Niclas Müller-Hansen of Sweden's Metalshrine recently conducted an interview with with vocalist Marc Hudson and guitarist Herman Li of British epic power metallers DRAGONFORCE. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metalshrine: Do you consider this album ["The Power Within"] more different than the previous ones? How do you look at it?
Herman Li: I think it's definitely a different type of dynamics than the last album. I mean, we definitely touch on different kind of musical ways that we haven't done before. The speed is obviously still there, but we've expanded our boundaries on this album. We've actually broken our own rules book as we said we would never do certain things in DRAGONFORCE, and we actually did.
Metalshrine: Marc, you've come in as the new singer. Did you come in thinking "Oh, I've got all these cool ideas," or did you have a lot more laid-back approach?
Marc Hudson: To be honest, I think I was neither of those two things. I didn't come in confident thinking I've got all of this stuff and show DRAGONFORCE I'm the shit, it wasn't like that. But I wasn't laid back either. I was more eager to please them and on a personal level as well, so like a quiet confidence, if you will. I know that I can sing certain stuff, but I was no way cocky in any way, because these guys have been doing it for years and years and my experience is so small. I have a lot to offer, but they had to kind of explore my voice with me and through each song. A high note here and an alternative here. It's like I had the ability, but I didn't fully show it until the album recording got into the swing of it.
Metalshrine: Auditioning singers, I guess there's a lot of stuff that has to work. It's not just you being a great singer, there's the personal side to it as well and working in a group with five other guys. How much emphasis did you put on that when you were auditioning Marc? What was it besides his voice that made you feel that he was the one?
Herman Li: Well, from Marc's first video that he sent in, we liked it and we contacted him to sing another song. "OK, he can sing this one and that one. Now, let's send him a harder one." So the first song we sent was "Fury Of The Storm" before we even bothered meeting up with him. After he sang that one it was, "Oh, that's good, not bad," because that's a really difficult song, especially in its original key. Then we met to see how much he could drink and to see if he could be a partner in crime on tour as well. Even though most singers have to be very professional and they can't drink that much.
Marc Hudson: It's the most boring job. (laughs) Every singer I've met so far say the one thing, "Stay off the drinking 'till afterwards!"
Herman Li: So we got to meet him and talk and chat for a few hours and that was cool and then we put him in the rehearsal room with us to see how he would perform. So after he'd done that, we did five songs twice and that was good, but it still wasn't over, so went to see his band play and how his live performance was, like if it was awkward or if he did some strange things while singing. Then after that, there was another test. He had to go to my home studio to sing some new songs and see how fast he could learn those new songs and how he would sing them and see if he got pissed off when we started pushing him in the studio. "You have to sing this again! No, the melody goes this way, why don't you try this!" and just see what kind of ideas he would bring to the song. After all that, we were able to confirm him as the new singer. We worked with other singers, too, and talking to other guys, so [the entire process took] about eight months.
Read the entire interview from Metalshrine.
"Cry Thunder" video:
"Fallen World" audio stream: