Taking their queues from our metal heroes of yesterday, London’s Dragonforce are set to drop another record of guitar wizardry on our collective arses.
Founding member and keyboard extraordinaire Vadim called up to talk about all things Dragonforce, including Ultra Beatdowns…
Interview with Vadim (Keyboards/Vocals)
of Dragonforce (UK)
By Cameron Chambers
Vadim, how are you today?
Hey Cameron, how’s it going?
I’m really good man. How
I’m great… just hanging around
and doing whatever, ha ha.
Where are you guys at the moment?
Literally? I’m standing out
the front of my house coz I’m doing all these renovations and there’s
people inside demolishing stuff. So I’m outside coz there’s nowhere
to hang out inside and yeah, it’s just a normal London day really,
cold and raining. But you know, I’m in a good mood coz it’s my birthday
which is quite exciting.
Happy birthday mate, sorry
you had to spend it doing interviews.
No, no, it’s fine, really!
Let’s get right into Vadim.
What exactly is does “Ultra Beatdown” mean to Dragonforce?
We basically just thought it had
a futuristic sound to it and you know, it really fit with the music
and the album cover. I don’t know if you’ve seen the cover but it’s
got all this discolouration to it and interesting colours which all
looks very cool. So we just thought Ultra Beatdown really fit well as
the music had futuristic elements to it as well.
You guys once again used the
production assistance of Karl Groom (of British metal band Threshold).
What is about Karl that gets the best results out of your band?
He really knows what we want and
what we need for an album. We’ve done all of our albums with that
guy as an engineer and he helped us out in the studio so much, so you
know, he’s just a really cool guy and really easy going and really
easy to work with. He’s a great engineer and a great producer and
we just knew that he could give us exactly what we wanted.
The press release that accompanies
your new record states that if you ever needed to bring another producer
in then you’d know that you’re out of ideas and past your peak.
In saying that, is Karl there purely to track and engineer the record
or does he have some input into the writing and arrangements?
Karl is pretty much in there as
an engineer but he always helps us out with ideas or a sound or a part
that we may be stuck with. He’s a capable guy and he can do both,
as far as production and everything goes.
I think another reason why we
didn’t need a traditional producer was because this album was eleven
months in the making, so we’d had more than enough arguments amongst
ourselves, ha ha, so we didn’t really need another person to argue
with. But yeah, after working on something for eleven months we knew
exactly what we wanted.
We’re definitely not out of
ideas, that’s for sure! We have too many ideas if anything. We’re
definitely a hundred percent pleased with the outcome of this record
and I think it’s really different and has the right balance in the
songs. I’m just looking forward to our fans hearing the album.
Your last record
“Inhuman Rampage” has sold more than 500,000 copies worldwide. Being
that it was such a successful release were you in any way nervous about
recording your follow up?
I only found out it sold that
many copies recently. I was doing an interview actually and the interviewer
told me, I was like “wow”, ha ha, I didn’t know all that was happening.
It’s going really well and people are obviously liking it and our
fans are loving it, so I think the main thing was that our new songs
had to be really catchy to stand up to our previous records.
You’ve said that you don’t
want to record the same album twice, what are some of the differences
between “Ultra Beatdown” and your previous releases?
I think there are new elements
that we haven’t tried on the previous records, as far as dynamics
go. We’ve brought some new bits into the mix, like a tango section,
which was cool, ha ha. There’s more of a push throughout the songs
now and they sound more uplifting in a way… it’s more like a punch
in the way but in a good way. Well, more like slapping a girl… ha
ha, no I’m kidding.
I also did some scratching on
the decks on this record too, but you probably can’t hear it.
Well now that you’ve said
that I’ll be listening for it.
Ha ha, no, no, just enjoy the
Well, your label sent me a
link so I’ll give it a listen when we’re done.
Really?! Oh, it’s not mastered
yet so you won’t get the full effect, ha ha.
It’s cool man, I’m a collector,
so I’ll make sure I buy it when it comes out.
Don’t worry about that, I’m
sure the label will send you one, ha ha.
Perfect! Taking into
account that your music is incredibly complex, do you have all the songs
completed before you hit the studio, or are you constantly writing,
even amid the recording process?
That’s exactly what happens.
At the end of last summer we recorded all the songs that we’d written
while we were on the road, but since then everything has changed completely.
It’s good that we’re constantly working on songs because they constantly
sound fresh, to us and the fans.
I think if I wasn’t in the band
then I’d probably listen to Dragonforce, ha ha.
How does a Dragonforce song
normally come about? Is a guitar riff presented first or do you work
off a vocal melody, or maybe even a keyboard part?
