Loda talks about the making of and behind-the-scenes of his new hit song “Hero” and jokes about possibly perform the opening act at TI12.

If you haven't already heard it, the icon Jonathan "Loda" Berg released a song recently called "Hero." Through his ballad, Alliance CEO and The International 2013 (TI3) champion paid tribute to not only his 20-year career in Dota, but also Alliance's 10-year anniversary.

Esports.gg had the opportunity to speak with the legend himself to delve deeper into the behind the scenes of "Hero." One thing Loda confirmed, sadly, is that he has no intention in making a career out of music; not yet at least. Though perhaps for the right opportunity and with a little push, he might just be the next Dota 2 idol who will grace us with the opening act at TI12 in Seattle.

Why Loda chooses to focus on a creep for "Hero"

Thank you very much for speaking with us today, Loda. Can you first tell us what is the meaning behind the title "Hero?"

Loda: "At first, it was just a working title. But the more I get into the vision, especially when working on the video with my editor, the more it felt fitting. The thing is there were more obvious names. Like you could chose names that are not the same like other big songs. But in the end we really feel like this name [Hero] is fitting because of the creep. The creep that dreams of being a hero, which is envisioned in the video. Though I’m not sure if you just listen to the song you’d understand it. When I’m saying that he’s dreaming to be a hero, I don’t necessarily mean he wants to become one of the heroes in Dota 2. He just has some small dreams and just want to play an important part."

"I felt the story of the creep hasn't been told"

Loda on why he chose a creep to be the song's main concept

It’s a simple yet warming concept. It’s the little things that we take for granted.

Loda: "For sure! That’s also a big part of the song. Of course we take the creeps for granted. That’s the whole thing. It’s like they’ve literally been in every single game of Dota ever. The whole song was created from the perspective of “What are these Creeps? What’s their reality?" It’s completely bizarre that they would just spawn, run out and tank for you when you’re obviously so much more powerful than them. You should be protecting them. This is why I came up with the line “I don’t know where I’m going, don't know where I'm from.”

Are there any other reasons why you decide to focus on a Creep?

Loda: "My thinking was around making something for Dota. And I of course thought of some heroes. However, the Creep was the one that ended up stuck with my head. I think with everything you do — this is going to sound lame (laughs) — if you want it to be good you need to have something more. You really need to have that story that you want to tell. And I felt the story of the Creep hasn’t been told."

Behind the scenes and the making of "Hero"

Give us a rundown on all the efforts you took to get this music video created. Who else was involved?

Loda: "Almost all of the music I’ve done, I’ve done it with the same guy. My friend Joakim Sandström. He’s very good in building upon my ideas and we work really well together. We are really good friends and met every now and then to record some kind of music. It’s a natural process. We start with the refrain and then he added the guitar (and other instrumentals). When I first discussed with him, I remember telling him I wanted the song to be a little bit country. He’s a really talented producer and he really gets me. In fact, we made a song together a long time ago called "My Yellow Umbrella - Another Day Another Place."

So he’s the one who does all the instruments?

Loda: "Yes. I do all the vocals and come up with the ideas and Joakim is the musical genius."

What about the video?

Loda: "I asked Twitter if they can help me find a video editor using in-game Dota 2 animation. They referred dmurio, who is Arkosh Gaming's content creator. I really liked what he made before. He seems to understand the comedic vibe of content. And so, I contacted him and asked if he would be willing to join the project. One of the concepts that I really wanted is the creep marching through the battlefield and he quickly got back to me super excited with a storyboard concept. And I was like yeah that’s exactly what I wanted. The process of working with him was smooth and I was happy with how it turned out."

Loda's concept of a creep marching through the different battlefields and terrains (Image via 'Hero' music video)
Loda's concept of a creep marching through the different battlefields and terrains (Image via 'Hero' music video)

Celebrating Alliance's 10-year anniversary

You mentioned that part of the reason why you made this song is to celebrate Alliance 10-year anniversary.

