’s DC Comics debut in 1939. He’s been a detective, a Dark Knight and a key member of The Justice League. Of course, the crime-fighting anti-hero also leapt off the page and onto the screen for TV shows and movies such as the 1960s Batman live action TV show, the 1990s Batman: The Animated Series, and even a 2018 Batman Ninja animated film. Now, fans can see — and hear — their favorite action hero in a completely new way with Dark Nights: Death Metal motion-comic series and soundtrack.
The multi-medium endeavor is based on the comic book mini series of the same name written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo. The official soundtrack was produced by Tyler Bates (Guardians of the Galaxy, Watchmen), who recruited over a dozen musical artists to contribute to the songs. Two such artists are Andy Biersack (Black Veil Brides) and Maria Brink (In This Moment), who came together for the song “Meet Me In The Fire.” Both Biersack and Brink also have speaking roles in the motion-comic.
“I got a call saying that they were doing this series,” Biersack recalls, “and asked if I wanted to do the voice of Batman. For me, not only was it a dream come true, but it was huge to have a creative outlet in a time where there was nothing that could be done.”
Biersack is, of course, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic that kept non-essential workers home for months on end.
“It was this weird period where we couldn’t do anything creative. So to be able to, in some cases, record the audio here in my home studio and pretend to be Batman for a few hours a day was awesome.”
Biersack’s undying love for the anti-hero is well-established, but In This Moment vocalist Maria Brink also professes to adore comic books.
“I’ve always loved them and been fascinated by them,” she says. “I actually got into them more when I was older — I like all fantasy stuff. I got to have the voice of The Hand, which was so cool. In the middle of COVID, all of us were looking for creative outlets to keep our minds occupied, so it felt like a blessing for sure. To me what was so exciting was to bring in all the musicians and have all of their voices taking on this new storyline. I really loved the creativeness of converging both of these worlds.”
The storyline of the mini series is based on the concept of a dark multiverse, which sees multiple alternate realities and alternative versions of Batman. Told through visuals, dialogue, and music, this project is complex in both content and form.
“What I really liked about this project,” Biersack continues, “is that you have an opportunity to see those iterations individually and how they play into the same storyline. To have every version that you love in the same story is a pretty exciting thing. Especially if you watch the series that they made, you get to see the whole history of this character.”
For the Black Veil Brides frontman, it speaks to the greatness, versatility and longevity of Batman as a whole.
“As someone who enjoys comic book character creating and world-building, I love the idea of having a character that can stand the test of 80 years and have all of these variations, and the validity of one is the same as the other. You can have the Adam West chummy, joke-y Batman and you can have the Frank Miller angry, grumpy, murderous Batman — and they’re both valid versions of the character.”
For Brink, collaborating with Biersack and producer Tyler Bates on their cinematic track “Meet Me In The Fire” was about much more than Batman.
“When I was writing it,” she explains, “I wasn’t just thinking about it in terms of the comic book, but the world in general. That give and take, the struggle, the fight and the power; people wanting to stand with each other and having to go through hard times together — especially where we were all kind of at [with COVID] when we were writing this song. There’s gonna be hard times and you might have to walk through some flames and get your feet burnt.”
Maria Brink + Tyler Bates featuring Andy Biersack, "Meet Me in the Fire
Biersack adds, “The idea of Batman, or any character, is there’s some initial injustice that causes them to become the hero that they ultimately become. In those ways, there’s so many parallels to the idea of those moments of absolute darkness or sadness that we all face. And in a year where not only was the world changing on a literal level — a virus that’s traveling everywhere and putting people in danger — but also socially, there were so many changes and important things that occurred last year. The best value that you can have in life is to not just have something difficult to occur, but to learn from it and grow from it.”
So in a time when lives are literally on the line every day, how do these two prominent rock musicians define what it truly means to be a hero?
“I guess a hero to me is someone who really stands up for others,” Brink says. “Someone who really cares about other people and who will risk themselves and whatever it takes to empower other people. It’s selfless. The doctors risking their lives to help these sick people — they’re heroes. They could die.”
“Also just on a more personal level,” Biersack adds, “anybody in your life who inspires you to be a better version of yourself is tremendously heroic. I think if you can find it in yourself to be a hero for yourself and for everyone around you, that is the most important virtue possible. If you aren’t trying your best to be better than you were yesterday, ultimately I don’t know that you’re spending your time that wisely.
“I think at the end of the day,” he continues, “the message that rock n’ roll has always been about is to not put everyone else up on that pedestal. Rise to the challenge yourself and be the hero that you want to see.”
You can catch Black Veil Brides and In This Moment on tour with Ded and Raven Black on their North American The In Between Tour starting Sept. 17.