International metal superstars and power metal speed legends DRAGONFORCE have revealed that they will be touring Australia this June and not only that they have a new album due out in May called Reaching Into Infinity. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles spoke to Herman Li (guitarist) about the tour and album.
Great news that Dragonforce are heading down to Australian for a headline tour. Must be a good vibe in the band right now?
Yeah, we haven’t done a headlining tour in Australia since 2009 so it is great to be coming back. We played Soundwave the last two times but no headlining shows on those tours. It will be fun!
Is it hard to keep a lid on the excitement given the album Reaching into Infinity is not out until May?
I agree, considering how much time we spent making the album we just people to be able to hear the music whether that’s live or the actual final recording. It always seems to take two months or so to get filtered down so the rest of the world can hear it.
It has been interesting reading about how Dragonforce approached this album and still playing shows in between recording sessions. Does that help or hinder the process?
It is hard to say but having said that it is refreshing to get out of the studio and play some shows and big festivals. Playing a massive festival and then going back in to the studio can be pretty depressing to when you put it that way. We tried to make sure that we were having fun doing both things at the same time. It was the only way to do it playing in between studio time.
How intense was the recording process? Your bassist Frederic Leclercq said it was intense and tempers were flaring up. Is that how you saw it as well?
I’m ok, I’m pretty calm! I think it always brings something and always takes something so it depends how you balance what you believe in what works to make an album. It is always good to challenge yourself. Personally, if I just stay in the recording studio and just do that every single day and not getting out I would probably go crazy. I think I would have to do something else besides playing the guitar.
Being seasoned professionals was the process of making Reaching into Infinity as tough as you thought it would be?
There has never been an easy album to make, I believe! Maybe Sonic Firestorm was the easiest one to make. I think everything is hard and just because we have made so many albums doesn’t make it easier because we can’t keep doing the same thing again and again. Plus, it is not the same each time either. It’s not like fixing a part in a car which is the same each time, music is different.
How do you balance everyone’s thoughts and ideas considering there are six of you in the band?
I think that’s why the recording process is so long for us to balance the two. To be able to play something and make it feel right it is not a matter of making someone do something. It takes time to be able to get a good feeling and a good result with the music. The same music can be played twice and it isn’t necessarily going to be the same either.
So is there a lot of compromise by giving a bit to gain a bit?
I don’t think there is a compromise in that way when it comes to performing. It just takes longer than you think. It is better to get it right rather than compromising.
Where did the creative concept for the album art come from?
We used the same artist who did the album cover art for Maximum Overload and we pitched the idea to him asking him if he could recreate the logo for us. We wanted the imagery to be in some sort of city with this portal in the middle and a dragon, that’s how we did it! We worked with the artist to create something together.
I thought the idea of pieces of the album done as a jigsaw being released on Instagram was a great idea?
I was going to make it a lot worse for people and double the amount of pieces but I thought I can’t do that! Maybe in a random order next time and just post the picture at the end?
Is there a hidden meaning behind the album title Reaching into Infinity?
Hmm, I think the music is providing a way to escape this crazy world that we are living in. You could be sitting on the bus and just slap on some music, it just takes you away and you can escape. Along with the cover it pretty much says that music is more important than what people think it is. Music has lost its importance in some way but really it is everywhere and people use it to get away. The portal and the wormhole on the cover indicates that music is timeless. I think you could listen to it in ten years time and it will still be relevant.
Do you think the concept of an album is lost based on what you’re saying?
People might think that eighties and nineties music is more important and now with technology there’s video games and iPhones and all sorts. People have forgotten that without the music who cares about the video games or movies because you don’t have the atmosphere. Who cares about the iPhone so much if you can’t play music on it? I think it is forgotten and people take it for granted.
So is the upcoming tour going to be leaning more towards Reaching into Infinity?
Being the new album tour we’ll be playing a few from Reaching into Infinity but of course we haven’t played a headlining tour in Australia for a long time so we’ll be playing songs that our fans didn’t get to hear us play at Soundwave. Each show we try to mix it up as much as possible and fit in as much as we can. We don’t how long it will be before we get to do another headlining tour.
Maybe you’ll just have to play for three or four hours?
Only if my fingers don’t fall off! Three or fours might not be enough given how long some of the songs are. The songs are fast, I think if they were slower we probably could do a three hour set with an intermission but there’s no chance of that!
Interview by Rob Lyon
Check the tour poster below for the Australian tour dates near you and ticket details…