UFI welcomes Brian Freyermuth Author of Demon Dance. Thanks for Joining us!!
Music To Write To
By Brian Freyermuth, author of “Demon Dance”
Sitting down to write is like preparing a meal. You gather your ingredients, whether it’s a comfy chair, or a quiet room at the back of the house. The countless ways that authors prepare themselves are as expansive as the stars that flash across the night sky.
Music is my gateway into my writing. My playlists are waiting when I sit down at the computer, waiting for me to take the plunge into the trials and tribulations to come. What follows are the top ten albums I listened to in order to tell the story of Nick St. James in my debut novel “Demon Dance.”
10) Being Human Soundtrack
I love both the American and the BBC version of this television show, but the title track of the original British version is what really sells the desperate, haunting themes of the show. This was a great piece during those times of longing, when Nick was looking back at his past.
9) Of Monsters and Men, “My Head is an Animal”
On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have this amazing Icelandic band. You can’t have horror without hope, and this band is amazing at making you feel a sense of wonder. Anytime Nick has fallen and needs to get back up, I fire up this album.
8) Sirenia, “Perils of the Deep Blue”
Sirenia is a Norwegian metal band whose dark and gothic music helped me craft my action scenes for Demon Dance. This album is great for when a demon goes rampaging through downtown Seattle. Plus, like the band below, the single “Seven Widows Weep” is great at invoking the whole Norse mythology vibe.
7) Leaves Eyes, “Njord”
Okay, so who wants Viking heroes and Norse mythology? Leaves Eyes has them in spades. This metal band from Germany and Norway helped to inspire a character named Fay in Demon Dance.
6) Coldplay, “A Rush of Blood to the Head”
I love all the albums from Coldplay, but this one especially got me through some of the more painful moments of Demon Dance. Nick is tortured by the loss of his wife, and the songs “Amsterdam” and “the Scientist” helped him work out quite of bit of his issues.
5) Sting, “Fields of Gold” (Lute version)
Yes, you read that right. Sting put out an album called “Songs from the Labyrinth”, which was basically a mixture of his music and classical. I’ve always loved the song “Fields of Gold”, and this version blew me away. It immediately went into the writing playlist for the new novel. Like the “Being Human” soundtrack, it’s a beautiful piece that lifted up Nick’s spirits when all seemed lost.
4) Apocalyptica, “7th symphony”
Four rockers with four cellos. You wouldn’t think the combination of rock and classical would work, but it does. It’s also great for those haunting, scary moments in the book where anything can happen.
3) Lindsey Stirling
Lindsey Stirling’s haunting melodies on the violin inspired quite a few scenes in Demon Dance. From the action scenes to the slower, more thoughtful ones, her evocative songs like “Crystallize”, “Elements”, and “Shadows” helped shape the book into what it is today.
2) Ensiferum, “From Afar”
I am an unapologetic fan of “heroic folk metal”. Ensiferum combines lyrics about unsung heroes and gods with sweeping, heavy metal anthems. The 12 minute long epic “The Longest Journey” played during one bleak scene in Demon Dance, and kept repeating until Nick had escaped.
1) In Flames, “Sounds of the Playground Fading” and “A Sense of Purpose”
I usually choose one or two songs from each album to give me the emotion I need to write a scene. Not so with In Flames. I can actually say that if these two albums were records, they’d be worn out by now. This Swedish band has the perfect blend of angry thrash and introspection. Great for action sequences, and any particular moments where Nick has to defy the odds.
All of these albums help infuse my novels with a mood. Be it the rollicking melodies of Ensiferum or the dire foreboding of Sirenia, each of these help me through the writing process. Different stories need different tracks, and my hope is that I can convey into words what I feel when I listen to each of them.
“I came here,” I told the cat, “to get away from my life. Why did it have to find me?”
The cat’s emerald eyes sparkled with silent laughter. He seemed to know how stupid that sounded, and a thin, brittle smile came to my lips.
“You think I’m an idiot, huh?” I asked. The cat responded with a sharp meow. “Well, so do I.”
