How Music Influenced Lord of Columbia and Neo Skyehawk
We often associate musical influences within our works. For those of us who write fantasy, it often means we’re diving deep into music that allows our creative juices to paint a picture in the mind consisting of mountains, forested scenery, rivers, and streams, among others.
Even in urban fantasy, this may bode true as well, with a main cast holding a set of magical powers the masses lack, often discovering lost or ancient secrets about the world in which they live.
Whether I’m writing, in the gym, or driving, almost every single piece of music I listen to has, in a way, influenced scenes and dialogue in both Lord of Columbia and Neo Skyehawk. Below are my favorite bands and composers, as well as details to how each affected my writing.
Yes, the power-symphonic metal band founded by Tuomas Holopainen that hails from Finland. Nightwish has been around since 1996 and have not looked back, releasing eight albums, and that doesn’t count EP’s and compilations. Their next album is set to be released sometime in 2020, with recording to begin in 2019.
My favorite Nightwish album is a race between Imaginaerum and Endless Forms Most Beautiful.
Favorite songs include Elvenpath, Beauty and the Beast, A Return to the Sea (Angels Fall First), Stargazers, Sacrament of the Wilderness, Moondance (Oceanborn), She is my Sin, the Kinslayer, FantasMic (Wishmaster), Bless the Child, Dead to the World, Ever Dream, Beauty of the Beast (Century Child), Dark Chest of Wonders, Wish I Had an Angel, Ghost Love Score, Higher than Hope, Live to Tell the Tale (Once), The Poet and the Pendulum, Amaranth, the Islander, Last of the Wilds (Dark Passion Play), Storytime, Ghost River, I Want My Tears Back, Turn Loose the Mermaids, the Crow, the Owl, and the Dove, Last Ride of the Day (Imaginaerum), Shudder Before the Beautiful, Elan, My Walden, Edema Ruh, Alpenglow, and my favorite Nightwish song of all time, the twenty-five-minute-long Greatest Show on Earth (Endless Forms Most Beautiful).
DragonForce gained prominence, borderline mainstream American prominence, in 2007 when their hit song Through the Fire and Flames became a sensation on Guitar Hero III.
Since listening to Through the Fire and Flames, I’ve become a fan of the band. While I’m not hot on any one particular album, some of my favorite songs include:
Heroes of Our Time, Dawn Over A New World, Starfire, Valley of the Damned, Operation Ground and Pound, Where Dragons Rule, Revelations, Flame of Youth, Through the Fire and Flames, Holding On, Seasons, Cry Thunder, and Wings of Liberty.
Two Steps from Hell/Thomas Bergersen
I combined these two since Bergersen is a composer for Two Steps from Hell along with Nick Phoenix. Like DragonForce, I never really got into the albums; only the songs. You may be familiar with a lot of their works without even realizing so, since Two Steps from Hell has composed music for movies, TV shows, and video games, mainly of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genres, but have done some work for others as well.
My favorite compositions from them are Winterspell, Star Sky, Dragon Rider, Master of Shadows, Fire Nation, Protectors of the Earth, To Glory, Homecoming (a top favorite), Immortal, New Life (a top favorite), Colors of Love (a top favorite), Impossible (a top favorite), Archangel, Sky World, El Dorado, and Never Give Up on Your Dreams.
Brunuhville is an independent music composer from Portugal. I first came across this channel in 2015 and it’s since inspired a lot of scenes, mainly from Neo Skyehawk. This page has millions of views, with some songs reaching such a feat as well.
My favorite hits are Winter’s Tale, Children of the World, Song of the North, Guardians of the Woods, Spirit of the Wild, the Wolf and the Moon, Sons of the Storm, the Last of His Name, Dance with Dragons, Winterwolf, the Hunt, Hero’s Journey, and Tales of Ice and Blood.
Another YouTube sensation, I came across Martikainen in late 2017 and images of both Lord of Columbia and Neo Skyehawk crept into my mind as a result.
My favorite song from Martikainen is Far Away, but there are other good tracks as well, including Set Sail for the Golden Age, Otherworld, the Way North, Oceangate, Lords of Iron, the King of the Highlands, To Valhalla, and the Heart of the Wilderness, among others.
Other Awesome Songs
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I love any song with a Disney feel, especially from the Disney Renaissance Era, and it’s not uncommon for me to listen to Son of Man, Two Worlds, You’ll Be in My Heart, Circle of Life, Colors of the Wind, A Whole New World, and others for inspiration.
Other songs and their bands include Warbeast (Conquest), Emerald Sword (Rhapsody of Fire), Falling Sparrow (Masterplan), Save the World (Powerquest), A Wolf in My Heart (Heidevolk), the Last Stand (Sabaton), My Own Way Home (Allen/Lande), Pine Woods (Korpiklaani), and Wings of Despair (Kamelot).
Yes, the creative juices flow when authors have the right types of music in front of them. Whether they like to listen to music while writing to create a scene is one thing, or if they’re more like me and just enjoy listening to music during a workout while the positive endorphins mixed with creative juices, finding inspiration through music for one’s work is one of the best pieces of advice I can give.