The Time Songhammer Kicked My Ass on the Set of Their World of Warcraft Music Video
Lauren Wickline Death is truly on the way...
"Bring it on, motherfuckers..."
I hear myself whispering that line under my breath and in that moment I've truly lost grip on reality. I'm standing in the middle of a dusty horse arena on a sweltering afternoon with black war paint melting down my face. I'm wearing a cape, gripping an axe with white knuckle intensity, grimacing as I prepare to lunge forward into battle. Yep, that's right, I said battle. I'm not really sure when I fully decided to buy in to the Medieval feud that's brought me to a face-off with the heavy metal warriors of Songhammer. The pair of screaming maniacs decked out in super hero armor are staring back at me, growling and swinging their custom made mallets of death in my direction. They've just slain half a dozen of my fellow evil henchmen and now they look fucking pissed.
The face paint starts to run into my eyes as I charge toward ShredHammer, the taller, balder half of the duo. I swing hard at him and miss. Shred recoils with his weapon and swings it toward my face. Through blurry vision I see the hit coming in slow motion. I feel my feet leave the ground before launching back and landing face first in the dirt. For a split second the world goes dark. This is not the way I expected to spend my weekend.
"And cut!" the associate director yells. "Ok guys, great job. A few more and I think we got it."
The opportunity to fight and die in an epic battle scene doesn't just come along everyday. But there was another reason why the prospect of being hit in the face and falling on my ass countless times compelled me to join the cast and crew of Songhammer's new video, "Death is On the Way." To put it simply--everyone else around me was doing it. Recently, the band that made a huge splash at last year's BlizzCon convention for their song "We Are the Horde," are back. This time they're making an entire music video inspired by iconic game franchise "World of Warcraft." They've put the project together by the skin of their teeth and with a little bit of help from their friends.
What started as a grain of an idea funded solely through donations from a Kickstarter campaign last year has turned out to be was a massive, two-day production with 100 cast and crew members on a sprawling horse ranch in Redlands. When I stopped in to check on the project on the second day of filming, members Ben Stewart and Dustin Miller couldn't believe what they'd created with a little bit of fanboy imagination, plenty of sweat and the sheer amount of volunteers offering support, services and battle skills to make it happen.
"We've both been in bands, recorded albums and shot videos but this is beyond epic, even for your average big rock video," Stewart says. About an hour before he is scheduled to smash me in the face with his Doomhammer, the Riverside band's lead guitarist is sitting very civilized at the craft services table with Dustin, casually brushing aside one of the two stringy tendrils of hair on his otherwise bald head. "There's no way we could've afforded all this, horses, trained riders, if people hadn't stepped in and believed in this just as much as us."
Initially formed between Stewart and Miller as a way to win the BlizzCon songwriting contest (which they did), the duo's popularity has only grown in the past year. Part of it is due to the strength of the songs and the band's overall sense of authenticity when it comes to conveying the WOW (World of Warcraft) universe in song. Miller confesses to playing the game about four hours a day. Even the band's name is taken from the 600-member guild of online players in the US.
"WOW is in the very fiber of our thinking on an almost cellular level," Miller says.
The charismatic lead singer, rocking a thick pair of mutton Wolverine chops, explains how he and Stewart have dedicated every ounce of their lives to getting this video off the ground. "When we got to this point, we'd pretty much cast everyone but the last two weeks has been psychotic," he says. "Like 17 hour days up until 3 a.m. and then up at 8 a.m. answering emails, getting on the phone."
Over course of 50 days since last September, the band managed to crowdsource over $5,000 to film their project. The video is set to premiere in late June.They plan to enter it for consideration at BlizzCon's original movie contest for a variety of award categories including awards for Best Costume, Best Song and even Best Dance Routine. That's right, in addition to all the killing, carnage and heroic action, the group even found a way to fit a choreographed dance number in there.
Next: More photos and stories from the set below