Dragonforce Although many know this band by their tricky Guitar Hero entries, DragonForce fans have propelled their latest album Ultra Beatdown toward both a Grammy and Top 20 charts around the world. Punknews interviewer Jason Epstein sat down with DragonForce bassist Frédéric Leclercq before their show in Poughkeepsie, NY on October 10th to talk about the band's past, present and future.


So, I hear that you??re coming up on the last leg of your Ultra Beatdown touring cycle. Will you guys be taking some time off, or are you going to be writing a new album soon?

First we??re gonna take some time off. We need it because we??ve been on tour since July 2008. I mean we??ve had some breaks. So right now what I??m gonna do is just break off - no music, nothing -

-and give your fingers a rest?

Yeah, yeah, yeah and then we??re gonna start writing and composing and recording a new album.

Each album is so fast, so complex, so out there in terms of talent and arrangement...for your next album, where do you go from here?

Well, I guess we can??t really change the formula, like let??s do a G.G. Allin album (he??s a guy that used to shit onstage). We can??t really do that. We??re always fast but we??re probably gonna try different stuff. For the last album we tried different stuff like trying to bring different tempos - not fast all the time - so we??re gonna carry on doing that kind of thing maybe having a few mid-tempo songs. ??Cuz we can??t just like [metal air guitar motion] all the time, we??re getting old. I think we give the fans a rest as well [when we??re] onstage when we play sort of slow songs so I think we need that kind of stuff.

All right. Let??s be honest here: it??s not often that bands play songs that stretch the limits of their musical abilities to the absolute edge?you guys can play much faster can??t you?

Ahhhh, I don??t know. I mean personally I??m just playing bass and [playing] root notes so I can do better because I??m a guitar player. I can do better than that but you should ask [our] guitar players the question. I??m sure the drummer can do it faster, that??s possible. The singer is not doing fast in terms of?

Yeah, higher.

Yeah, yeah higher maybe?well, ah, no, I don??t know? I??m sure we could do faster. Maybe we should actually on the next album just have one song that??s actually faster.

Maybe that??s where you go from here.

Yeah maybe, I don??t know, we??ll see.

Typically, how long does it take the band to write and then record an album?

Writing depends. I mean if you got the idea it can be very fast and it just comes. Sometimes it??s like okay I have the chorus and the pre-chorus but I don??t have the verse or I don??t have the solo part so it depends. As for recording it just takes time because usually what we do is we record a rough version, then we record it properly, then we try and the add some stuff and then we realize okay we don??t like that part and we have to go back and start again.

So, let??s say on average?

Ah, you want precise. For one song, honestly I have no idea because we would work on that song and then go back to another one and then come back. I don??t know. Between three days and a month.

DragonForce is made up of musicians from all over the world...stop me if I'm wrong...England, New Zealand, South Africa?how did you all originally get together being that far away from each other.

Gay chat. [Laughter] No, they all live in London?I??m still living in France. London is a big city, so you??ve got people from different countries. It just happened. It wasn??t pre-planned like we have to have someone from Ukraine and we have to have someone from France because we already have someone from South Africa. It just ended up being very funny because we??re all from different countries. That??s just the way it is in Europe.

What bands are you hoping to tour with in the future?

Just, you know, anyone that??s cool [drum warm-up in the background interrupting the interview] well not them, they??re gonna get fired. [Laughter] I??d like to tour with big bands. I??d love to tour with Alice Cooper before he dies and I??d love to tour with Metallica, Maiden. [I??d really just] like to tour with bands [made up of] good people. I just want to tour with good people [and] have fun.

How do you decide what to include on your set list each night?

Well, we have a defined set list that we play. In the beginning we just say okay maybe that should go there and blah, blah, blah, but once it??s all defined we just stick to that. Once we??re [past] the third or fourth show we know what we??re gonna play.

So you experiment a little bit at first?

Yeah, we had a warm-up gig in Sacramento and we tried some stuff and we were just like okay, never again.

What's your least favorite interview question of all time?

Probably "Can you play your own song on guitar hero?"

I think someone told me to ask you that and I said?ehhh?don??t feel like asking that.

I mean it??s funny, but yeah I don??t like it.

Yeah after the hundredth time?

Yeah, you go ahhhh, yeahhhhh?fuck you.


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