By Wal Reid
Dragonforce is one of Europe's most well-known power metal bands, the group was founded by two guitarists Herman Li & WellingtonianSam Totman in 1999. To date the group is now a force to be reckoned with seven albums under their belt, mega-fast guitar solos and fantasy-based lyrics, the group is currently playing New Zealand as part of their Maximum Overload World Tourstop over.
"We are playing now in New Zealand and Sam's hometown" says bassist Frédéric Leclercq. "After this we play Australia, Brazil, Chile, then back to Europe, they are very crazy there in South America" he laughs down the phone. "We're looking forward to playing the crowds there because we heard they are also quite crazy"[laughter]. After trying to pronounce his name every which way he concedes and says "call me anything you like".
DragonForce vocalist and frontman, Marc Hudson joined the band in 2011. He had previous experience performing in a band, but was not a professional musician before joining DragonForce. I ask Frédéric if he can remember the last time he was playing here in New Zealand. "Oh yeah, I woke and saw some of the guys, there were two naked girls some alcohol and a polaroid" he relates. "Yeah, that was the last time, I thought this is weird".
Leclercq although a bassist is an more than apt guitarist having played sessional rhythm guitar for Swedish power metal band Sabaton and French power metal group Heavenly, his skills have paid off having co-written the new album Maximum Overload with guitarist Sam Totman - A feat he is proud to lay claim to. "Yes, of course I love the new album" he says. "Not only did I write half of the songs but also it is more a rock album and yes, I also wrote half the songs so if it isn't so good I can only get half the blame! Before I only wrote maybe one or two songs but on this album I co-wrote with Sam and yes, I am really happy about this..."
According to Sam the theme of Maximum Overload is talking about our society and what it does at the moment - information on the internet and phone and absorbing a lot of this unnecessary stuff. There is also a surprise version of Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire a strange song choice for any metal group. "That song started out as a bit of a jam, we were looking for cover songs and this one just came out and we hope maybe we can play it in New Zealand".
I go one step further and suggest maybe they will take away more than a polaroid photo as a keepsake from this visit to New Zealand, to which Leclercq laughs. "Yes, yes no polaroid. We are looking forward to playing there and we want to see the fans go crazy".
Somehow I'm thinking in this digital age if someone in the audience had a polaroid camera that would be crazy.
Dragonforce play the Kings Arms Tavern tonight in Auckland!