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THE DARK HORDE's Brewin: "Others will always give opinions and seek to gain favour or advantage but if you just stick to doing what you actually want to do, to creating the things you want to create because you want to create them, then you’ll be fine."

Interview with Brewin from The Dark Horde
by Laura Glover at 28 December 2021, 11:00 AM

Metal Temple writer Laura Glover found herself deeply intrigued by the novel nature of this band. THE DARK HORDE’S unique approach to a concept album stands way out in a world where every band is looking to create something new. Not only is there the deeply artistic album, ‘The Calling”, there is a companion book to the album. A fantasy/horror novel to further the storyline laid within the album. She can’t recommend this style of metal higher to those out there who are deep in the horror/fantasy novel realm. This niche album is written JUST for you! THE DARK HORDE is comprised of Danny Cecati on vocals, Narrated by Kevin Powe, Storyline and Lyrics by Brewin.

I, Laura at METAL TEMPLE deeply thank you for your time and connecting with me for this interview! Your album takes an interesting approach to lyrical content. Where was the idea for this birthed and tell me about its growth process.

BREWIN: It’s Brewin here, lyricist and concept creator, to answer your questions. The idea of this album – that is to set a supernatural horror story to a heavy metal soundtrack, complete with different musicians, vocalists and actors – dates back to 2000, when I began working with others on this project. I’m a writer primarily and was already working on the horror/thriller novel THE DARK HORDE (that “The Calling” album is a musical prequel to), but I’ve also always had a love of heavy metal etc too, and thought that through the musical talent of friends I could express my stories in a different medium, in a way that is rarely done. I was greatly inspired by Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of War of the Worlds from the late seventies, and wondered why there wasn’t more musicians creating stories set to music like that was. And how awesome it would be to do a “heavy metal horror” version of something like that.

In the twenty-one years since, the album has evolved through many different versions, lineups, challenges and changes, but through each of those iterations it felt like the project was improving, that the ideas were being further fleshed out and the quality of the output was getting better and closer to “my imagined ideal” which the released version basically is. One way I think of it is in terms of parallel universes – there are many and this album turned out very differently indeed in some of them, where I had worked on it with completely different people. But I’m glad to be in this universe haha, where I’ve been privileged to have had the honour of creating this with some of the finest artists Melbourne has to offer. And many of those involved have been a part of this journey for a long time too, for instance Hanny since 2006 and Kevin since 2013.

THE DARK HORDE is Comprised of members from artistic walks in life. Combining members from vocalists, musicians, and actors. Did you know each other prior to making music together? Or did you meet to make music? You seem to have a good flow together, tell me about those origins.

BREWIN: I enjoy collaborating with other artists to make cool things, and naturally tend to seek to do this with friends I know first. There’s a lot to cover in detailing my connections to each of those involved in the “band” (of course), but here’s my attempt at a quick rundown:

Hanny (Music) I’ve known for at least 22 years and is basically my “metal brother”. We met at a gig when he was playing lead guitar with a band called CATWITCH (it could have been a different night but it was around that time). Anyway, we hit it off straight away, like we knew each other from a past life or something, and have been best mates since. He’s been involved with this project since 2006 and is the main music creator and producer.

Logan (Music) I met in 2018 when I moved into the area and he was (still is!) my next-door neighbour. I discovered he shared a love of heavy metal, horror and fantasy games, and he became involved in creating music for the project soon after.

Danny (Vocals) I’ve known in the metal scene for about as long as I’ve known Hanny, but I didn’t really know Danny personally until I asked him to sing for this project in 2019. I’m certainly honoured that he did and it’s been great to get to know him since – a legend and a decent true person!

Kevin (Narration) I’ve known through the computer game development scene for about ten years. We both did creative things with Tin Man Games (me as writer/editor and he as voice actor) and soon after that we met. On discovering that he was a fan of my horror novel, I invited him to do the narration for this project in 2013, and he’s been involved since.

Shaun (Demonic Vocals) I’ve known for probably about fifteen years through the local metal scene and his band In Malice’s Wake. A good mate, fellow lover of the thrash band Testament, and known for his growl, he was happy to help with this project.

Chris (guest musician for “Rebirth”) I’ve known for ten years probably? Another good mate I know from the local metal scene and his band Eye of the Enemy, who was happy to be involved.

James (guest musician for “Slaughter”) I’ve known for almost twenty years I think it is, good mate and was living with me at the time he composed and recorded his track. I met him through mutual friends at the time and have been friends with him ever since (even if I’ve had to “ban” him from my house a couple of times haha).

Dexter (the voice of “young Henry”) is my nephew, so he’s known me all his life. And his mother, my older sister Jane Brewin, actually plays the role of Henry’s mother on the album. I’ve known her all my life of course.

Andrew (the voice of “Bernard Russell”) I’ve known at least ten years and probably more? An actor I initially met through another good mate Rachael that he married, and they’ve played in many a Call of Cthulhu and Dungeons and Dragons group I’ve run over the years since.

Aldo (Artwork) I was introduced to by Hanny only this year and is based in Argentina. When I saw that he had in addition to his many other talents, created extensive collections of dark fantasy art based on the Cthulhu Mythos and related concepts, I knew that he would be ideal for this project. He sought to understand the lore of THE DARK HORDE, and the layers of story embedded within the album, which allowed him to incorporate extra levels of meaning into the art, to express the concepts more completely.

Is there another album in planning yet? If so, can you give me a hint about the direction you’re going with that album?

BREWIN: It’s funny, isn’t it? You take twenty odd years to finally finish and release something that’s taken all those years to develop, and people are like “We love it! When’s the next one?” Geez, can’t we bask in the glory of it finally being finished a bit first? Haha. Mind you, the book also twenty-one years from conception (1991) to release (2012), and people said the same thing then too!

