“Metalocalypse” Creator Influenced by Louis C.K. to Self-Release Project
Our sister site Metal Insider recently spoke with [adult swim] legend Brendon Small who’s made his mark with Home Movies and voiced a lot of other characters on AS shows. But his current crowning achievement is the creation that is Metalocalypse. April is proving to be a hectic yet exciting month for Small, Metalocalypse kicks off its fourth season on April 29th. As if that wasn’t enough, the Small will release his first solo project Galaktikon via his website on the same day. Small talked a lot about his metal side project, but also dropped knowledge about comedy, stating that he was also influenced by Louis C.K. to self-released his material.
I think it’s really interesting to hear you talk about comedy because I feel that you do such an amazing job blending comedy and metal music together with Metalocalypse and Dethklok.
Thanks. I mean, they’re not that far away from each other, to be honest. If you understand committing to the thing, you can make it funny or you can make it dark. You just have to commit to either one.
You’ve been referring to the album as an audio comic book. I was wondering if there was any potential to branching Galaktikon out into other forms of media. Maybe even an animated format similar to Metalocolypse?
That would be ideal. Also, I didn’t want it to just be a record. First of all, like I think I said in other interviews, it’s easy for me to do this by myself. Adult Swim, they’re a big network, there is a lot of legal red tape. I don’t own Dethklok. I collaborate with them on the whole project. I mean, I came up with it, but it’s a partnership between me and Time Warner. So that’s not something I can just go out and start doing. I have to make sure everyone is on board, and my legal team and their legal team and all kinds of stuff. But if it’s a project that I own, I can do whatever I want with it. I can just put out Galaktikon and I can make it a stage play or a feature if I want to. First things first, I want to see if there’s any interest in it. So I’m just putting it out there, on my own, and seeing if anyone bites. If it does, maybe I’ll see about a comic book or an animated series or stuff like that.
How is Galaktikon going to be distributed?
Well, I’m going to Topspin, then probably iTunes and that’s it.
Totally. Here’s the thing, I’ve heard some people out, some labels out, and ultimately I was like “Well, I’ve got a pretty good audience with Metalocalypse.” I don’t know if they’re going to follow me with this project. I don’t ever want to anticipate what an audience will do because you’ll always be wrong. So I’m going to do this by myself and put my money where my mouth is. And after seeing Louis C.K. do what he did with self distribution of his last comedy special, it all just made sense. Unfortunately, it’s bad news for the labels and distributers, but really good news for the artist because you can do everything yourself, if you have enough capital to get it started. So after seeing Louis C.K., which he filmed his own comedy special back in December… I don’t know if you about this. Have you read about this?
Yeah I do remember, he actually did really well for himself through self-distribution.
Oh yeah, he made a million bucks! He sold it for $6 and he made a million bucks in like a week. And now he’s got capital for new projects. So if for some reason my scheme ended up working, I would use that to finance a pilot. I would just use it all as production money to do something cool for the future, which is what he ended up doing. So yeah, he built his own website, he shot his own thing, and edited everything himself.
I can’t believe it’s taken till January for digital to outweigh physical in sales. I thought that must have happened already. And I just thought “Ok, obviously people like Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead aren’t netting as much because they’ve got big advances and all that stuff, but now they control their own distribution.” And everyone is just becoming smarter about their own personal business.
I’m sure it must also be more artistically freeing as well.
Well to tell you the truth, working with [Adult Swim], like I said, the only thing is I don’t own all that stuff. I have a really fair partnership with them, but it’s even better because I can make decisions even quicker if I’m doing it myself. Having said all that, they’ve been an absolute pleasure to work with. When I finish a Dethkolk album, I basically go “here…” And they kind of hear it for the first time, and I go “That’s the record,” which is kind of how the show is. They’re all in the loop on all the stages. If I’m pretty off track they let me know. And every once in a while they’ll go “Eh I’m not crazy about this” or “How about this or that or the other thing.” But I’ve been working with those guys for… thirteen years?
Yeah, starting with Home Movies.
Yeah. I don’t know what other network would give me the creative control that I have. I don’t think anyone would.
Speaking about Metalocalypse, I always find it amazing what guest stars you are able get to make an appearance on the show. This season alone, you have everyone from Corpsegrinder to John Hamm [of AMC's Mad Men].
This is our most eclectic crowd because we have [director] Werner Herzog next to Corpsegrinder, next to John Hamm, next to Patton Oswalt, next to 3 Inches of Blood, next to Andy Richter, next to Dweezil Zappa, and Kim Thayil from Soundgarden.
That’s really funny to me because not only have the albums done really well, but I think they’re still the best selling death metal albums.
Well, they’re the highest charting death metal albums. They may still be, I’m not sure. At that time, of course they were. But hey, it’s what happens when you have TV networks behind you. They reach millions of people, and labels just don’t have that kind of marketing power. And people buy it, and that’s the difference with metal. Metal guys buy stuff. They actually support artists, whereas almost every other style of music is about stealing the music.
I know releasing Galaktikon is the focus right now, but are there any plans for touring? Maybe for both Galaktikon and Dethklok?
Galaktikon, I don’t think I’ve got time this year for that stuff. Maybe, let’s say the record does well, then maybe I’ll put a thing together. But basically, since I’m doing it myself, all I’m focusing on is to just get the record out there, make sure people download it, make sure it’s downloadable, make sure the files sound good, make sure the artwork is good and the linear notes are spell checked. All that stupid boring stuff. Beyond that, I’ll see. I know I don’t have time right now. As far as Dethklok goes, depending on what happens with contracts in the next couple weeks, we may have something pretty cool to announce.
Cool, well I guess I can’t push for any more details about that.
I learned as a younger man that whenever you say something, it ends up being wrong and shit doesn’t go right. And people start asking you “Hey, I thought you were supposed to tour with blablabla or something?” So yeah, I’ve got nothing to announce.
You can red the entire interview at Metal Insider.