In the wake of the Texas Gentlemen’s newly released first album, the self-titled debut of Secret Ghost Champion-successors Earthchild Imperius, and upcoming records from Oil Boom and Dead Vinyl, the fall is already full of new local music. But in terms of sheer creativity, they hardly compare to what Lindby is doing. For one thing, the Arlington-founded pop collective is putting out a new song every two weeks at the end of their own regularly scheduled podcast. For another, the podcast features the band playing Dungeons and Dragons.
Does that sound nerdy? The band – composed of Ali Grant-Claset on vocals and keyboards, her husband Kyle Claset on bass and vocals, Nick Goodrich on guitar and vocals, and Nick Spurrier on keyboards and vocals – arose out of friendships made in UTA’s music program. So you could probably pigeonhole them as band geeks, orch dorks, or similarly lunkheaded epithets. They don’t care. While they’re musicians in real life, they are just as happy to be pretend ones on the internet.
Called bomBARDed, and available for streaming on iTunes and other channels like podbean, Lindby’s bi-weekly podcast showcases the exploits of the halfling rogue Randy (Spurrier), the dwarf druid Razzul (played by Goodrich), and Yashi, a half-orc fighter (portrayed by Grant-Claset), with Claset as the campaign’s dungeon master. Claset, who says he’s been playing D&D since he was 14, writes the adventures, while Goodrich produces – recording, editing, and adding sound effects and musical cues (Spurrier scores the game’s soundtrack) in post-production.
Claset said that the band started playing D&D for fun but got interested in turning their gaming into an online radio show format after discovering other popular D&D podcasts like Adventure Zone and HarmonQuest.
During their initial campaigns, Spurrier played a bard character and supplemented the action with live instruments.
“He had a little thumb piano,” Goodrich said. He would “do a spell and play his little thumb piano, and we said it would be super funny if we all played as bards, because we all play” music.
To make their games even more interesting, the band came up with an additional musical component: writing songs to complement the story, with their arrangements determined by the dice rolls of an octahedral die.
“We have diatonic C through B-diminished and an eighth side that’s re-roll for now,” Goodrich said. “Depending on the situation we’re in currently in the story … we’ll use the chords that we roll and make a song.”
The fourth episode of bomBARDed comes out on Wed, Oct 4. Because of the open-ended nature of role-playing games, Claset’s story has no projected ending, so Lindby could conceivably write multiple albums’ worth of music based on the songs made for each episode. And the music’s complexity moves with the plot. Claset said that right now, the characters basically know tritonic chords, but their teacher, a wizard named Cymbal (portrayed by Claset), will school them further. Claset’s degree is in music theory, so the narrative has the potential to include some musically heady stuff, though the group’s dice mechanics mostly ensure that they’re not going to roll chords that make for an unlistenable tune.
But apart from the on-the-fly, dice-based musical composition, the band’s characters are solving other in-game problems with the usual array of D&D attributes: weapons and magic. So bomBARDed still appeals to RPG enthusiasts, who may have picked up a musical instrument only in the imagination. The Lindby lads and lass also strive to present their game without the technical know-how that might cause a novice or non-player’s head to spin. “It’s a line we’re trying to ride, explaining what’s happening mechanics-wise but also not doing it every time,” Goodrich said.
Claset estimates that they already have something like 400 subscribers. After only three episodes, they’ve gotten about 3,800 plays, too, which is more than a lot of bands can say when they release new music.