A lot of wrote the majority of
songs for this album, but usually it starts with some kind of melody
line and we build everything around it and mix everything in together
and go from there. Sam and Herman pretty much do the same thing on guitar
too, they get a melody and let it grow from there.
Whoever is writing the song will
just jam out the whole song and see how it all goes and then I’ll
add the keyboard sequences, so then we’ve got a rough sketch of the
song and we can start sending the tracks to each other and yeah, we
go from there until everyone is happy.
The melody is definitely the driving
force behind all our songs though.
A lot of your newer fans actually
got into Dragonforce after hearing
“Through The Fire And Flames” on the Guitar Hero games. In a day
and age where less and less people are actually buying records did you
ever think having a song on a video game would be so beneficial for
I don’t know, yes and no. If
people like a band then they’ll buy it hopefully. We’re not sales
people you know, we don’t want to have to sell people on our band.
If they want to hear it then we’re hoping that they’ll buy the record!
We’re really proud of this new record and we really like it so we
don’t want people who don’t love it listening to it. If someone
gives me a copy of some downloaded songs then I know that I’d go and
buy the record because I want the proper CD and the booklet, you know.
Who wants to listen to compressed
mp3 files of a song anyway, it takes away all the power of the song,
Guitar Hero really opened us up
to new fans, like people who don’t normally listen to metal had a
chance to hear us and were opened up to a new sort of music, so that’s
obviously great and yeah, things went really well for us.
A lot of people have said that
decreased record sales will force bands to tour more to stay afloat,
do you think that’s going to separate the truly talented bands (who
can actually play and put on a good show) from the rest of the pack,
ie: your bands who hide behind a well produced record?
Definitely man. At the end of
the day we’re a live band, we don’t cheat or play to tracks, so
if people want to see us they’ll see us play our instruments well
and we want to give people that opportunity as much as possible.
People are always going to try
and judge you, especially when you get bigger they think you sold out,
but it’s not true. We practice incredibly hard to do what we do so
hopefully people know that we’re the real deal.
Trust me mate, I’ve seen
you guys live and I don’t think you’re going to have anyone doubting
your band’s abilities.
Thanks mate, I really appreciate
We’re going to finish up
with a few quick questions mate.
Favourite place you’ve travelled
to with the band?
I enjoy travelling in general
so it’s hard to choice which country I enjoy most, because I love
seeing new cultures wherever I go. People are always really nice to
us, but down in Australia the sun was always shining and people were
always nice and it was such an easygoing atmosphere, ha ha.
But I really like it everywhere!
Favourite album at the moment?
Ultra Beatdown by Dragonforce!
Seriously, like I said my house
is getting renovated so I don’t have a stereo or any of my records
around so I’ve just got our record on my computer, ha ha, and you
know what, I’m really proud of it, so why shouldn’t I listen to
It’s pretty fucking sad but
it’s the truth, ha ha. When I get bored of it I’ll send you a different
answer, ha ha.
Most ridiculous thing you’ve
done for a dollar?
I can’t really think of anything
other than downing a drink, but I’ll do that for free. I don’t really
do stupid things where I get paid, I just do them, ha ha.
Best hangover remedy?
The most cliché answer would
be drink a bit more but I won’t say that coz I know it’ll fuck you
This will sound really fucking
weird and creepy, but you can bottles of cucumber juice that’s left
over from cucumbers. It’s really weird and my Dad showed it to me
but you drink this juice and you recover. I had a horrible hangover
once, I was puking everywhere and I drank this stuff and recovered really
quickly, ha ha.
Great, I’ll give it a shot
Ha ha, trust me man. I only just
discovered Snake Bites lately and man those things fuck you up, but
yeah, I drank this cucumber juice and felt better than I had a in weeks,
ha ha, the sun was shining and all was good!
Finally, your most embarrassing
I wouldn’t say falling over
is embarrassing, it’s quite funny.
I think the most embarrassing
one was a show in the US and during a song I really had to go for a
shit man, I was dying, I was hurting and completely fucked. I had to
go off the stage man!
I went round the corner and shat
and had to do it, ha ha. I was in pain man, my whole gut was just like
“fuck”, ha ha. The band was puzzled because during the mid-section
I was supposed to be playing and they couldn’t find me and there was
me, with my trousers down at the side of the stage.
That’s the best answer we’ve
ever had but unfortunately that’s all we’ve got time for Vadim,
is there anything else you’d like to add?
I just want to thank all the fans
in Australia that have supported over the years and look out for our
new tour dates.
Check out the new album and we
hope to see you all on tour!
Oh, and thanks for interviewing
me man, it’s been fun.
My pleasure mate. Take it easy.
Dragonforce‘s new record “Ultra Beatdown” is out now through Roadrunner Records. For more info on the band head to their Myspace page.