DRAGONFORCE's HERMAN LI: 'Working With BABYMETAL Was Probably The Smoothest Project I've Ever Worked On'
May 1, 2017
Nocturne magazine recently conducted an interview with DRAGONFORCE guitarist Herman Li. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
Nocturne: A couple of years back you collaborated with BABYMETAL on the track "Road To Resistance" from their "Metal Resistance" album released last year. Since they are the most polarizing band on the scene, did you get any backlash for doing it?
Herman: "To be honest, I kind of don't read the comments on Facebook or Twitter, if they have something bad to say. I read it, but it just goes out the other side. It doesn't really matter to me what people say, because we've had backlashes before when we released our first album and when we started the band. It doesn't really make any difference, because it seems like everyone on the Internet knows everything better than you anyway. They say they know better, but no one is doing anything. So if there's someone smarter that have done something, I'll respect their opinion. But if they haven't done anything, sure you have and opinion and you like music, but we have to do what we enjoy. That's what it's all about. And I really enjoyed working with them, it was probably the smoothest project I've ever worked on. Way more than doing a DRAGONFORCE album. [Laughs] Working with them live as well, they are very professional. We played a show without rehearsing! We just played that one song and we never even played together ever. And then we got to rehearse and do that song live, so it was fun."
Nocturne: We are seeing bands like GHOST, BABYMETAL and others become increasingly popular, and the thing connecting them is that they all have a gimmick of sorts. Do you think a band nowadays needs a gimmick in order to stand out?
Herman: "Yeah, or you can say that it's the 'X' factor. Some bands just have it, and others don't. And, to be honest, I don't listen to GHOST, but I get it. I never listened to stuff like SLIPKNOT, and when we did the tour with them, I thought, 'Okay, I get it.' DISTURBED and all these bands I have no interest for. But when you see them live, you think, 'I get it why people like this.' That's what's setting all these people apart. Even me not liking the band, I still paid attention to that. But you can't simply create that thing, it has to come together. You can consciously think about it but it either comes or it doesn't. To be honest, I think that it's great that some bands set themselves apart because I'm sick of all these bands trying to sound the same. [Imitates growling] I mean I thought metalcore was going to die years ago. It's 2017 and people are still coming out playing the same thing. Fuck. I can understand that it's cool. It's kind of a scene, and you go out and have a good time. But, musically, they are not challenging themselves because maybe they haven't grown into it yet. Some bands like BRING ME THE HORIZON, I never liked their music, but I can see they are challenging themselves and grown to another level. But some bands just keep doing the same thing. They're not doing their own style, they keep doing a style that everyone else is doing. That's fair, it takes the time to grow but it has to be organic, so I'm contradicting myself. [Laughs] How can people grow if it's not organic, that's what they want to play and that's how it is? So don't listen to me."
DRAGONFORCE's new album, "Reaching Into Infinity", which will be released on May 19 via earMUSIC on CD, LP and a special-edition CD and DVD. The follow-up to 2014's "Maximum Overload" marks the band's third full-length studio release with singer Marc Hudson, who joined the group in 2011 following the departure of original frontman ZP Theart (now in SKID ROW).