» Herman/Sam - Dragonforce
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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.

  • Sam: Right on Man, I'm ready shoot!

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 disease...just kidding.

  • 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 Dragonforce.

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.

  • Herman: No, it's been truly great, we are having a really good time meeting the fans and the other bands.

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 new songs.

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.

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" era.

  • Sam: Grave Digger, we definitely don't sound like those wankers now do we?

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?

  • Sam: It seems like no one listens to CD players anymore, as it's all computers; so we just went with that vibe. (Herman:) What he means is that the artwork portrays the image of an MP3 player exploding. Our music is the catalyst and bomb which just blows you away.

MettleAngel: Oh I see, so it's like an updated "Blow Your Speakers" concept.

  • Herman: Well that's the basic idea. Our music is the sonic firestorm which explodes the MP3 player while you are listening to the music, get it?

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 true?

  • Sam: It was a gig he saw us play in L.A. He offered us the deal. Initially, we were not going to be on mainstage; once everything was worked out, we were like alright let's do it!

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.

MettleAngel: 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, cheers!

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