DRAGONFORCE's HERMAN LI: 'I Feel Like I Get Possessed Once I Play The Guitar'

DRAGONFORCE's HERMAN LI: 'I Feel Like I Get Possessed Once I Play The Guitar'

Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life recently conducted an interview with guitarist Herman Li of power metallers DRAGONFORCE. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the decision to name DRAGONFORCE's new studio album "Extreme Power Metal":

Herman: "We actually called our music 'extreme power metal' back in 2004 when we had the sticker that said 'extreme power metal' on it. It's kind of a fun title, a bit over the top, but it goes with the theme of the new album, the artwork and everything like that."

On the 1980s video game theme that is featured on the new album's cover:

Herman: "We've always had video game references in our songs and music since the first album from stuff like the 'The Last Ninja', all the way to newer stuff. It was just a natural thing; we just wanted to do what we liked, that's it. What do we like? We like this kind of stuff. That's it. [Laughs] There's no one there to stop us and say, 'You can't do it.' We have songs, obviously, with video game sounds and weird guitar playing that sounds like a video game like 'Mario [Bros]', we also wrote a song called 'The Last Dragonborn' that's about 'Skyrim', 'The Elder Scrolls' series. Even movies, like 'Starship Troopers', one of the songs is written about 'Starship Troopers' the movie. It's a mix of stuff, kind of fun stuff. Really, this is a 'fun' DRAGONFORCE album, unlike the last album which was kind of a darker, more serious album."

On whether the new song "Cosmic Power Of The Infinite Shred Machine" is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the band's reputation as guitar shredders:

Herman: "It's a joke, a fun thing to say. The reason that title came, not because of only the song, because we didn't want some boring song title that's been used a million times. Not every single song on there has a crazy title, but some songs have to have kind of a title that we used to do, 'Revolution Deathsquad', 'Heartbreak Armageddon', or 'Operation Ground And Pound', some kind of silly, over-the-top titles. This is another one of them."

On embracing Twitch, the popular live streaming video game platform:

Herman: "I was never into the whole social media thing. I find that a bit…I mean, when it started off, Facebook and all of that, I'm sick of people posting about their dinner and really boring stuff. Then it became an advertising platform for bands instead of social media. There's nothing special about it, most of it. [Laughs] I embraced social media now; you have no choice in the band, you have to do it. We skipped it for a few years after MySpace, funny enough. [Laughs] Then Twitch, as a guy, a tech guy, a video game guy, I signed up to it before I started streaming. I thought, 'That's a good idea. I should have a real interaction instead of posting videos that have been done and edited to death on YouTube and on whatever Facebook.' We actually get to really talk to fans and they get to interact and listen to us make the new album. It's a completely different experience. I find that way more fun. They can see the true us. When you see us playing on stage, that's my stage persona, for example. I'm very different when I take the guitar off of me. I feel like I get possessed once I play the guitar. It's a whole different thing. I thought, 'That's kind of cool for fans to see us recording an album.' Thousands of people have actually heard the new album while it was being made. They heard multiple versions of the songs, multiple versions of the solos while it was in progress."

On whether he's happy with DRAGONFORCE's progress as a band:

Herman: "I'm in a very lucky position. This is what I do full-time and I enjoy what I'm doing. Obviously, I didn't have any idea what it was going to be when I started. I didn't think I would be streaming on Twitch, to be honest. I didn't think I had the personality to be live streaming, but it's going well and it's fun. I do it, and all the donation money comes in. I give it to dog rescue. Saving some dogs while doing it."

"Extreme Power Metal" was released September 27. Produced in Los Angeles, California by Damien Rainaud at Mix Unlimited, the disc was also recorded, in part, on Li's livestream channel on Twitch with participation from the fans.

DRAGONFORCE recently parted ways with longtime bassist Frédéric Leclercq.

Leclercq, who became an official member of DRAGONFORCE in 2006, played his last show with the band in August at Elb-Riot in Hamburg, Germany.


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