Despite only existing in the Adult Swim show "Metalocalypse," the band Dethklok has the highest charting death metal album in Billboard history with "The Dethalbum II." "Metalocalypse" and Dethklok co-creator Brendon Small has guided the series through three seasons on Adult Swim, with the third season currently available on DVD and Blu-ray. In addition to writing for the show and voicing various characters, Small also writes and sings most of the songs on the series and has even gone on two live tour as Dethklok with his collaborators Gene Hoglan, Bryan Beller and Mike Keneally.
Recently, CraveOnline spoke with Small about the third season of "Metalocalypse," his new Soundgarden video and his upcoming solo album.
CraveOnline: What inspired "Metalocalypse" ?
Brendon Small: I think ultimately just my love of metal. I think at the time I was just going and seeing a lot of metal shows. And I created other shows beforehand and I didn’t realize that the thing that I was completely interested in could possibly be a topic of a show. I was just doing it as a recreational… enjoying metal and stuff like that. And then I figured "Hey! Why not do something with this topic that was I in love with?"
CraveOnline: What’s it been like working with the animation house Titmouse?
Brendon Small: They’ve been great. They kind of started out as a commercial house, so they’ve been helping out on some other shows. But this was the first show that they ever really put into production. So it was definitely something that was very new to them and new to us. They are so talented and capable that it’s been nothing but fantastic working with them. They have some of the most talented people on their staff. They introduced us to our art designer, who we could not do the show without, a gentleman named Antonio Canobbio, who designed the album covers, the DVD covers. He designed the entire look of the show. He’s fantastic. He’s part of the staff there and we couldn’t do the show without him.
CraveOnline: Out of season three, do you have any favorite episodes?
Brendon Small: I have a lot of favorites. In fact, season three is my favorite of the entire experience thus far because we got to do some cool stuff. The show is longer. We went from a quarter hour to a half-hour and got some of the backstory for some of the ridiculous characters. We got to do some different things that we don’t get to do with the shorter format. Just really expand and learn more about the world as we were nearing our 50th episode. It became fresh and at the same time not contradicting or changing the show in any way.
CraveOnline: What were your favorite songs this season?
Brendon Small: Favorite songs? Geez… I really get to have a lot of fun with these metal tunes and then I get to have a lot of fun with songs that are so incredibly very much not metal. These disco electronica style things. There’s a song in episode 305 where Toki sings about this girl that he’s about to go on a date with. I really enjoyed that a lot because I got to use a lot of different elements, and this weird autotune stuff and dance beats. That was a fun one. And then I really like the season intro song. I think that was my favorite song of the season.
CraveOnline: Do you have any work coming up?
Brendon Small: Right now what I’m doing in-between seasons of "Metalocalypse" is that I directed the newest Soundgarden video. Dethklok does make an appearance in it. The song is called "Black Rain" and [the video] is a pretty big, gigantic animated [thing] in the style of a Dethklok video and I’m really happy with how that turned out. I’ve got some other videos that I’m directing now and we’ll talk about those as soon as I’m finished with them.
Right now I’m working on a solo album with the same people from "Metalocalypse." If you are waiting for the next Dethalbum, this is what you’re gonna get right now. Which is me, Gene Hoglan, Bryan Beller. It’s going to be wild and fun and I’m really excited about that.
CraveOnline: Does the album have a name?
Brendon Small: Right now, I’m calling it "The Brendon Small Project." I’m finishing that right now and I’m happy because it [doesn’t] sound exactly like Dethklok. It’s gonna be more of a rock album with elements of heavy metal. But if you like the style of "Metalocalypse" on the show, I think you’ll like this a lot. It’s a concept album. It’s a high stakes metal comic book.
CraveOnline: Has there been any word on "Metalocalypse" season 4?
Brendon Small: Season 4 is something that I would love to talk about. But unfortunately at this point I can not tell you anything about that. I will however, give that information when I’m allowed to.
CraveOnline: What was it like touring live as Dethklok?
Brendon Small: When creating the show, the idea was: "if I can do the show, I’d like to put out a record. I’d like the show to be musically driven. if I can do that, I’d like to put out the record at the end of the season. And if I do that, how can I tour? Well, I’ve seen The Gorillaz do this thing where they have live animation but they play behind a screen. But I’d like to be able to play in front of the screen with a really great metal band and play to picture. Because I think if we play up front, we’ll actually connect with the audience." So, that was the notion. And we went out and toured with a couple different bands.
The last tour we did this time last year was with the band Mastodon. We were on tour for seven weeks. It was pretty long and grueling, but successful tour. We played with a gigantic LCD, 30 by 20 feet movie theater sized screen behind us. The whole is idea is to play to the picture show behind us. We have an entire story with unique animation for the live show and that’s pretty much it. The way that I describe it, you’d think that it was a Disneyland ride. But it was darker.
CraveOnline: Are you planning a "Dethalbum III"?
Brendon Small: That’s another thing I can not talk about at this point, but I’ll have information soon. Sorry for those [answers], the future of the stuff I can’t really talk about at this point.
CraveOnline: Are you doing any more of the "Metalocalypse" comics from Dark Horse?
Brendon Small: I don’t know what exactly the timeline is, but yes, there will be more.
CraveOnline: Do you have any closing thoughts about "Metalocalypse" season 3?
Brendon Small: The thing about this year that I’m really excited about is that our artists worked very hard and we get to see these high definition prints all of the time. This is the first time that you guys get to see the high definition versions of the show on Blu-ray. So, I’m very excited about that. I got to take a look at the Blu-ray and how great it looks, I’m so excited.
"Metalocalypse" season 3 is available on DVD and Blu-ray today.