Brian O'Neill of UWeekly.com recently conducted an interview with DRAGONFORCE guitarist Herman Li. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
U Weekly: Herman, enquiring minds want to know... Dude, how do you shred so hard?
Herman: "(Laughter) I don't know! That's one of those hard to answer questions. We just play what we think sounds cool and if people think that's cool then we have something in common."
U Weekly: It does surprise many that you never took any formal lessons in your life...
Herman: "No, I pretty much learned from watching videos and listening to music, things like that. I never had any guitar lessons or anything like that. I just played and tried different things and work it out and see what works and what doesn't. I can't read music either. I did think about (taking lessons) but I never really had the time. I used to skip my music lessons when I was in school, anyway. All that stuff about timing and reading, I just skipped it and didn't go."
U Weekly: You call yourself "video game metal." Where does that come from?
Herman: "Our musical influences actually come from video game music! Games in the '80s had great melodies because back than, with such shitty sound to work with then, I guess they had to make great melodies."
U Weekly: Is DRAGONFORCE the only "real" metal band on Ozzfest?
Herman: "It's hard to define what metal is. I think there are a lot of metal bands on Ozzfest — you can say they pretty much are all metal bands — but metal has evolved. As times progress, things change and people approach it differently. People think that metal has to have solos — which I actually don't disagree because metal is the only kind of music that you really can kind of let your guitar go sometimes — but I think there are a lot of great metal bands on Ozzfest like STRAPPING YOUNG LAD. There are some cool bands onstage."
U Weekly: Regardless of what it exactly is, bands that sound like you are not getting signed to big labels such as Roadrunner and playing Ozzfest. What do you think accounts for your rapidly growing popularity?
Herman: "I think it's because the way we approach the music us mixing up styles makes us different from those other bands. That and our live performance is what make us DRAGONFORCE. We do have an identity, people hear our songs and they know who we are."
Read the entire interview at UWeekly.com.