I was able to meet with Herman
Li and Sam Totman on
their bus briefly before their sold out performance at Headliners in Louisville,
Kentucky Monday July 24th, 2006. Many revelations were disclosed as I
embraced my inhuman rampage of appreciation for skittish skulking and
talking about the demoniac's spell burning and binding beatitudes, through
the fire and flames of passion and possibilities.
MettleAngel: Man it's a true honor to sit
down with the twin shred merchants modernizing the new power metal movement.
Sam, I just interviewed you in May when you played the Agora in Cleveland;
but you were several sheets to the fire and wind, so I'm pleased that
now you're more serious and less innebriated.
MettleAngel: Well, since that interview, my audience has been requesting
me to interrogate Herman and get his point of view on the Dragonforce
camp. So my first question for you Herman concerns all this fictive hyperbolic
promotion which I keep reading much to my dismay. All this grandiose personage
provides little variance for perspicacity or perspicuity; as there is
never any reference to your amazing talent and rapid riffing or soaring
leads. This risible and ludicrous publicity seldom focuses on the power
and majesty of the band. Don't you find these comparisons to Star Wars
and God way over the top?
Herman: Well to be honest, I quite agree with
all the bizarre references, and I love this type of promotion. I mean,
really, there is no true way to adequately describe our sound; so
the internet and metal market just makes up all these crazy comments.
Hell we've even been called Bon Jovi on speed.
MettleAngel: Wow! You don't sound anything
at all like Bon Jovi, even back in there big hair days; although, your
ballads do recall the 80's MTV degeneration. I guess it's fair to say
that while on stage you do exude their flourish for energy and passion.
I'm sure ZP knows how to give love a bad name when he spreads his social
Herman: When people hear our music or see us
live, they just don't know what to think. If they are ignorant and
have only heard of us; it's easy to see why they make these silly
comparisons. These people are just plain ignorant. It's like blindly
judging techno music, saying that it all just sounds the same; when
of course, after careful scrutiny, it obviously does not. You have
to really listen to it and involve your self in it, to gain any type
of appreciation for it. This goes double for Dragonforce fans. Sadly,
most people are just too damn lazy to do this, which just leads to
even more internet name calling and all this bullshit.
MettleAngel: Well I definitely see what
you mean. It seems like I'm constantly defending your band while trying
to get people to really check you out. I guess it's us Americans who are
to blame for our indolence and complacency.
Sam: No, actually, I'm here to tell you it's
the same exact way in Europe. Their magazines seem to say the same
stupid things; all the while they also continue to make similar stupid
comparisons. It's only in Japan where the fans and magazines get it
all right. They know and appreciate music; they take their metal to
heart, quite seriously. The Japanese truly intuit and they just get
MettleAngel: Well Japan has always been the Heavy Metal capital
of the world, so I can see why this is true. Now given your universal
approach with members from all over the world now playing in this band,
how has the crowd response been for your live shows here in the States?
You did extremely well last time I saw you in Cleveland, when you were
only playing eight dates. Now you have progressed and advanced performing
on the Ozzfest mainstage.
MettleAngel: Then, given your amazing talent
for playing this style of music, whom do you cite as your main influences?
Herman: People always want to know why I play
so fast, it's because I listen to lots of Black Metal, Man.
(Sam:) You know basically, everything I have
ever listened to in my life is an influence, if I like it. If we start
to name certain bands, next thing you know people will claim that
we sound just like them; then we have lost our edge. (Herman:)
We love all types of music except rap, we hate all types of rap!
MettleAngel: I'm sure fans will give you
shit for that, but I appreciate your honesty. It seems to me that if you
like a particular style or genre of music you just incorporate it into
your overall sound, which is still unique.
Sam: It's all good! If we like it, we listen
to it, and if it inspires us, even if it's say a country tune, it
sticks in our heads and later becomes an inspiration when we are writing
MettleAngel: Alright, let's talk about the
name, another source of controversy among your detractors and excoriates.
Early on you were called DragonHeart, but were forced to change the name
due to the other band.
Herman: That was a long time ago, we are not
bothered by this today. There was some other band who claimed to have
the rights to the name and there were also two movies with the same
name. We did not want to deal with the bullshit and hassle, so we
just changed the name before we released our first CD. We are all
over it now.
MettleAngel: Well that's good to hear, since you are way better
than the band from Brazil with that name. Their debut "Underdark"
was very Blind Guardianish with hints of classic Running Wild. Now they
just sound like Grave Digger clones from the "Tunes Of War"
MettleAngel: Now there is a new American
band from Nebraska on Metal Blade called Cellador who are being compared
to you, have you heard them, if so, what do you think of that?
- Herman: I think
they sound more like Statovarius than us; especially the vocalist.
MettleAngel: I just reviewed their CD,
and I will seem them live early next month. I think they sound more like
Australia's Dungeon meets vintage Steel Prophet. With a name like Dragonforce,
many ignorant idiots have dismissed your band as another Rhapsody clone
based on the band's name alone and previous album artwork. What do you
have to say about this bullshit?
- Herman: Once again
these people are just ignorant, so who need them? We'll do just find
whether they decide to listen to us or not; only to find that our lryics
don't really reflect the fantasy sword and dragon motif. The true Dragonforce
fans know the meaning of our lyrics and cover art.
MettleAngel: Speaking of your artwork adorning
the CD cover, what image is exactly represented on "Inhuman Rampage",
and what does this symbolize?
Oh I see, so it's like an updated "Blow Your Speakers"
MettleAngel: Yes I do! Now Sam it's no
secret that you like to partake of the spirits: the beer essentials, to
imbibe and squizzle the fizzled hops and barley from a straw while on
stage, as you scratch the hair of the dog; do you rather prefer this euphoric
feeling and does it actually ennable you to play even better live?
- Sam: Hell yeah,
I like to have fun and I drink a lot; no big deal. I don't smoke (cigarettes),
and I feel it definitely enhances my performance on stage.
MettleAngel: So you are following in the
footsteps of Lemmy or Alexi from Children of Bodom, so to speak?
Sam: Yeah, I'm
not trying to be something I'm not. I'm going to party and carouse
anyhow, so I might as well have fun doing it. Debauchery is just my
way of life, no apologies mate.
MettleAngel: No apologies necessary. Now
getting back to Ozzfest, I heard that a representative from Roadrunner
saw you play live and decided you would be perfect for Ozzfest, is this
MettleAngel: And now you are planning a
return trip to the States headlining in September, right?
- Sam: Yeah, we are working out the details for
that tour now. We may take along some of of our Ozzfest buddies; we'll
just have to see, as nothing is confirmed yet.
Well then I will look forward to seeing you then as well. Real quick Herman,
last time when I spoke with Sam I drilled him on Demoniac. Any chance
of those titles on Osmose ever seing the light of day in the form of remastered
versions with bonus tracks?
Herman: The production on those CDs is horrible
and abysmal. I don't really like to talk about Demoniac too much.
I only played on the last CD anyway. Most of the Dragonforce fans
are not even familiar with Demoniac, and have never even heard the
music. We get used to this, and it does not concern us. We are focused
on Dragonforce and not all of our previous bands. (Just then ZP
walks by and adds this comment) (ZP:) We
are all reprobates, and even our name is gay, but we our proud to
be Dragonforce, and that is all that really matters.
MettleAngel: Well I love Dragonforce and
all the bands everyone was in prior to this line-up. I'm pleased to have
spent this time with you, getting to know the band better. Thank you so
much for taking the time to do this interview.
- Sam: No problem, mate thank you too. (Herman:)
Thank you for knowing so much about, and caring so much for the band,