But to answer the question, yes, there is another album in the planning, and a sequel book to the album too, and a number of other creative projects I’m working on too that are something completely different again. I’m always working on creative projects (always have) but most of them so far are still bubbling away somewhere and have yet to be finished and released… We’ll see what gets to completion next, but any follow-up album (or a different concept-album based on a different story) is a long long way off at the moment. In the meantime, there’s already a released sequel to the album, where the story is continued. And that’s in my horror/thriller novel THE DARK HORDE, published 2012.

What inspired you to create “The Calling”?

BREWIN: I was eight years old I think it was when I first heard Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of War of the Worlds and it had a profound effect on me. At that point I hadn’t discovered metal and there wasn’t really anything musically that had grabbed me, but here was a story with different actors, sound effects and music, with actual rock songs including vocalists. And the story was an awesome one about the Martians coming to take over the Earth, and the battle against humanity that followed. I already was writing and creating stories of my own (and then, as now, they’re in the realms of horror, science-fiction and fantasy), that I wanted to express through writing and games, and so the seed for eventually doing something like The Calling was planted then too.

But it was not until 1989 (when both “The Calling” and THE DARK HORDE that follows are set) that I first began to develop the ideas for, what was then, a “modern day” story. From 1991 onwards this would become known as the novel entitled THE DARK HORDE that I was working on. In 2000, still with the book yet to be published, I also began to work on a “DARK HORDE” album as well, that was to be a related story set to heavy metal. From 2004 onwards this album became known as “The Calling”, and the lyrical content and placement as the prequel to the book was established, but the music compositions on the final album typically have a much more recent history. Hanny and Logan in creating the music of this album wanted it to reflect the era, 1989, when it is set, and composed music evoking heavy metal the likes of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper, crossed with the horror movie soundscapes of composers like John Carpenter and Giorgio Moroder.

What was your favorite performance and why? Also, do you have any upcoming shows?

BREWIN: This concept album is really a studio project comprising members of renown and active bands - Black Majesty, Wicked Smile, Eye of the Enemy and In Malice’s Wake - and numerous actors on top of that, so the logistics of performing this live is daunting (especially when you consider many of the cast hasn’t even met in person yet). That said, there are plans being progressed for a live performance, and look to happen in 2022.

What’s the best piece of advice another musician ever gave you?

BREWIN: What immediately comes to mind isn’t even advice from a musician, nor someone I’ve met. It’s the words of writer Neil Gaiman in a motivational speech he gave to an assembly of arts students at their graduation ceremony. His advice to aspiring artists in this speech can be distilled down to three words alone (I think), and that is simply “Make good art.” To elaborate, there’ll always be challenges, highs and lows, failures and victories, opinions from others, and things to both celebrate and complain about, but if you stick to focusing on making good art, that is the one thing that is fully in your control, to create the things that only you can and as best as you can.

If you could open a show for any artist, who would that be?

BREWIN: Judas Priest. Didn’t even have to think about that one haha, though many that know me might think I’d say Testament, but they can be on the bill too.

What is a message you would like to give your fans?

BREWIN: Artists can exist without fans I guess, but it’s very hard. It is only with the support of others, for others to go “oh that’s a cool thing that so-and-so is doing, I reckon I should let others should know about it cos they might like it too”, that you can sustain artistic endeavours really. So your support gives me, like any artist, the power to carry on. Each of you has the power to influence others, to spread the word, to encourage more cool things to exist in this reality. (Insert “Sponsor an Artist Today!” promo haha).

What is your favorite hobby outside of creating music?

BREWIN: Fair to say I’m a “super games nerd” haha, particularly role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and Call of Cthulhu, card games like Magic: the Gathering, board games like Blood Bowl, gamebooks like Fighting Fantasy, Lone Wolf and Grailquest, I could go on.

But much of that time is spent in creating the games themselves, which includes a couple of Dungeons and Dragons online groups I still run to this day. Gamemastering, as it is called, to me is a most organic and immediate form of creating stories, and is the genesis of many ideas to follow…

Whatever your favorite instrument is to play, think back to the very first time you played; what would you tell yourself if you could go back in time and tell yourself at the very beginning? What do you know now that you wish you knew then? In other words.

BREWIN: A difficult question for me to end on, since I’ve hardly ever pursued “playing an instrument” in my artistic life haha, so let me broaden that to my chosen craft – namely writing. So, let’s call my “favorite instrument” a pen, which I first “played” (that is used it to write horror/fantasy/sci-fi stories of my own and not for school) when I was aged about six.

If I could speak to that child, I imagine I’d say something to the effect of keep doing exactly what you’re doing, and to keep doing it despite what anyone else tells you. That you will achieve the things you want if you keep at them, but it’ll different from what you think it’ll be when that happens. Others will always give opinions and seek to gain favour or advantage but if you just stick to doing what you actually want to do, to creating the things you want to create because you want to create them, then you’ll be fine. It won’t ever get easy mind you, but it’d be a boring journey if it was easy, wouldn’t it? And besides what would you have to write about or learn if it was easy?
Thank you for this interview, it has been a pleasure!

METAL TEMPLE thanks you for the spectacular interview, as well as your time Brewin and THE DARK HORDE!! Again, I deeply recommend checking the album, “The Calling”, out. Sidenote: I interviewed Brewin from THE DARK HORDE live as well, and would like to add a little information to this. Brewin is also an author of a book titled THE DARK HORDE. For research of this book, as well as the album by the same title; Brewin did some on site research by going to a morgue and getting a tour from a coroner. Also, his aforementioned nephew that was “Young Henry”, became a musician himself and now creates rap.



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