5 Questions With DragonForce’s Herman Li: Longevity, Babymetal, German Pillows + More
DragonForce kicked off the year as part of this year’s 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise where we caught up with the band’s guitarist Herman Li. He talked about DragonForce’s longevity as well as the release of their upcoming compilation ‘Killer Elite.’ He also talked about his respect for Babymetal and his experience collaborating with the band. Check out our full interview below with guitarist Herman Li of DragonForce:
With so many bands on the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise, which band would you want to be in on this boat aside from DragonForce, and why?
I wouldn’t want to be in any other band to be honest, a band is beyond music it’s about who you get along with and stuff like that. I don’t know these other bands well enough. What kind of history they have? What dark side they have? I’m happy being in DragonForce.
Is there any progression on new material?
Well we’re always working on new music but you won’t see a new album out this year. We are going to release something called ‘Killer Elite’ which is a compilation of old songs and new songs all put together like a double CD thing with a DVD and stuff. For fans that have only heard a few songs, maybe they’re missing out on best songs from the old albums.
The fact that DragonForce has been around for the amount of time where you can put together a compilation package for fans, what does that longevity mean to you personally?
I guess these days, it’s really tough for people to get bands together and to start a band and keep it together, too. The music industry has changed so much that it is really a challenge for any young band to kind of keep going. Most bands don’t really make any money from the first few albums in the old system, the new system, I’m sure they didn’t make it better for anyone else. You have to soldier on and hopefully you work because you love the music because if you love the fame and the money obviously there’s no guarantee return for sure. If you love the music, no matter what happens you had a good time.
DragonForce are playing Wacken Festival this year and many other European festivals. When on tour, what is one non-electronic thing you must have on the road with you?
I guess socks and underwear, I don’t know. You know what? I bring my pillow with me these days because when doing a tour and sleeping in a hotel – I hate the pillows in Germany. In German hotels, I absolutely hate the pillows, oh my God! So I bring my own crappy pillow, my pillow is such crap right, it’s so crushed up and it’s like 20 years old. I sleep the best on it so I just bring that with me. Sam [Totman] was jealous and was like, “I wish I brought my pillow, too.”
You and Sam collaborated with Babymetal, what are your thoughts on the band as a whole?
They have a really original mix they do, a mix of different styles of metal together with the whole J-Pop vibe. I know the guys that work on the Babymetal on the songs and stuff, and they are really big metal fans, they’re really good guys and really love the music. Obviously the girls are young and they just got into that but they were really great performers. They’ve been doing it for a long time, I feel like they haven’t had the same childhood as a lot of people doing that kind of performing but they are really professional.
When I was their age, there’s no way I could have done that stuff. They’re able, I think, to cross over and to bring people that never listened to metal into this genre to discover. So they’re really an important band right now. For example, we got a lot of fans into metal because of 'Guitar Hero.' I think they are a really important band to do this, we need more people like that who are able to do something different and they’re cool girls. I liked working with them
Thanks to Herman Li of DragonForce for the interview! For more information on the band’s live DVD 'In The Line of Fire,' go here!