Ever have a morning where you can barely crawl out of bed? What am I saying… of course you have. Everyone has. That soft velvety feel of the sheets and the warmth call back to you as you trudge toward your bedroom door and out onto the always cold kitchen floor. Don’t fear, my friends. There is music that can help that feeling. And that music is Celldweller. In most cases, I have a little bit of time first thing in the morning to get some writing done before I have to start getting ready for work. Those are the reasons I rip myself out of bed at six a.m. every morning. This morning, I had some trouble though. I was very, very tired and almost just wanted to stay in bed. But, I knew that I had an action scene that was waiting for me to write and that in order to do that, I’d have to call upon the services of one of my favorite rock groups, Celldweller.
Celldweller is a music project by Klayton based in mixing electronic rock and orchestral music. I first was introduced to them when I saw a commercial for one of my favorite television shows, CSI, a few years ago. The show was doing a series of character arc episodes for one of my favorite actors, Liev Schreiber, who was a guest on it. They had used snippets of their well-known song “Switchback” for the clip. I fell in love with this song hard and fast. It was everything that I needed to hear and more. A few years later, when I started working on “Vox”, that song came back to me for the climax of the book. To me, the lyrics, the pacing, and the over-all sound all reminded me of my protagonist, Torrent. Since then, I’ve enjoyed digging through some of their past albums and finding inspiration in them for current and future projects. I’ve been listening to them quite a bit while working on Book 3 in The Monstrum Chronicles. Today, I have five of their songs that I’d like to share with you. This time, I’ll talk about why these songs inspired certain parts of my Monstrum Chronicles series. Enjoy!
Unshakeable: This is a song that I’ve envisioned being used in my latest novel, “Memento Mori: Book 3 of The Monstrum Chronicles”. It works for a couple of the protagonists who are beginning to question everything they’ve ever known. One has just been introduced to the fact that there is another darker realm and dark things dwell within it. The other has been a part of that realm for years and is just discovering that he’s been misguided ever since he joined it. These two characters act as opposites of one another which I really enjoy because they are on opposite sides fighting against one another and neither one knowing the real reason why. The title of the song is actually seen as more of a mockery because the things they once perceived to be “unshakable” have completely turned on their heads.
Switchback: Switchback was one of three songs that helped inspire the climax of my first novel, “Vox”. Torrent who is the main protagonist of that book, has been on a mission for the last two hundred and some-odd years to try and change time. He wants to find a way to go back and discover his origins and, hopefully, not become the monster that he now is. He has been trying and fighting to find a way to do this and every time he’s hit a wall which has made him more and more angry and frustrated. The song draws on the rage he feels as well as his hopelessness to be able to do it at all. For me, this song has pretty close ties with Map of the Problematique by Muse which is the other song that I used for the climax.
Blackstar: Probably my new favorite song by Celldweller, this song is an inspiration for Book 5 in the series. It’s theme is very similar to Switchback, except that this time the song isn’t just for Torrent but for Reid as well. I can’t, of course, get into the details of the novel without giving away spoilers… which we wouldn’t want. So I’ll just say that the characters continue to encounter obstacles in which they have to make tough decisions to get passed. Some of those decisions aren’t made with the others consent or are in total violation of their own opinion. Torrent and Reid, while working together, are also very different. What one might have done in a certain situation, the other might have had a much different solution for. This becomes more apparent in the later books of the series.
So Long Sentiment: I was introduced to this song through a fan video that someone made for the PS3 game, Heavy Rain (one of my favorite games). This struck me as being the perfect song for characters who when forced to do whatever it takes for someone they care about, can be capable of doing crazy things. I liked the idea of that and wanted to use it in a later novel, of The Monstrum Chronicles, particularly Book 4. The characters that we met in Vox and grew to love in Aequitas will be up against even greater odds, ones that will ask very great things from them. And each one learns just what they are willing to sacrifice in order to make things better. The dynamic of these choices between the characters and how they affect others is really how the last couple novels in the series are shaped. When I wrote “Vox” and “Aequitas”, I had planned things out ahead of time, wrote the novel and changed it as I wrote it. I’m hoping that Book 4 and Book 5 will be more loosy-goosy in that I let the characters take me where they want to go.
La Puerta Del Diablo: This is the song that I listened to while crafting Harper’s character in “Memento Mori”. Harper was a character that was introduced in “Aequitas” and was seen only through the eyes of Reid and Torrent. In Book 3, Harper is one of the four protagonists that we follow and the only one that is a lilitu. The song is more ambient and less electronica, which plays well as an atmospheric piece. While I listened to this, I began imagining Harper’s origins in a foggy rainy Victorian England and tried to build on the points that make him such a haunted character. Harper shares a lot of Torrent’s anger and frustration because of the way that he was turned. But Harper is also a very curious individual. And he always is wondering what might be someone’s motive for why they are doing something. He frequently questions whether what he himself is doing is for good or not. He can’t quite find a balance between his human and monster qualities.
Next week on Inspiration Through Music, we’ll be checking out trip-hop, break-beat band Kosheen! Stay tuned!