I sat up and stretched my neck. “I’m an idiot for throwing the glass,” I told him. “That was some premium Tennessee whiskey.”
The cat meowed again. “As for you,” I said, “you need a name.” The animal wore a dark blue collar I had missed when he came in. There wasn’t an ID, but the strip of cloth had a word printed on the front: Walker.
“OK,” I said, “Walker it is.” I scratched the cat behind his ears, and a rumbling purr vibrated my fingers.
Suddenly Walker’s ears perked up and he sprang from the bed. The hairs on my arms stood to attention, and I swung my legs over the side. My eyes searched the room, seeking a sign in the afternoon gloom of what was crawling across my senses.
That’s when the phone rang. “The Hall of the Mountain King,” made up of singular electronic notes, echoed through the apartment. I leaped out of bed and stood at the edge of the protective circle. The melody repeated itself three times and went silent.
I stood there at the edge of the circle, my heart racing. I strained to hear any movement, and my nose searched for a hint of sulfur. Nothing looked out of the ordinary.
The song blasted the silence again, the tones as simple as a child’s keyboard. With a deep breath, I stepped out of the circle and crept toward the bedroom door. Sensing nothing, I walked into the living room.
The cell phone became silent again, but only for a moment. I managed to snag it on the last ring with an annoyed, “Hello?” Away from the circle I was vulnerable, and I turned to go back to the bed, but the fearful breathing on the other end of the line stopped me.
“Nick?” Caitlin called, as if from a long tunnel. Static overpowered her voice, like energy on a high-voltage wire.
“Cate? I can barely hear you.”
“Nick! Thank God. I need your help!”
I sighed. I came away from my protection for this? “Look, Cate,” I said as I walked back into the bedroom and toward the circle, “we talked about this. You know my—”
“Just shut up and listen!” she yelled. I stopped again as a roaring filled the phone. Screams pierced the background. “I’m in a penthouse at One-Fifty-Five Second Street. Downtown. Get your ass down here!”
“Please, Nick!” Gunshots cracked the phone. “Jesus, the thing has no eyes, how can it see—”
The line went dead.
Brian was also granted the pleasure of writing the missions and dialog for the best-selling game, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy. Working alongside William Shatner, George Takai and Walter Koenig gave Brian a new perspective on voice acting and dialog that influences his renowned style to this day.
In 2004, Brian ventured to the Pacific Northwest where he spent two years honing his design skills at Midway Games in Seattle. He then returned to Southern California, where he spent five years working on various influential brands under the THQ umbrella such as SpongeBob: SquarePants and WWE.
Brian's passion for storytelling would eventually lead to a wonderful opportunity to get back to his writing roots by joining Disney and Junction Point in 2011. During his time there, he co-wrote the story and dialog for the WGA Award Nominee Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, where he worked with comic book writer Marv Wolfman and industry legend Warren Spector to give Oswald the Lucky Rabbit a voice at Disney for the first time in 80 years.
Born in the quaint town of Manitou Spring, Colorado, where he grew up in the shadow of Pikes Peak, Brian moved to California as a teenager, eventually graduating from UC Irvine with a major in Comparative Literature and a minor in Computer Science, both of which he uses in his professional and personal careers. Brian is also a member of the Horror Writer's Association, and loves to write and play video games in his free time. He currently lives in Atlanta with his wife, Juliet, and their son, Kyle.
Find Brian and his books
You can run all you want, but the game's in your blood. And blood never forgets…
Nick St. James was born different. His extraordinary gifts have saved him time and time again, but they couldn't save the one thing he loved most: his wife.
Now he just wants to forget his old life, but more importantly, he wants to forget the magical underworld that lives beneath the "real" world. A place where a man's faith can determine the very fabric of reality. Where ancient forgotten gods walk hidden among us, and angels and demons fight for our very souls.
But nothing stays hidden forever. Nick's peaceful world is ripped apart when a demon slaughters his ex-partner and marks him for death. Now he must use all his gifts to find the one who summoned the nightmarish creature, but more importantly, he needs to find the one thing he lost long ago.