BREWIN DRAGE TALKS ABOUT THE DARK HORDE'S HORROR CONCEPT ALBUM 'THE CALLING'

Supernatural horror, set to an 80s metal soundtrack



PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF FOR US WHO ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH YOU AND YOUR MUSIC AND TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.


The Dark Horde is a collective of internationally recognised musicians, vocalists and actors from Melbourne, Australia. Together they have created The Calling, a concept album written and directed by Andrew ‘Brewin’ Drage, who is here today to answer your questions.


The Calling is a musical narrative experience featuring a supernatural horror story set to an "eighties heavy metal" soundtrack. It is the prequel to Brewin's award-winning horror novel The Dark Horde, set in south-eastern Australia in 1989.


Music for the album was written and performed by Hanny Mohamed (Black Majesty) and Logan Jacobs, with the exception of two guest tracks by Chris Kane (Eye of the Enemy) and James Lowe respectively. Main vocals are performed by Danny Cecati (Wicked Smile, ex- Pegazus and Eyefear), with narration by Kevin J. Powe, demonic vocals by Shaun Farrugia (In Malice’s Wake), and acting appearances by Dexter Seamus, Jane Brewin and Andrew Carolane. Artwork is by Aldo ‘Valgorth’ Requena (Hammerblaze). Mixed by Ricardo Borges and mastered by Jens Bogren (both of Fascination Street Studios).


TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NEW ALBUM OR SINGLE?


The Calling tells the story of Henry Wilcox, a young and broken man living alone, who records his last words in the hope that someone hears his words and knows of the horror that is the Dark Horde to come. He tells of his life and how he reached the point that he’s at now. The story told on the album ends where the horror novel that follows begins.


The Calling has received some great reviews so far – for instance Metal Temple 100%, Metal-Rules 90% and Rock Hard Germany 80%.


WHAT INSPIRED THE ALBUM OR SINGLE?


The original inspiration for the concept comes from Jeff Wayne’s musical version of War of the Worlds, whereby a story is set to a soundtrack complete with both spoken and sung parts from a variety of actors and singers.


Musically the album, which is set in 1989, is influenced by the eighties heavy metal of that era - bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper - and the musical soundscapes of composers like John Carpenter and Giorgio Moroder.


The writing itself, like the related horror novel, is inspired by the creative works of writers such as H.P.Lovecraft, Clive Barker and H.G.Wells.


CAN YOU SUM UP THE ALBUM IN A FEW WORDS?


A heavy metal horror odyssey. A supernatural tale of terror and torment.


WHAT RECORD CHANGED YOUR LIFE AND WHY?


If I was to cite one record in particular, that has specific relevance to this project, it has to be the album that captured my imagination long before I ever really considered I even liked music that much – and


that is the above mentioned Jeff Wayne’s musical version of War of the Worlds, which I first heard in the early eighties when I was about seven or eight. The idea that you could set a story to music like that, complete with rock songs, singers and a cast of actors to tell the story, blew my mind and sowed the seeds of inspiration to attempt a similar thing almost forty years later.


DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MUSIC VIDEO FILMED BY YOUR BAND OR ANOTHER ARTIST?


So many great videos for different reasons, but one of the recent ones that blew me away was Ad Infinitum’s “Unstoppable”, so let’s call that my favourite for now


In terms of my band’s videos, we had a studio produce lyric videos for three of them, and I did lyric videos for the other nine and combined them all into a lyric video playlist for Youtube where you can read/experience the entire album and story here:





WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING WHEN YOU'RE NOT MAKING MUSIC?


My creative craft is writing and games design (I’m not a musician, singer or actor myself), so my creative output is focused on stories and games in the genres of horror, fantasy and sci-fi. But I also work in consulting roles as IT developer and statistical analyst and have an academic background in entomology as well where I’ve also worked in scientific roles.


DO YOU GET NERVOUS PERFORMING LIVE, IF SO HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?


From the point of view of having given talks on writing, games or entomology to audiences from about twenty up to almost a thousand, I’d say not really. I mean we all experience some kinda nervousness in that situation right? But I guess I’m (mostly) in the mindset of having something unique to offer, of having just as much right to be speaking as anyone else, and this helps me to focus on what I’m there to do. The other thing that helps me in those situations is being conscious that your performance won’t be perfect, that you’re always learning, and that is all part of the experience too (and always will be).


HOW DID YOU FORM THE BAND?


So given that I’m a writer, I needed musicians, vocalists, actors etc to make this concept album possible. And this has been a personal quest of mine since I first started to work on this concept album in 2000. There have been many different lineups and versions over the years since, but this final released version dates back to a conversation about two years ago between myself, Hanny, and another writer friend Philip. Somehow Philip steered the conversation onto whatever happened with the concept album idea of mine, and shouldn’t I finish that. It was then that Hanny and I agreed that we’ll get the album done since if we didn’t now, we never would. Fortunately, the (drunken) moment of resolution stuck and the album was finished, including recruiting Logan to help.


HOW DO YOU WRITE? ?


In this case of this studio project concept album, the process (at least from my perspective) essentially went like this:


When I sat down with Hanny and Logan in 2019 to make this album, I already had all the lyrics


written (although there’d always be tweaks to be made here and there according to need). I would describe to Hanny and Logan the concept/story of each track, what sort of journey the music needed to reflect, and approaches that had been taken to the track in the past. From this Hanny and Logan, armed with guitars and keyboards, would try out some ideas with me doing dummy vocals and recording the ideas we were to use on my phone. We did this for the entire album, except the two guest tracks, thus planning out the entire album before recording any of it. Not being a musician myself I served the role of director and sourced/recorded the different sound effects, while Hanny and Logan were the composers.


When we’d planned out all the ideas for each track (which also included Logan and Hanny working on ideas separately and sending them through for feedback) we started the longer process of recording them at Hanny’s home studio. Each track was recorded with multiple iterations as things were added and tweaked. I co-ordinated the vocal recordings with Kevin, Danny and Shaun, and recorded Jane and Andrew at my house with Hanny. Dexter’s recording was done in 2004 and fortunately, we were able to still use that, since I doubt we’d have got another kid to do a performance like that!


Finally, the tracks were submitted to the sound engineering studio, together with the guest musician tracks that Hanny and I tweaked to fit the album, where I gave instruction and feedback to Ricardo doing the mix through a few more iterations until we achieved the final product. Start to finish was about two years, but with about twenty years of history leading up to that, so a long time!


WHAT INSPIRES YOU?


Essentially what drives me as an artist I think is to “create the things that would not have existed had I not created them”. In other words to leave my own unique artistic legacy, my own unique creative mark on the world.


WHAT IS NEXT?


I’m always working on multiple projects as various stages of completion, that usually take many years each, so I’m never actually sure what is the next to be released. But things I’m working on include a sequel to The Dark Horde novel that follows The Calling, and a fantasy/sci-fi board game hybrid. There are also well advanced plans for a live performance of tracks from the album that I expect to be able to announce soon.


PLEASE TELL US ANY SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS SO WE CAN SHARE.


My Website: www.thebrewin.com


The Dark Horde online store (to purchase CDs, books and merchandise): https://thedarkhordestore.company.site/


Facebook links: https://www.facebook.com/TheDarkHorde https://www.facebook.com/TheBrewin


You-Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRu4icUi3QEDL57tdSzOJUQ


Bandcamp: https://thedarkhorde.bandcamp.com/