On www.mp3.com I found a band called DragonForce in the power metal Top 20. I listened to some songs, visited their homepage and contacted the band for an interview. Here we go!
You started back in fall of 1999, please tell us about the early days of the band. How do you come up with the name DragonHeart?
The first time we played together was in September or October 1999. Back then there were ZP, Sam and I, the other members were kinda coming and going without that much interest and commitment. Didier and Vadim joined after we done our first demo. I can't really remember what's with the name so I guess it wasn't an exciting moment.
About 2 years later you decided to rename the band? Why you renamed? And why do you choose DragonForce instead of DragonHeart?
We found out there were like 3 other bands, 2 movies and a record label using the same name. We decided to change it to DragonForce. A lot of the old fans still call us DragonHeart cos they knew us from the demo under that name.
After you recorded the first demo you put the tracks in www.mp3.com! Why you decided to do it that way? Why not shopping around to get a deal at that time?
Since they are only demo tracks done with so little time, we didn't want to get a labels to release it. I put it on the net so people can download it for free and at the same time I sent it out to a few different labels to hunt for a recording deal. We had many good responses at the time and things were moving very quick for a band barely together for 1 year.
What did you feel when you recognized that Valley Of The Damned is in the mp3.com charts?
It was a surprise when we got to number 1. I did remember saying to myself, 'How the fuck are we gonna beat Blind Guardian in that chart? Impossible!'
A few weeks after we were in there at the top with the other 4 tracks following after. Now, it has been 2 years and a half and they are still up in the top 3 of the charts.
There is no doubt that the internet is important for young bands these days. What do you think about mp3's? What is your opinion about Napster & co.?
I actually believe mp3 done more good than bad for music. There are too many arguments on both side, but to cut it short. For us anyway, it really worked with the demo. But now we are signed, so things are different. I get to have a taste from the other side of the table. Napster is old news, there is nothing I want to comment on it.
You are finally signed to Sanctuary Records and hoped to have the album out this fall. Now it's announced for early 2003. What caused this change?
In the original plan, Sanctuary/Noise Records wanted us to record with Tommy Hansen in Denmark, who worked with bands like Helloween and Pretty Maids before. We wanted him as an engineer to record the drums and vocals really... We were gonna do the rest at my place and in another studio.
Unfortunately it didn't workout with Tommy, there were a big clash of styles and production techniques. We knew exactly what we wanted like sound, after we finished recording the drums with him we decided to finish the rest of the album with Karl Groom (producer, guitarist of Threshold) at Thin Ice Studios in England and at my home studio. This change of studios made us lose a couple of weeks time, cos another band was in Thin Ice recording then, and going another week over time. I am a real perfectionist so I was also giving the guys a real hard time, with a high quality control bar hahaha! You know, when you have your own recording facility, you end up spending more and more time on it, trying to making it sound the best possible. We are so much happier now staying in England instead Denmark, home advantage basicially. We have access to much more equipment and much more time can be spent on the record. We are making sure the album sounds amazing and put in as much care as possible even for a debut.
You are already recording. Can you tell us something about the recordings? Why have you choose Thin Ice Studios and producer Karl Groom?
We have recorded our first demo with Karl already, as well as some pre-production stuff. He is easy to work with and I like his modern production style, it is very similar to what we want. Since we already recorded 7 songs with him before, he is the obvious choice for recording the rest of this album. The recording will be finished at the end of this month.
Is a decision made about the artwork of your debut album? Will JP Fournier do it?
Yeah, JP done a couple versions already, we are almost done on the 'to be' final version.
It is a cross between his and our original idea.
What can the fans expect from your debut beside the re-recorded demo tracks?
We really like the new songs, I think they are even better. They are still in the same vein, very catchy, melodic and of course... fast! Some of the pre-production demos of those new songs actually got leaked on the internet last year.
How much will the versions of the demo tracks vary to the new recordings? Will it be just re-recorded? Or have you made changes?
The re-record tracks now sound much better with much more power and life to it. Some of the songs like Black Winter Night, we made a lot of changes on it. It works better than before. We have added in a lot more things on all the songs backed by a stronger performance. I know this album will separate us from the other power metal bands. None of us have ever heard a power metal album like what we are doing. The guitar solos are just crazy! Everything is so over the top!
You played a few shows in the UK with Halford and Stratovarius. Also you played your first headlining show at the Underworld. Please tell us about those experiences!
The shows with Halford and Stratovarius were superb. Especially the Halford show in London with Bruce Dickinson and Geoff Tate, what a night that was!
Last year, we only did headline shows. This year we only played 1 show so far, that was with Virgin Steele. We gonna have our first headline show this year in October at the Underworld. Falconer will be coming from Sweden playing as our main special guest for the night. It will be a great gig and we have some surprises for our fans.
Have you played some new tracks at the Underworld? If yes, how were the re;actions?
When we played our headline shows across England last year, we played all the songs from the new album, we will be playing some for the next show of course.
The reactions were excellent cos the songs are really catchy and plenty of insane guitars!
Do you write songs as a band? Or did someone come up with an almost finished track which you work on?
Sam wrote most of the songs on this album, I wrote 2 and ZP done a lot of the lyrics. We arrange all the songs together at a band in rehearsals.
What inspires you musically? What inspires you for the lyrics?
Hmm... well, any types of music we listen to inspires us in some way. The lyrics it really depends on the day I guess, and who is writing them.
Do you think that the Nu metal stuff which got played by MTV and other channels will sooner or later bring back hard music to TV?
I don't have MTV and never watch it so I don't know what's on it these days.
Do you think it makes sense these days to do a video clip for a metal band?
Of course! The problem is getting it to be played right?
If you would have the chance (not talking about the money), would you do a live clip? Or prefer doing a kind of short movie?
It depends on the song, but if money is not in the equation, we would be doing both!
Here in Germany metal bands get in the album charts and also in some other countries. Should that be seen as a positive tendency for the metal scene?
Yeah, as long as the people buying it are getting it for the music, not because they think it's just a cool trendy thing to be doing.
How much influence do you think have to fans to change things?
Depends on the scale you are talking about, but of course they have influence on the music scene.
Famous last words.... Anything you want to say to the fans?
We gonna kick some ass in January!