Q&A Time! Talking Bardcore & Roleplaying With Hildegard von Blingin’

June 30, 2020 by brennon

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Hildegard von Blingin' has managed to capture our attention over the last few weeks with some quite excellent "bardcore" music; Medieval takes on songs by the likes of Lady Gaga, Radiohead and Gotye.

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With that in mind, we thought it would be great to catch up with Hildegard themselves and learn more about their taste in music and a little bit of their nerdy background too!

B: First off, could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about what you do?

Hildegard: I go by Hildegard online, though it isn't my real name. It's a moniker inspired by the German Saint Hildegard, who was a Benedictine abbess with an absurd number of skills and accomplishments. I can only hope she'd get a kick out of what I'm doing. Music has always been a passion of mine, particularly Early music, but my day job is actually as an illustrator for film and TV.

B: Your channel, Hildegard von Blingin' on Youtube, has taken off recently but could you tell us how you got started taking these well-known songs and giving them that Medieval spin?

H: My channel began with two videos that used instrumentals by Cornelius Link, who I credit for really getting the ball rolling on bardcore. People have been genre-flipping modern songs to Medieval covers for years, but when his videos went viral, it really bolstered the genre.

After those first two videos, I decided to make my own instrumentals with whatever instruments I had lying around, and the free program Garageband. There's a lot you can do on your own at home, which is the wonderful thing about making music today.

B: Of the songs you've created so far, which one would you say you had the most fun working on?

H: I've enjoyed making all the instrumentals and recording the vocals, but I particularly started to relish the process when my family gifted me with the Medieval Era II sample library for my birthday.

It offers an incredible range of instruments, and I felt the possibilities open up when I started adding nyckelharpa and viola da gamba to "Somebody That You Used to Know". It's so satisfying when you start to see a song come together just past the halfway mark.

B: We heard that you've done a lot of gaming yourself. Could you tell us a bit about your time tabletop roleplaying in the likes of D&D and Pathfinder?

H: My dad was in the vanguard of nerds playing D&D when Elf was still a playable class. He and his friends nearly flunked out of University thanks to their antics, but also exposed me to the wonderful world of tabletop gaming at an early age.

I used to play with his original gaming group and later went on to play with friends my age, as well as my brother (known as Friar Funk on my channel), who has been DMing for many years. From D&D to GURPS, to Paranoia, to Pathfinder, to Mutants & Masterminds, these games have been a staple in my family for as long as I can remember.

B: Do you have a favourite character you've played during your time roleplaying?

H: I'm currently playing a character in a Pathfinder game that I've grown quite fond of. His nickname is "Gauche", and he's a young witch from Galt with a pet rat and a mysterious patron known as the Tatterdemalion.

He's creepy yet innocent all at the same time, like an archetypal horror movie child crossed with Oliver Twist, and my commitment to playing him with a French accent has made him pretty memorable. I've played a lot of unremarkable characters over the years, so this was my attempt to get outside my comfort zone and do something different.

B: We also heard that you've done LARP too! Could you tell us a bit about your characters and your experiences with it?

H: Yes, I finally worked up the courage to try LARP over a year ago. I've made some amazing friends and finally understand that while it looks pretty goofy from the outside, it's a lot of fun when you're actually experiencing it. It includes all the things I love about tabletop roleplaying but also works in combat, costume design, and camping.

I've only played a small handful of PCs to date, namely a scaled undine paladin who started with almost no knowledge of the common tongue (which meant I couldn't speak English with other players), and a villainous con artist psychic in a Lovecraftian 20s horror LARP. In the latter case, I was planted by the game runners to be a secret cultist, and I died at the hands of an angry mob. It was great fun.

B: Also, and possibly even cooler, you also do a bit of historical fencing too! How did you get involved with that?

H: I got into HEMA almost ten years ago, and practised pretty regularly for several years. There was a long lull in between, but I recently got started again thanks to the emergence of new groups in my area and my brother's renewed obsession. It's a martial art that has gained a lot of traction in the last decade, and more and more clubs are popping up around the world.

B: Finally, what songs have you got your eye on to have a go at giving that Medieval spin to next?

H: I have a list, but sometimes songs need to sit on the shelf for a while. I'm hoping to put out some Linkin Park, and maybe "Nothing Else Matters" or "Seven Nation Army" soon. It's pretty unpredictable what suddenly catches my interest, so it's hard to ever say for sure, but I'm definitely hoping to make more.

Make sure to check out Hildegard and Hildegard von Blingin' on YouTube for a wealth of excellent "bardcore" music. They are pretty awesome to have on in the background whilst you're working as I've been doing that for the past few weeks!

You can also check out Hildegard von Blingin' over on Soundcloud if you would prefer too!

Which is your favourite from the current collection of songs?

"From D&D to GURPS, to Paranoia, to Pathfinder, to Mutants & Masterminds, these games have been a staple in my family for as long as I can remember..."

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"I got into HEMA almost ten years ago, and practised pretty regularly for several years..."

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