Brendon Small’s a Man of Huge Talent
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 13:04
Brendon Small is a man of many talents, known best for his awkward and hilarious cartoons “Home Movies” and “Metalocalypse.” In the “Metalocalypse” world, Small not only writes, directs and acts, but pens the music and tours as the cartoon’s metal band Dethklok.
Small fits comfortably in his niche as a cartoon creator and voice actor, but when the opportunity arose to do something more, he took it. Galaktikon is his new solo album that goes against the metal style he is most known for. The album will be released on April 24. Season four of “Metalocalypse” premieres April 29.
College Times: You seem like a pretty busy guy. How did you find time for a solo album?
Brendon Small: What happened was I was about to do the second Deth album and the money didn’t show up on time and the contract wasn’t finished, so I felt bad for these people who were out of a job so I decided to record something. I had all these songs that weren’t right for Dethklok. They were too melodic and rock driven, and I said, “Let’s just record these. I’ll pay you all and I’ll do something with them at some point.” And they sat in a hard drive. I got to work on the second Deth album and started working on the next season of the show and toured. I had a few months free after I finished season three and it’s kind of fun to do this after all that death metal.
How was it working with your Dethklok musicians on such a different project?
It’s like [being] good actors. You can play different characters. You’ve just got to have the chops.
How has “Metalocalypse” evolved since you started it?
I’m still in production [with the fourth season]. After this call, I drive over to the studio and have about 18 meetings. It’s evolved a lot, and I think what’s evolved the most is the characters. That’s what’s most exciting to me. The reason the TV show exists is because hopefully you want to hang out with these characters. When you watch the first season, they kind of don’t know where they’re coming from and then you find out they’re not just one-sided people. They have a lot of conflict within them that makes them more funny and interesting.
What is it like putting the show together?
It’s a long process. It’s like watching a plant grow. I started this season last year. I’m directing more episodes this season. I told the writers the story of where season three ends and I walked them all the way to how the show ends. I wanted to tell the first part of that story. I want to make sure each story has something to do with each writer, so it’s something somewhat personal and it’s something you can connect to. There’s nothing worse than watching a show that’s freaking stupid and never goes anywhere. I just want to make sure my show keeps moving forward.
It’s interesting that you’ve already decided on the ending. So many animated shows keep going with no end in sight.
I think art is about being selfish. I want to be satisfied by this process and that’s the most important to me. It’s great that it has an audience and stuff, but I think once you start doing things for an audience I think you start second guessing yourself and you start pandering. People can smell that a mile away. I’d rather do what I think is important for the show. Sometimes that doesn’t agree with the audience expectation. It’s not a democracy.
“Metalocalypse” seems a bit like a gateway to metal. How did you get into it?
I’ve heard a lot of people come up to me when I play live and stuff and say they didn’t like metal at all but they liked Dethklok and they had to figure out who influenced Dethklok and they wanted to hear those bands. I had an older sister that was listening to pop music and luckily I had a friend down the street that said, “Hey, you don’t want to listen to that you want to listen to this. Come here, I’m going to show you everything.” He showed me Led Zeppelin and Metallica and Slayer and Van Halen and all kinds of cool shit like Jethro Tull and classic rock. I was like, “Oh I get it, that’s way more fucking cool.” Some people don’t have an older sibling or something like that and a show can open your eyes up to something that you don’t know about.
What can fans expect from this new season?
This season is going to be exciting. Our art keeps getting better and our sequences keep getting more exciting. We keep challenging ourselves and you’re going to see it. We’re trying to tell a bigger story. I don’t want to give too much away but you’ll see a bunch of ... some shit’s gonna go down. We have a lot of cool voice guests from the metal world, from the comedy world and from the dramatic acting world you wouldn’t expect to be on the show. Jon Hamm from “Mad Men” joins us this season and director Werner Herzog, who’s one of my heroes. People like Patton Oswalt, Cannibal Corpse, a bunch of different bands and actors. It’s a really fun, eclectic group of actors.