DRAGON­FORCE

Her­man Li on the power metal videogame-slay­ing clas­sic

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Contents - WORDS: DANNII LEIVERS • IL­LuS­tRA­tION: MARk LEARy

It was the song that launched a mil­lion gui­tar con­trollers. We chat to her­man li about Through The Fire And Flames.

BY THE TIME

Dragon­force went to work on their third al­bum, 2006’s In­hu­man Ram­page, they were al­ready scram­bling up metal’s ranks. It was lead sin­gle Through The Fire And The Flames, how­ever, that in­tro­duced a whole new au­di­ence – most no­tably a whole bunch of Gui­tar Hero III gamers – to the UK squad’s power an­thems, weird noises and de­mented so­los. Gui­tarist Her­man Li re­mem­bers the track that made the band a house­hold name.

PEO­PLE GOT PRETTY CON­FUSED BY THE IN­TRO

“When we first started play­ing that song live we didn’t have any acous­tic gui­tars, so we told the key­board player to play the acous­tic bit on the key­board. So there was a con­fu­sion about the be­gin­ning for a year or two that the acous­tic gui­tar on the al­bum is not ac­tu­ally acous­tic. But we just couldn’t be both­ered do­ing it live prop­erly for the first two years.”

IT IN­TRO­DUCED OUR TRADE­MARK PAC-MAN SOUND

“I was mess­ing around with that Pac-Man noise but never ac­tu­ally found an op­por­tu­nity where I thought it would be cool to use it in a song.

That was kind of the theme for the al­bum; stuff we hadn’t done be­fore that we hadn’t heard other bands do: th­ese noises of retro videogames that we like. A gui­tar string also broke in the record­ing and we just left it there be­cause we thought it was cool. It ended up be­ing seven min­utes long, and I guess it be­came our most fa­mous song.”

GUI­TARIST SAM TOTMAN WAS HAM­MERED FILM­ING THE VIDEO

“But he could still play. He al­ways had at least 10 beers be­fore a show back then, so it was noth­ing for him. Sam was con­trol­ling him­self be­cause it was our first mu­sic video, but then he couldn’t do it any­more and he said, ‘I’m go­ing to get fuck­ing drunk. I’m done stand­ing around be­hav­ing.’ So he just started drink­ing. We left his drunk­en­ness in there, and then it just be­came a thing for us: drink and shred.”

WE WEREN’T READY FOR THAT SPOT­LIGHT

“We’re mu­si­cians that never did mu­sic to be suc­cess­ful; we’re just do­ing it be­cause it’s fun. When Through The Fire And Flames hit Amer­ica, it was a whole dif­fer­ent game. To be hon­est, we were not ready, and that’s one thing I’ve learnt. We were just a bunch of idiots at that time. We didn’t have the in­fra­struc­ture of a pro­fes­sional, world-tour­ing band. It all hap­pened so quick. We had to jump on th­ese tours and we didn’t have time to rehearse some of the songs as well as we should have. I’m just be­ing hon­est here!”

GUI­TAR HERO WAS A BLESS­ING AND A CURSE

“Peo­ple can use Gui­tar Hero to slag us off and say, ‘Oh it’s be­cause of Gui­tar Hero that they got big.’ But to be hon­est, no, be­cause we’d done a mas­sive world tour be­fore that game hit the store and af­ter­wards it just car­ried on gen­er­at­ing in­ter­est in the band. So it helped us but then I heard fans who were like, ‘I used to like you guys but not any­more be­cause my 10-year-old sis­ter was into Dragon­force too from play­ing Gui­tar Hero.’ You can’t win. But it made us a house­hold name in a lot of coun­tries and we got a plat­inum record for Through The

Fire And Flames in Amer­ica, with more than a mil­lion sold.”

THE SONG AC­TU­ALLY SOUNDS RE­ALLY GOOD UN­DER­WA­TER

“In 2015, on Full Metal Cruise, there was a pool in front of the stage, so I was like, ‘Let’s play it live in the pool!’ I was hold­ing my breath un­der the wa­ter with the gui­tar float­ing above my head and just play­ing it. I thought, ‘We have to do some­thing fun here.’ If we’re on a cruise and you see wa­ter around us, ex­pect the un­ex­pected.”

REACH­ING INTO IN­FIN­ITY IS OUT NOW VIA EARMUSIC. DRAGON­FORCE WILL PLAY DOWN­LOAD FES­TI­VAL IN JUNE

“LOTS OF FANS STOPPED LIK­ING

US BE­CAUSE OF THIS SONG”

We blame this band for ourpoor, man­gled fin­gers

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