Loda: "The thing is we never finished the project initially, and it is Alliance 10-year anniversary this year. I just felt like this song was quite good and fun to work on, and I decided to finish this project in time for the anniversary."

And toward the end of the music video, we see a set of statues of heroes that Alliance used to win TI3. Any comment on that?

Loda: "I don’t know what else to add. I think everyone knows that story. But I guess it was a fun and smooth way to celebrate that moment a little bit. And I guess more than anything it was like my way to say hello to the boys (teammates) and the fans that were part of that moment."

Celebrating Alliance 10-year anniversary through 'Hero'
Celebrating Alliance 10-year anniversary through 'Hero'

Loda jokes about potentially becoming the opening act of TI12

Anything else you are planning for 'Hero'? What other projects are in the pipeline?

Loda: "Everything’s possible as always. The most important thing for me that it has to be genuine, fun and something people would enjoy. Is it impossible that me and dmurio would do something else? Not at all. I could be the opening act at TI which would be super cool so I won’t rule out anything. I like doing a lot of things generally. Maybe that’s why I do the things that I do in Alliance today."

I could be the opening act at TI which would be super cool so I won’t rule out anything.

Loda jokes about potentially becoming the opening act of TI12

"I love music and I think it’s one of the most enjoyable things to work on. So for the right opportunity, I may do more projects. But I’m not becoming a singer. I’m not intending to sign with a label and become an artist or whatever."

I guess we’ll just have to see what the public has to say. But a TI-winner and esports organization-owner turned famous music artist… that’s a hell of a backstory, don’t you think?

Loda: "Of course if the people want it, I will consider it."

Maybe the fastest we can get is to have you as the opening act at TI12 (laughs)?

Loda: "Certainly! You heard it here first. Maybe I will dress up as a creep or someone cosplay as a creep--now you got me going here. Maybe we can have all cosplayers reenact the music video live. We’ll see!"

Loda and AdmiralBulldog at <a href="https://liquipedia.net/dota2/ESL_One/Stockholm/2022" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Stockholm Major 2022</a> opening ceremony (Image via ESL)
Loda and AdmiralBulldog at Stockholm Major 2022 opening ceremony (Image via ESL)

Future projects, duet with Xiinya and some words for the fans

I am not regretting anything, I am super happy with all my choices. I’m happy with what I have, but now I realize I can do a little bit of what I want every now and then.

Loda on whether he will pursue more music in the future

Will you be pursuing this musical side of your life even further in the future?

Loda: "There are a lot of things you can choose to do. My time with Dota has been quite a journey and what I realized, through my experience as a player and CEO, I cannot do things half-heartedly. If I was going into music, I would really try to pursue it. I’m the kind of person if I’m inspired to do something I need a long time to do so. I do enjoy music but it has to make sense, right? For now, I have Alliance and all the things that come with running an esports organization. I am not regretting anything, I am super happy with all my choices. I’m happy with what I have, but now I realize I can do a little bit of what I want every now and then."

Will you and Xiinya ever do a collaboration together?

Loda: "Of course. If it's with anyone, it has to be Xiinya for sure."

What kind of song do you think you guys will make?

Loda: "I haven’t thought about it at all but now that you ask me, maybe a duet about a Dota player experience. She’d be singing about her problems and I’d be singing mine. But then we come together and we’ll sing about the same problems all Dota players face no matter the level of MMR."

Finally, Is there anything you wish to say to your fans, to Alliance fans and to the Dota community?

Loda: "I’m just happy I’ve gotten a lot of good responses to this song. I’m super thankful for everyone listening and giving their support. This might sound cheesy, but the reason I finished the song is because I enjoy these kind of songs myself. So I wanted to do something with Dota, for Dota, that is genuine. So thank you to everyone because this whole reality that I’m living in is because of all the fans and the Dota community."

Thank you Loda for the interview, and be sure to check out "Hero" now available on:

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