Power metal enthusiasts Dragonforce released their 8th album Extreme Power Metal in 2019, just after the band had gone through some back-of-house shakeups and a change in direction—not musically of, course, as that recipe works just fine for the group But in a recent interview with former Evanescence guitarist Jen Majura on her podcast Everything But Music with Jen Majura, Dragonforce guitarist Herman Li discussed some of what those changes entailed.
"In 2018, there was a big change in the band. I became the manager of the band again," Li told Majura. "I used to manage the band in the beginning until it got really busy. When the Inhuman Rampage album came out [in 2005], it got so busy, so I no longer was really managing; I had to employ people."
Li continued to explain that "I took the managing back because I wasn't happy with how it was going, and then I had to look at everything again. It was, like, 'You know what? I have the skills on the computers and everything all these years. How can I make the most out of it?' Because the music business has changed."
According to Li, what change in the industry meant for Dragonforce was, according to Li, "Your income was still [making] more records and stuff, and obviously touring, but at the same time, now there was streaming networks and all these kinds of things — Spotify and YouTube streaming; all these kinds of things."
You can listen to the complete interview with Herman Li on Everything But Music with Jen Majura just below.
Li continued the conversation by saying that Dragonforce as a band needed to ask themselves "'How do you take advantage of things? How do you do it?' So instead of just saying, 'Well, I don't wanna do it, because I'm a guitar player. I'm gonna just do the talking or the playing,' I'm gonna look at each social media and find something I like about it. How can I express myself in this platform? I don't have to do what everyone is doing."
Following up on that independent streak, Li said "Sometimes you do the platform because you think everyone is doing it and you have to do it. We don't work that way…. [I]n the past we employed P.R. people to do promotion… And now you actually have to do it yourself. So, I'm gonna find a way… what do I like? Well, I like video games. I like computer stuff. So Twitch was the first one that [presented opportunity]."
"When I first signed up, it was mainly people playing video games there," Li said about the streaming channel popular with gamers, DJs, and more frequently‚ live bands. Last fall, King Diamond streamed every night of Mercyful Fate's U.S. tour on KD's Offcial Twitch channel.
"One of the most important things is about being yourself," Li emphasized. "Especially as musicians, we've gotta be ourselves. We are not actors. I think musicians suck at acting and suck at dancing…"
Acting and dancing aside, Li soon learned of the broader capabilities that Twitch has to offer. "I was streaming even the live shows on tour with multiple cameras. All this was evolving as I learned more and more. It's like getting better on the guitar, I was getting better on the livestream. But the most important thing… I was trying to do as many fun things as possible that fans can be a part of in my life."
The Twitch platform allows fans to make donations for the live streams they view—and while Li does make note quite graciously that many fans are super kind with their giving—the guitarist was very clear in pointing out that "I don't ask them to pay me money; you don't have to pay to watch the live stream… But if they would like, they can donate."
If you would like to subscribe to the Dragonforce Twitch TV channel, you can click right here to check out a lot of the cool things that Herman Li described in his conversation with Jen Majura.