Star Scene: Herman Li – Dragonforce

Dragonforce is a power metal band from England who formed in 1999 under the name of Dragon Heart. Dragon Heart/Force quickly became known for super-fast melodic riffs, soaring vocals and mythical theme scapes. The band, led by guitarist and principal songwriter Herman Li, have forged a name for themselves across seven studio releases and back to back international tours.

Dragonforce are no strangers to Australia, having toured here on a number of occasions but in different incantations. The band on the back of their latest release, Reaching into Infinity, are returning to our shores, and I caught up with Herman, to talk all things Dragonforce and the up and coming Australian tour.

To go back to your origins, as Dragon Heart, what were your initial influences?

You know we have been hearing a lot of great feedback on social media for the new album and we would like to thank everyone for this.

“I guess the early day influences are the same as now, but now we are more open. It just takes time to create and develop a new sound to build your band around. So things haven’t really changed there you know but as a band over time you grow with the influences you have.”

What are your fondest memories of your early days?

“Well in those days you just try and have fun and every show is amazing and so fresh. You don’t have to worry about the pressures of being in a professional band and everything you receive and hear about and feedback is exciting. As a band is established to a certain extent you become a business and your reaction to things over time as you come across them again and again is different. But my fondest memories are of the excitement of playing and just having fun.”

To Reaching into Infinity, how do you see this album and what is its place within the bands back catalogue?

“Well its, every album is a continuation actually, on the previous album. It is about improving and moving on, it is not necessarily better than the previous, but you build on it with the skills that you develop, or maybe take on from other things. So it is definitely a Dragonforce album but it is a Dragonforce album that is an extension of our back catalogue and what we do.”

Dragonforce is renowned for its lightning fast riffs and melodies, where does the need for speed come from?

“It’s from our influences of thrash and death metal that we were listening to when we were young. We never thought that it was fast it just sounded good to us as it was what we were in to. When people started to come up to us and say how fast we were, we were like really? This is just us. So you know I don’t necessarily see us as a fast band, it is just us and what we write.”

Where does your song writing come from, what influences you?

“Pretty much everything. There is not just one thing we are inspired by. So many bands throughout our entire career have influenced us in some way as far as writing goes, but really it is everything around us. It is also things like video games as we loved music in the video games that we played when we were younger.”

In 2011, Marc Hudson joined the band as vocalist, a major line-up change, what does he bring to the band and where did you find him?

“We were asking for auditions via singers sending us YouTube clips. Marc is a more melodic metal singer with prog influences than the previous singer, who was more hard rock in style. They fit in differently and this is represented in the music that we wrote with them and also in the melodies that they create.”

What can Australian fans expect from the up and coming Dragonforce tour?

“We actually haven’t played a headlining show there since 2009. Since this time we have been on the Soundwave bill. We are excited to come back and play a full show. It is an energy packed show, it’s full on and we don’t stand around just playing.”

Finally, is there anything you would like to say to your Australian fans ahead of your tour in June?

“You know we have been hearing a lot of great feedback on social media for the new album and we would like to thank everyone for this. We are really excited to be coming back there and I can assure you that we won’t disappoint.”

It was a treat to talk with Herman and discuss the history of the band, the latest release, Reaching into Infinity, and the up and coming Australian tour in June. If you are a fan of the band, power metal, or just any melodic metal, I urge you to check them out in coming weeks. The tour is being promoted by Destroy all Lines and begins on the 20th of June in Perth before heading to Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane. Please visit www.tickets.destroyalllines.com for more details.

 

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