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Interviewed by
Danielle Street
Tuesday 17th February, 2015 3:56PM

Formed in 1999, London outfit Dragonforce are known for blending high-speed metal with fantasy lyrical themes, to create a sound that has historically been dubbed 'Nintendo metal'. It's a genre term that sits well with the six-piece who are all avid gamers at heart and enjoy gathering around for some Donkey Kong while on the road. However, the group's 2014 album, Maximum Overload, takes a different view at the world of electronics, engaging in a commentary around society's ever-increasing dependency to be connected to social media. Although it is the sixth album to the group's catalogue,Maximum Overload is the first time they have ever employed the services of a producer, by getting Jens Bogren onboard to bring some fresh ears to the process and help them load the record with more intensity. UnderTheRadar caught up with lead vocalist Marc Hudson, who joined the band in 2011 ahead of the release of the group's fifth album The Power Within, to find out more about his journey with Dragonforce and more about the ideas behind Maximum Overload...

UTR: Hey Marc, where in the world are you at the moment?

MH: We’re in Jakarta at the moment, we just flew in. We’ve got a show here tonight and then a show tomorrow night in Indonesia, and then we will be coming over to New Zealand.

Oh cool! Well I wanted to ask you a little bit about your beginnings as a musician, when did you start singing?

To be honest I can’t really put a date on it, it just happened. I’d been playing guitar in bands since I was about 16 years old and I think at some point I just decided to sing and play guitar at the same time. But I've only taken singing seriously in the past six years or so. But I haven’t had any lessons or anything, I'm one of those self-taught people.

What made you decide to take singing seriously?

Basically it was kind of a coincidence really, because I was playing in a band where we couldn’t find a singer so I was just doing it to fill in a gap until we found somebody else. And it just went from there. I just realised I quite enjoyed it.

You joined Dragonforce in 2011, how did you get recruited into the band?

The guitar player from my last band sent me an email saying that Dragonforce was looking for a singer and I should try out. I never really thought anything of it, because I figured there’s probably loads of people trying out, and probably loads of them are going to be amazing. But I thought I would do it anyway, and I did the first steps which was sending them a YouTube video of me singing ‘Through The Fire And Flames’ and ‘Last Journey Home’ and ‘Fury Of The Storm’, and basically from there I got an email back from Herman [Herman Li, guitar and backing vocals] saying they were interested, and inviting me to London to try out for them. There I had to do a live audition in a studio, and try out my voice on some demo recordings. The whole thing took about eight months from the time I got the email from Herman to when they actually said “yes”. They definitely were making me jump through all the hoops to make sure I was good enough.

I believe your first show with the group was opening for Iron Maiden, that must have been fairly nerve wracking?

Yeah, it was. I kind of thought the band were going to give me a few easy shows first, but they thought it was a good idea just to throw me in the deep end. It was extremely nerve wracking, but I actually can’t remember it because I just went into auto-pilot the day that the show happened. I just went on stage, and next thing I know I came off stage.

Dragonforce's music has been described a lot of different ways over the years, I think my personal favourite is ‘Nintendo Metal’. Do you have a preference?

That one is pretty hard to beat really. I think some of the songs, especially the earlier ones are inspired by 1980s arcade game music and that’s where that name came from. I like it, it’s kind of cool, it’s a cute name.

Are you a gamer yourself?

Oh, yeah we all are actually. We all kind of a bit nerdy and when we go on tour when all bring our video games and stuff with us. It’s cool, we are all into retro games, especially Sam [Sam Totman, guitar and backing vocals] who is a little bit older than me. So we play classic Donkey Kong and stuff like that while we are on tour. It’s pretty geeky, haha.

On the subject of electronics, I understand the album’s title, Maximum Overload is a commentary on the nature of life these days and how we are all so plugged into cellphones and social media. Do you engage in social media yourself?

To be honest, I’m really tempted to throw my phone out the window and never get one again to be honest. I don’t know why, but especially when I’m on tour and stuff, you look at the people around you and everyone is so glued to their phones and constantly checking everything. It annoys me quite a lot. And because we are on tour and people are uploading every single performance on YouTube and commenting, that’s part of the theme of Maximum Overload, is the overload of information and the constant need to be telling people what you are doing.

What’s the other side?

Well, it has a dual meaning, it’s about that on this album we deliberately went over-the-top instrumentally and threw in some extra stuff to take The Power Within and make a more virtuoso version of it, and overload the record in that way.

Here's the video for 'The Game', taken from Maximum Overload

Dragonforce are kicking off a three-date New Zealand tour tonight with a show at Churchills in Christchurch, head over here for more details.


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