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Everything has a beginning

Forever lost in a world of make-believe

Masters of the Universe - Mask of Evil
Masters of the Universe - Mask of Evil (1984)

For as long as I can remember I have been inspired to draw and create stories. Even as a child when I sat down to play with my favourite action figures I used to recreate the episodes I saw on television. I started to 'direct' and come up with scenes from my mind.


 

I would close my eyes, so I had the 'blank screen' before the show started, and sang the intro music before announcing the episode titles. I even viewed the action figures from different angles and tried to frame the scene and mimic what I saw in my favourite cartoons.


I have had a few moments in life that have greatly influenced and inspired me to pursue what I can only call a passion. The passion to tell stories. Though I never decided to follow a career in writing each of my choices has been linked to telling stories in some way or another. Some of my earliest memories of this were of me seated at the preschool table, yellow crayon in hand, scribbling the Batman logo on a big piece of paper. All I could think of was Batman and how I wanted to draw the character. I had The Animated Batman series, showing every Saturday morning, to thank for that. The early 90s was such a good time to be a kid and to be inspired to draw. Shows like Gargoyles, The Adventures of Mighty Max, X-Men, Spider-Man, and Biker Mice from Mars, to name a few, filled my mornings and afternoons with amazing stories.


Spider-Man Vol. 4 - Tablet of Time
Spider-Man Vol. 4 - Tablet of Time (1995)

Not long after discovering these animated series, I was introduced to the world of comic books and thanks to my father, who bought me my first two comics, I fell in love with them. Many years with many great TV shows, books, and movies followed. Then we got our first TV game console. It was one of the Famicom (Family Computer) game consoles by Nintendo. Now I could play the games I got to see at the arcade at home. Excellent games like Contra, Double Dragon, Street Fighter, Battle Toads, Megaman, and Robocop.


Later we got a desktop computer and a whole new world of entertainment opened up for me. I got to play games like Duke Nukem 3-D, Half-Life, Worms 2, Red Alert 2, and many others, but there were a couple of games that grabbed my attention and became a big influence on my life. WarCraft 2, Diablo, and StarCraft. Out of the three StarCraft became my favourite. I enjoyed everything about it. The music, story, characters, and art. It ignited a spark in me that never really died, but one that would take some time to properly catch fire. I later learned that all the shows, films, and video games I enjoyed so much also had some of the best music ever written.


 

Due to enjoying these TV shows, I wanted to become a comic book illustrator, but I did not know where to start or if it was even a viable career choice for someone based in South Africa. It was also around my mid-teens that I became more interested in music and the first time when my love for illustration and music merged. I still remember the moment I saw Iron Maiden's album cover for "Fear of the Dark" and I never forgot the beautiful painting by Melvyn Grant. Another cover that had a similar effect on me was Travis Smith's one for the "Still Life" album by Opeth. I played guitar in a few garage bands in high school but knew a career as a 'rockstar' was not in the cards for me.


I went on to study graphic design with the hopes of one day also creating similar artwork to those that graced the covers of my favourite metal bands. Although my day job was in the entertainment industry and made use of my skills as a designer it did not include working with bands and creating art for album covers.


Opeth - Still Life
Opeth - Still Life (1999)

I started reaching out and contacting bands and eventually got my first album cover in 2010 for the band, Black Sun Aeon. Since then I have collaborated with many amazing bands and got to work on some great albums. All the while the passion for creating my music and art grew. It was only much later in mid-2020 that I decided to finally put ink to paper and craft my own stories. It started by forming the dark fantasy project, Brundarkh where I got to collaborate with Caleb Bingham who is an excellent musician and sound engineer. Caleb and I started conversing back in 2008 already and the project quickly started taking shape. Later I reached out to some of my favourite musicians asking them to make guest appearances on some of the songs. The main idea was to create a story-driven experience with each song.


Due to the darker and heavier nature of Brundarkh's music and my growing love for film and video game music, I felt I wanted to branch out more and write music outside of the confines of 'extreme metal'. So in 2022 I had the pleasure of collaborating with a few talented musicians from abroad and got the opportunity to write a more neo-folk-inspired song as well as a 'cinematic-sounding' track. There is immense joy in creating something that has its origins within one's heart and mind. Although we are influenced to a large extent by everything around us and we take a great deal of inspiration from other artists I believe we all have our way of translating what we think and feel into something unique only to us. I hope to inspire others to pursue their passions as I have been by those who came before me and to create places, characters, and stories that are worth getting lost in and worth remembering.


 

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© Heino Brand
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