Entrevista de Peso – Brian Westbrook // Lich King

Como forma de homenagear o nome do website, pensámos que seria interessante entrevistar algumas das personalidades da música pesada e tentar saber um pouco mais sobre a sua relação com os videojogos.

O nosso segundo entrevistado é Brian Westbrook, baterista dos Lich King.

MBG – Hi! First of all I want to thank you for your availability to take part on our interview series. Could you start by telling us who are Lich King and what genre of music do you play?

Brian Westbrook – We’re a thrash metal band from the Western Massachusetts area.  We formed around 2007 starting as a one-man project, evolved into a full band in 2009, and just recently put out our fifth album THE OMNICLASM and are currently touring in Europe.  I’m Brian, drummer/quasi-manager-behind-the-scenes guy.

MBG – Where does the name of the band come from? How often do people connect it with the Warcraft universe?

Brian Westbrook – The root of the name is even nerdier – it was inspired by D&D.  There was a Lich King in Warcraft lore but that WoW expansion came out well after our formation.

MBG – Six years ago you released an album called Super Retro Thrash, containing 8-bit versions of some of your songs. How did you come across that idea?

Brian Westbrook – Our ex-vocalist Tom made MIDI versions of our songs to transcribe guitars parts he had written, realized he could make 8-bit versions using audio plugins, and kinda just stuck with it.

MBG – Do you think videogames are an inspiration to the music you produce?

Brian Westbrook -Musically, maybe a bit.  I wouldn’t say we specifically try to make things sound like video games but we do have a lot of sections with guitar harmonies that in an 8-bit style would have fit right in NES games.  Lyrically, I don’t believe we’ve done a full on video game reference, but we do have songs about Robocop, Predator, Axe Cop, Firefly, ASOIAF, and plenty of other fantasy/action/science fiction stuff in the nerd culture realm.

MBG – How important do you think a soundtrack is to a game? Is there any soundtrack that you really like?

Brian Westbrook – Incredibly important – music (or the lack thereof) is part of the whole experience.  Big fan of the music from Final Fantasy and Mass Effect for original scores.  Can’t go wrong with Megaman, Sonic, Battletoads, Shadowgate, Super Mario World, etc. for retro games.  Indie games: FTL has one of the best modern game soundtracks ever, absolutely perfect for being adrift in space.  Crypt of the Necrodancer has an incredible set of soundtracks.  Love the Latin music in the Tropico series.  Then again, I recently played Superhot and the lack of music fits the minimalistic style.

MBG – If you had to choose a game as your all-time favourite, which one would it be and why?

Brian Westbrook – Super Mario Bros 3 is as close to perfection as possible.  I’m currently obsessed with Rocket League and have probably spent more hours on that than I have combined in all my FF4/6/7/9/X playthroughs so have to give that consideration.  FTL is a game I can keep coming back to and get hooked on for days at a time.  Tough to really narrow it down.

MBG – Do you play videogames while you are touring or do you prefer to play them alone at home?

Brian Westbrook – I keep planning to play some RPGs on long drives but I end up sleeping instead, haha. I have an old laptop loaded with emulators and a handful of Steam games with me but there’s less free time on tour the more and more we get deeper into it.

MBG – If you were to develop a videogame, what kind of game would it be?

Brian Westbrook – I’ve always gravitated toward games that allow for experimentation and replayability or have totally unique styles of play, usually through physics-based gameplay e.g.  Rocket League, the Skate series, GTA, or roguelikes like FTL, Rogue Legacy, Crypt of the Necrodancer.  But I also like games with an engrossing story or plot – Final Fantasy, Mass Effect, Dead Space, Superhot, Papers Please.  So my ideal game would be some combination between those – a physics-based indie roguelike with a good story.

MBG – What is your opinion on rhythm games like Guitar Hero or Rock Band?

Brian Westbrook – Haha.  I have a long history with rhythm games – grew up playing DDR, discovered Frequency and Amplitube on PS2, then Guitar Hero and eventually Rock Band from there.  I was one of the earliest members of the Guitar Hero custom song community and from that involvement I ended up working for one of the main companies that created songs for the Rock Band Network for a number of years, and had the chance to work closely with the developer Harmonix and playtest early versions of Rock Band 2 and 3.  I even taught an after school program for 4 years where I had the kids develop their understanding of music, rhythm, and theory through playing Rock Band.  Safe to say that rhythm games have been a huge part of my life.

MBG – If you guys were to cover a videogame song, which one would it be and why?

Brian Westbrook – I’m actually working on a side project to do doom metal covers of video game music.  Lich King would probably be best doing Megaman because it’s usually fast-paced, minor key, lots of notes and guitar shredding.

MBG – Are you playing any games right now?

Brian Westbrook  Currently playing FFX remaster, Long War 2 mod for XCOM2, Rocket League, GTAV online, Jackbox Party Packs with friends, but out on this tour I’m hopefully gonna revisit Chrono Trigger or FF6.

MBG  You are playing for the first time in Portugal at SWR Barroselas Metal Fest XX. What can we expect from your concert?

Brian Westbrook – Expect a bunch of tracks for our new album, a good selection of older material, relentless speed, some on stage antics, and hopefully a receptive crowd for our first time ever in Portugal.

MBG – I want to thank you once again for accepting to give us this interview.  Anything else you want to say? Any comments?

Brian Westbrook  Go check out The Omniclasm:

And if you like what you hear, come to a show, buy a shirt, help us survive out on the road so we can reach as many places and fans as possible.

Francisco Xavier

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