DRAGONFORCE's HERMAN LI: All The New Musicians Have To Also Be Content Creators

March 18, 2024

In a new interview with "The Jasta Show", DRAGONFORCE guitarist Herman Li talked about the importance of musicians acting as content creators on social media in their own right in order to succeed in today's industry. Regarding where fans can find him online, Li said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "So, obviously, for educational stuff, where I analyze music and for music videos, music that I do, DRAGONFORCE YouTube, that's where you get the stuff. I analyze shit from Machine Gun Kelly. Can he actually play the guitar? To, obviously, DRAGONFORCE music. We try to give a bit of educational stuff, like how to set up the guitars, how do you fix this shit in the world of guitar music, so that's the DRAGONFORCE YouTube channel. If you wanna talk crap to me, [you can go on] Twitch. I do my live stream twice a week, most of the time. So, Tuesday and Thursday, usually about 1 p.m. Pacific time. And I do reaction, I jam guitar, play video games. And if you want me to do some really stupid joke shit, usually TikTok, I like to do some stuff and do some collab with other people. And then I've got an Instagram and all that stuff. And that's just the usual stuff, I have to say. But at least I try to separate those contents. Some stuff works better on TikTok and stuff; some stuff works better on YouTube."

Asked if he still does all the video editing himself, Li said: "I used to do all of it. I stopped doing it, like, I guess, a couple of years ago; I just didn't have the time to do it. I used to do the thumbnail, the editing. During the pandemic, I had much more time. Now I don't have the time because I've still gotta play in a band."

Regarding which of various channels pays the best, Herman said: "I think YouTube is probably the best, I would say. I don't ask people to donate me money. I don't do that. I'm just there. You guys like the content, you watch it. That's just me being me. I don't wanna ask people for stuff. So, YouTube, and then Twitch; they're good. But I would say if there's one — the best one out of all of them is definitely YouTube, when it comes to monetizing for any content creator or musicians. If you wanna make a go at it, I think YouTube is the one to do right now. Right now — maybe time changes. At one point, it was Twitch. It kind of switches around the scene.

"If you wanna make it in music business, I think you've gotta be active in all the platforms," Li explained. "If you're coming up now — not the old-school guys, but now it's important to be doing all of them. I think all the new musicians have gotta be content creators and understand how that world works, because musicians, you're technically an influencer anyway, without wanting to be. So you must understand how the whole business works. And that will help you be able to make the music you love even better."

Speaking about TikTok, which is an essential promotional tool for music artists and record labels in 2024, Li said: "Actually, TikTok is the funny thing. It's hard. You know the transition, right? MySpace transitioned to Facebook and then Instagram. Those transitions were easier. I think a lot of bands and musicians have real trouble transitioning into the TikTok. And TikTok brings a new audience as well, completely. And a lot of musicians haven't been able to crack how that would work. But it's basically a mini YouTube, I call it."

Li also discussed the issue of where his official music content should reside, particularly when there are one or more record labels involved.

"Musicians now face this problem, is where do you put your music video?" he said. "A lot of them put it into the record label web site. You see Nuclear Blast, labels like that, they have the music videos, and artists are not using their own YouTube channels to do that. And it's a real tough thing that I have to think about — what do I wanna do? Do I wanna put it on a record label [YouTube channel], which is much more active because they're always releasing music? They have other bands. And the algorithm is gonna work better. You might get more views, but at the end, I still think it's better to put it on your own personal YouTube channel. Instead of having that instant glory, you're building something of yourself. You have your YouTube channel, you get your own subscribers, and when you do your tours, like in the United States, those tour dates will show up on your music video. If you put it on your record label web site, they don't show tour dates of where you're playing. You can't change the description and tell people when your next tour is coming, when there's merch. You're working for the label to advance their channel. So I think all bands, really, at the end of the day, you've got to make your own YouTube channel and put it on your own thing. It doesn't matter. You don't get your first more views, maybe, but there's no easy build-up for anything."

DRAGONFORCE's latest album, "Warp Speed Warriors", was released on March 15 via Napalm Records.

On "Warp Speed Warriors", DRAGONFORCE — composed of of guitar virtuosos and founding members Li and Sam Totman, singer Marc Hudson, bassist Alicia Vigil and drummer Gee Anzalone — explore a wider range of varying musical styles than ever before, evolving their sound throughout the exciting musical journey while still staying true to their roots.

"Warp Speed Warriors" was produced, mixed and mastered by Damien Rainaud at Mix Unlimited in Los Angeles, California with Sam Totman and Herman Li.

DRAGONFORCE's platinum-selling single "Through The Fire And Flames" brought the London-based Grammy-nominated extreme power metal group international acclaim and was featured as the most challenging song on "Guitar Hero III".

In March 2019, the "Through The Fire And Flames" music video reached a new milestone: it surpassed one hundred million views on YouTubeDRAGONFORCE's first music video to do so.

"Through The Fire And Flames" is the leadoff track from 2006's "Inhuman Rampage" album, which was officially certified gold in July 2017 by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) for sales in excess of half a million copies.

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