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Marc Hudson, Dragonforce interview

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I spoke to Dragonforce singer Marc Hudson just before the band played an intimate show at the Black Heart in Camden to talk about the new album

You’ve got a new album about to be released, “Reaching into infinity”.  How did you find the time to record it as you always seem to be on tour?

Well basically we had to do it while we were doing the summer festivals last year, so we were playing at the weekend, recording during the week then playing at the weekend. We wanted to get it done ASAP so we did both at the same time.  It wasn’t easy, especially as a singer because when you’re doing an album you really throw down as hard as you can and when you do it live you have to find the balance between the two, so I was getting confused between studio mode and stage mode a lot.  It was alright though.

The way it worked was that I recorded every time I came home – I’ve got a studio setup at my house.  It’s better than how we did it on the last few albums.  The last one was done in Sweden, so it’s a case of we’re going to do it for these ten days or whatever, but previous to that I was going into London every day to do it at Herman’s, but this time was do it yourself.

You’ve just got to be motivated when you’re doing it at home so you don’t get distracted – “oh I’ll just go for a coffee”, or “I better just clean up first”

I did a lot of that. but the end product was as good as it could be.

It must have been tough because you don’t want to strain your voice at a live show and have it screw up the album recording.

Exactly, and vice versa. You don’t want to mess your voice up for the live show after you’ve been screaming for the album.

There are a couple of tracks on the album where the vocals are a lot more brutal than people are used to with Dragonforce.  Was it hard to do that style of vocal when you’re not used to it?

There’s a song called “War” which is the Slayer style vocals, shouting or screaming or whatever the term is for it, and then in the middle of the long song, “Edge of the world” there’s some death growls which I’ve never done before so that was interesting.  It was the easiest thing I’ve ever done musically.  Singing is so much harder than screaming, screaming is just a gimmick in my opinion.  I’d never done it before, I tried it, and it sounds like everyone elses record.

Tonight is the album release show at the Black Heart in Camden.  It’s not a typical size venue for Dragonforce.

It’s cosy.  We’ve done a few shows like this before and always have a good time doing them.  We’re from London (kind of) so we said let’s do it in the kind of places we go drinking in, so we’re doing it here. It might be a bit hot and sweaty.

I’m guessing there won’t be as much running around on stage tonight since there’s barely enough space to fit you all on.

I’ve already had a look and there’s no space so I’m going to be stood in the middle all night, and being stood in the middle when there are guitar solos so looking quite awkward probably.

You’re touring Australia and the Far East soon.

Yeah we’re doing South East Asia including China and Indonesia then after that it’s the start of the world tour, so Australia is just after Japan, then New Zealand, America and loads more.

Then you hit the UK in October for another 10 or 15 dates.

It’s actually quite a long tour for us in the UK.  To be honest 95% of our shows are not in England so it’s quite unusual for us to do 10 shows.  It should be good though.

It must be a difficult choice – do 10 smaller shows around the UK or do a few larger shows in the big cities like a lot of bands do.

I’m not sure how the decision making process worked with that.  Personally I think it would be better to do fewer bigger shows and draw people in but at the same time there’s this thing you read online all the time – you’re playing London but you won’t play in somwhere really close to London, so either people are getting lazier or something.

It doesnt matter how close you are, someone will still complain the end of the street is too far for them – you can’t please everybody.

Exactly.  We also get people asking us about tour dates – they’re online, look at them.

That’s the thing with the Internet.  A plus side is that you can hear from the fans directly – a downside is also that you hear from the fans directly

You have to be careful how much of that stuff you read.  It’s pretty anonymous and people say what they want so it’s often not a true reflection of what people who like your music are thinking.

There’s always going to be people being abusive about the vocals and music so I can imagine if you read all that and took it to heart it could get quite demoralising.

If I were to sit there and look at Youtube, the stuff on there… Obviously most of the people are commenting because they like the music so they say something nice but there’s always someone who just wants to see the world burn and wants to upset you so they’ll say “It’s shit compared to the old singer” and they’ll talk about it non-stop – guess what, nobody cares.

I’ve never understood the people who talk about bands being better with the old singer especially when they left 8 or 10 years ago or even longer sometimes.  Accept it and move on.

I’ve been quite lucky in that respect because there were people at the beginning who were used to hearing one dude for so long then I came in, so there was a bit of resistance, but now everyones pretty happy with it.

On the rare occasions when you aren’t on tour or recording, what do you like to do with your spare time?

I like writing music actually and I play guitar, playing video games and normal stuff really.  I try and write slightly neo-classical style music so like Malmsteen kind of songs – I’m not saying I’m anywhere near as good as him though. I’m aiming towards video game music, be nice to get into that. It’s all music so it’s all transferrable skills.

Ant May
I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.