Lord of Columbia Series

The Story of Columbia

Finding Musical Inspiration for Writing

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.

Nightwish

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

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

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.

 

Antti Martikainen

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).

 

Creative Juices

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.

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18 Comments

  1. Nightwish huh, gonna have to YouTube them right now. Kinda reminds me of Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, which is happening again on Sept. 8th 2019 (tickets cost me an arm and leg). I don’t recall DragonForce then again I’d rather play my guitar than a toy and it’s been a while since I’ve played GH III and I’m pretty sure a few thousand brain cells have been lost since. Will actually have to look up all the music and see what it entails instead of reading about it. Thanks for the insight.

    • Yep, Nightwish is the best ever, in my opinion. Their music and lyrical style can’t be matched. DragonForce definitely had more popularity back in the 2000s, before former lead singer ZP Theart left. I believe he’s now the lead singer for Skid Row, if I’m not mistaken.

  2. joseph webster

    March 28, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Really cool website. I found it easy to navigate and found the layout (theme) aesthetically very nice easy on the eye. I really enjoyed reading your blog post on music and about the different kind music you listen too. Music in my opinion is universal, and all great music and composer create music humans can relate to in so form or another

    • Todd Matthews

      March 29, 2019 at 2:51 pm

      Thanks, Joseph! I’ve always been a fan of simple themes and contrasting colors. And yes, I do agree music can more than relate in the same fashion! 

  3. Hi Todd, I can freely say that listening to music is my hobby especially for motivation. You have mentioned a few and my favorite one is Two Steps from Hell. I always listen to them when I am nervous but also when writing some new piece of content for my website. Thanks for sharing the article and looking forward to more. 

    • Todd Matthews

      March 30, 2019 at 8:51 pm

      Thanks, Daniel. Yes, Two Steps from Hell might be my overall hub. Nightwish is my favorite, but I love Two Steps from Hell when in the gym, when writing, and especially when seeking inspiration. 

  4. Hey Todd,

    That’s interesting.
    I know that music is a great inspiration but I cannot feel it. Whenever I start to write and play a music song on youtube for instance, I lose my concentration.
    I guess it all depends on the mood and the kind of music.
    I am a big fa of Nightwish so I will try that.

    • Hi, Asen, some of us will lose concentration, concentrating more on the music than our tasks. It definitely comes down to individual preferences. And yes, Nightwish is the king of metal!

  5. This is an interesting post about musics influences on authors and writing which is genuinely something I never considered happens but why wouldn’t it happen. Music is powerful and can influence many actions, activities and emotions and can be used to great effect.

    • Music definitely has a power over us. For me, I turn to it for motivation in many upon many circumstances. Writing, working out, and definitely when seeking motivation.

  6. Hi Todd

    Your inspiration reminds me of old school writers and composers.

    Most of their inspiration was nature and some music just like you and no wonder why they created great content as were recognized as great writers.

    I just checked out Brunuhville composers and I liked the song called The Prince of Skyguard..ha ha I think you missed that one on your favorite song list.

    Great content and it is very insightful buddy.

  7. Nightwish is one of my favorite bands. One of their songs I simply adore is Nemo – I didn’t find it in your list. I will have to Youtube the other bands and composers.
    I love Vaghelis -how couldn’t I :-). The epic character of his music is so uplifting! I don’t know why but I picture dragons listening to it! Enya is associated with elves and fairies in my brain, she makes me dream with eyes wide open 🙂

    • I was a big fan of the song, too, but the only problem with the album ‘Once’ was I listened to every song so many times a few started to wear off. I thought of putting Nemo on here along with Creek Mary’s Blood and the Siren, but they wore out a bit over time. Ghost Love Score was almost kept off as well for the same reason, though I listened to it daily once upon a time!

      I’ll have to give Enya a shot; I might do that now since I’m always intrigued by elves and fairies; definitely helps inspire me to write, too.

  8. As a writer myself, I can’t imagine doing what I’m doing without music.
    Sometimes a single song can change my entire mood for quite some time.
    I couldn’t agree with you more – the cinema and music go hand-in-hand.
    Personally, I don’t think that “Titanic” would have the impact that it did without Celine Dion’s “My heart will go on” and that’s just one example.
    Haven’t heard anything from Martikainen, jumping on YouTube to check what I’ve been missing.
    Thanks for sharing, I always enjoy your work, as I bet – so do all your audience.

    • Yep, I agree more than 100% that a song can completely change my mindset. I’m one who simply can’t function in the slightest without musical inspiration, be it in writing or in any other endeavor.

  9. Wow, Todd, thanks for introducing me to this music. I especially like Martikainen.

    I can certainly see how this music inspires your writing. The imagery that pops in my head is great!

    Actually, I’ve been watching the “Vikings” on TV and it has the same sort of music. I love it.

    Cheers,
    Suzanne

    • Martikainen is one of the best, I must say. He definitely deserves more YouTube subscribers, but 127,000 is no joke in the slightest. Vikings has a similar sort, yes, but my favorite Viking-esque band has to be Skald, a newer group but they’re already one of the best.

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