DRAGONFORCE guitarist Herman Li recently spoke with Valentino Petrarca of WSOU 89.5 FM, the South Orange, New Jersey college radio station of Seton Hall University. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the group's new album, "Extreme Power Metal":
Herman: "This, I believe, really captures the best of DRAGONFORCE. It's a lot of fun, this album. I read a review just earlier — someone said this is our best album since [2005's] 'Inhuman Rampage'. I think that's a good thing. We had a lot of fun doing it... These days, we're just having fun doing our thing, and we really enjoyed making this album."
On writing the album:
Herman: "The songwriting process [was] pretty similar to before, but the approach on it is [to] just have no boundaries and do what we love the most about music, and how we like what we do in DRAGONFORCE. We just threw in everything, including the kitchen sink — all the influences from video games, metal, crazy guitars, from the artwork all the way to the songs. It's over the top and fun. We've got a song written about the video game 'Skyrim'; we have a song about the movie 'Starship Troopers'. We've got a lot of different stuff on it. We pay tribute to video games — classic retro games to newer stuff. Just doing what we love to do... The last two albums [were] kind of dark. We were maybe angrier, I don't know. We're just enjoying ourselves [now]."
On the group's involvement with the video game live-streaming platform Twitch:
Herman: "We're actually going to launch the release of this new album by playing at TwitchCon — [the] TwitchCon opening ceremony in San Diego. The show will be live-streamed to millions of people online, so if they want to watch us play the new songs, they can tune into Twitch. I've been streaming on Twitch for over a year now. I streamed the recording of this new album... so it's good to be able to get them to see [and] hear the results. We've never played any of the new songs live yet, so this will be the first time. It's going to be crazy... I really liked making this album. It has really brought us something new and fun, and I can't emphasize enough how much it was fun to record these guitars live with an audience. Most albums are made closed-doors. We actually opened the doors and live-streamed this guitar-recording and lyric-writing session. It was fun to just talk to fans and do it at the same time, and get their live feedback on it."
Herman: "The best part is meeting people and seeing different places, learning about different cultures. It's not something you can do easily — you can read about it, but actually going out there and seeing different parts of the world, it's a great thing. We learn a lot from interacting with people from different backgrounds."
On his pre-show warm-up routine:
Herman: "I usually just play through the songs a little bit and go through some of the guitar solos, and that will get me warmed up. But the mental exercise is actually more important. You can play your hand exercise, but mentally, you need to react to play along to music. By playing music, you warm up your brain to think about music. Your hands may be warmed up, but you can't control them if your brain isn't really working well. You have to be really mentally in the zone to play the music."
On the advice he'd give young players:
Herman: "Always have fun in what you play. I think that's the most important part. If you have fun, everything else will come and makes you want to keep playing. That's what music [should] be. In the band, I have fun doing what I'm doing — playing shows, making albums — and that's going to keep us going, really."
DRAGONFORCE's eighth album, "Extreme Power Metal", will be released on September 27 via Metal Blade Records.