Feature/Interview: Don’t Fear the Dark – A Heavy Metal Children’s History Book Series (Lav Nandlall)

If Dr. Seuss and Ozzy Osbourne spent a crazy night out on the town, then this would be their story. Don’t Fear the Dark is a colourful children’s book detailing a loose and lucid history of metal music from its inception in the 60s to now. The first book sets the pace and the scene, and flows into a series of ten other books.

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The eleven books aim to educate young headbangers about a music scene that is often overlooked in society as well as inform the “littles” that there is nothing to fear about metal music. The book appeals to tiny tots and metal music lovers who love a good slash of alternative history.

Wordsmith, Lav Nandlall, isn’t just a fan of metal music but is also an avid supporter of the scene in South Africa and abroad. She is the managing editor of Pure Grain Audio, a Canadian-based alternative music website as well as freelance music journalist who has penned delicious stories about many bands such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Metallica. South African artist, Kaylee McHugh, brings the words to life. The layout was crafted by South African designer, Jeanine Breuer, who saw great potential in creating not just any book, but a book for many future generations.

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Lav Nandlall by Kaylee McHugh

Don’t Fear the Dark Vol. 1 details the birth of metal, and in the ten volumes later, the story unfolds to the evolution of the metal scene around the world. There aren’t many commercial books on the topic of metal music nor are there any books for younger audiences, so this is a first of its kind. It opens discussions about musical inspiration, artistic careers, style statements, adventure, and the macabre. People who are curious and intrigued by a world of music will find that there’s something in there for them.

The first book is available to pre-order at R150-00 (excluding shipping) directly from the author. To secure your copy please contact Lav Nandlall.

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Metal Duchess – Credit Ruan de Witt
1. What an amazing idea. How did you come up with it?

The original idea was actually to create a poem about the origins of heavy metal. I was moving house about 3 years ago and while packing my collection of 200+ music-related books, I decided to sit on my bedroom floor and write poetry about metal. It was really just procrastination at that point but it churned in my mind for a while. Last year, the poem turned into a series of children’s books.

2. It’s no easy task to condense metal and rock into just a few pages. Do you find you’re having to be really picky about what you cover?

Oh yes! There’s so much that I want to add but a lot of things were left on the editing floor. I want to make sure that the basics of Metal is covered but I only have 24 pages to do that. The editing stage is brutal!

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3. This is the first in a series. What genres and events are going to be covered in future books?

There’s NWOBHM, Death, Black, Nu-Metal and the list goes on. My favorite is the two-part book which glazes over the Global metal scene that’s split into Northern and Southern Hemisphere. That’s one cheeky way to make sure that South Africa (my motherland) gets some press about it’s amazing heavy bands.

4. Tell us a bit about the artwork. It’s really striking.

The artwork is done by Kaylee McHugh – who knows nothing about metal! We brainstormed ideas and settled on a Chibi style. It’s cute, universal and has longevity. Kaylee rocked it by doing her own research on the bands and created the details. Designer Jeanine Breuer made sure that the look and feel remains simple and that nothing detracts from the illustrations.

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5. A young child comes to you and asks you what ‘heavy metal’ is. What do you say?

My niece asked me that and my reply is still the same: it’s something that gives you goosebumps – the good kind. Also, when you’re sad, happy or just want to be alone – Metal is always there for you.

6. As a heavy metal father to a son who got into metal at a young age, what advice would you give parents who might be a little wary?

The book not only tells about the origins of metal, it’s a conversation starter. That can be a good or bad thing. Also, the child might want to know who is Ozzy and what does Motörhead sound like? That’s all on you! Blast that Ace of Spades …

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