The release of DCC #100: The Music of the Spheres (is Chaos) looms on the horizon, so Dieter Zimmerman takes a look at the relationship between DCC RPG and music in a series of blog posts appropriately titled “The Music of DCC (is Chaos).” Join him as he decides which Goodman Games person has the most embarrassing taste in music, as he interviews some bands associated with DCC RPG, and as he examines songs that specifically reference Appendix N authors and some that are written by Appendix N authors!
The Music of DCC (is Chaos): An Interview with Saint Karloff
It’s probably not a shock to any DCC RPG fan that music heavily influenced the art and style of the game, but it might be less known that the game has also influenced musicians! Saint Karloff is a “hard-hitting power trio from Norway, formed in 2015 at the mountains of loudness” (that’s directly from their Bandcamp page) most recognized by DCC fans as the performers of the song “Spellburn.” Bassist Ole Sletner was kind enough to talk to me about the band and its DCC RPG connection.
Mads Melvold (guitar, vocals), Ole Sletner (bass), and Adam Suleiman (drums) create tunes in a raw and psychedelic style. Mads and Ole grew up together and have been in bands with each other for years, and Ole met Adam in another band in 2012. They all have different musical preferences, but old school psychedelic rock is something they all enjoy.
“I bring in a folky and bluesy vibe to the writing process, Mads puts some far out experimental stuff on the table, and Adam lays down beats rooted in old jazz, prog, and 80’s heavy metal. We try to bring in as much as we can from all that we like to avoid musical inbreeding,” Ole says. “Black Sabbath is of course a big influence. But a keen listener should hear some Heep, Tull, Purple, Toto, White Stripes, Steamhammer, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Maiden, blues, folk, and psych. Probably a lot of other stuff as well. We are all very keen listeners of all kinds of music; if it’s good it probably influences us without us even knowing it.”
The name Saint Karloff is a reference to actor Boris Karloff as you might expect, but it’s a reference to him specifically because he was in the movie Black Sabbath. So the name is also a tribute to Tony, Geezer, Bill, and Ozzy. “We do not like the term ‘Sabbath worship’,” Ole says, “but it is hard to avoid it.”
Ole and Mads played a lot of tabletop RPGs and Magic: the Gathering when they grew up, and Ole still plays today. He lists AD&D, Call of Cthulhu, Savage Worlds, and EON (a Swedish RPG) among his favorites, but he knew DCC RPG was a classic from day one. “DCC had everything I liked about fantasy RPGs. It was lethal for the characters, the magic system was out of this world chaotic and crazy, and it didn’t take itself too seriously. I really like the idea of the funnel,” he continues. “It makes sense that a lot of people would go out and try to be an adventurer, but only a few would make it. I could go on forever about DCC but to cut it short: it made fantasy roleplaying exciting again. Lethal, fun, and innovative and still managing to have an old school feel.”
So, yes: in case there was any doubt, the song “Spellburn” is inspired by DCC RPG. “I dug the spellburn ability in DCC,” Ole says. “The lyrics are about someone who spellburns so hard that he brings the universe down with him in the process.” The lyrics to the song have not been available online anywhere, though…UNTIL NOW!
When the last sun dies, no more stars in the sky
And we’ll all wonder why
Everything’ll be destroyed, even the space in the frozen void
And we’ll all feel alone
The end of the universe, the climax of the curse
And it’ll never get worse
Purple gates of silence, eternal thunderous violence
And we’ll see through our eyelids
Black holes filled with secret light, burning asteroids in fearless flight
And we’ll all be swept away
Endless shrinking galaxies, amazing lands that we have never seen
And no one never ever will
The speed of darkness will accelerate, all black matter will deteriorate
And nothingness will proceed
It has finally been conceived, nothing more will ever be
A silent black eternity
Cold dead dreams
Sleep cry scream
You will never be alive
We will never miss your smile
Stare at the sun
Taste the barrel of the gun
You’re lucky to be able to die
Means you got to be alive
If you haven’t already been listening to Saint Karloff, check them out on Spotify. Their latest album Interstellar Voodoo was just released in October 2019. You can support the band by buying a digital album on Bandcamp, or by purchasing physical CDs, t-shirts, stickers and more from their Bigcartel store. And don’t forget to follow on Facebook and Instagram! Ole wants you to know they appreciate every fan they have. “Feel free to drop us a line,” he says. “We love to hear what you think, and we try to reply to each and everyone who strikes up a chat conversation.”
A final message from Ole and the rest of the band: “We’d like to thank Goodman Games for reaching out and giving us this interview. Goodman Games and Saint Karloff both try to keep it old school in a fresh new way, and in that sense, we have a lot in common. We are both also heavily influenced by old pulp fiction and good music. It is so cool to see how the same influences can bring out all kinds of different art forms, from music to roleplaying games and everything in between. Keep up the good work, we’ll try our best to do the same.”
Thank YOU, Ole! There’s definitely more to come from DCC RPG.