Exclusive interview for hellfest.fr: DRAGONFORCE [Frédéric Leclercq (bass)]
“I’m at heart a guitar player but people know me as a bassist in a power metal band. But I have always been a guitarist who loves death metal” – Frédéric Leclercq – Sunday 19 June 2016
So Fred, how the hell are you?
How was your set?
It was good! We got there on time. We had some technical difficulties but I managed to get through because the crowd is French and I’m French. Everything was fine audit was good.
How was the experience?
It was great! We played with Dragonforce in 2009 and I’ve come back every year since. This time was different because I stayed a little more sober to do a good show. It’s cool to see people. It’s a nice festival, it’s my favorite in Europe. At night it really looks like hell. Everything is great about it!
So… you’re playing a show at Saint Vitus next month? What prompted you to do that?
That’s our manager who set it up! I’m told “Oh you go there” and so I do. I can’t say I’ve always wanted to play there, but we like to play intimate shows and from what I understand that’s a small club. I like gigs with people in your face. It’s good to play festivals but interaction is limited. We are doing Prog Power as well. My girlfriend will be in New York so I get to see her which is awesome!
So you joined the band after “Through The Fire And The Flames”. How weird is it to be part of a band so defined by one song?
It’s better than not being known at all! I was talking to Disturbed yesterday and their hit is “Down With The Sickness”. For us people know “Through The Fire And The Flames”. Obviously people know it because of guitar hero. For a while it annoyed us but in the end it’s fine. It brings people to the show and gets them to listen to more stuff. I think it’s cool. It brings us fans and people like it. People used to come with plastic guitars and be bored for the whole show until “Through The Fire And The Flames”, which was annoying as an artist. In the end though as long as people have fun it’s cool!
Judging from your tattoos etc., you’re much more of a death metal dude than Herman Li (guitar)… How does that work within the band?
Now I write more songs. Sam (Totman – guitar) also like death and black metal. We have a diverse set of influences. We have some growling in some songs and I get to do that! Then my other band Sinsaenum is obviously much more death metal oriented. With Dragonforce I write songs all the time and death metal songs are in a different box. If I want to write for Dragonforce I focus exclusively on power metal. On the past two records I wrote a lot of stuff but I grew up listening to a lot of the formative influences of Dragonforce. Dragonforce has some extreme stuff too with blast beats and shit!
So your other band… Is Sinsaenum a dream come true?
That’s the music I always really wanted to do! I’m at heart a guitar player but people know me as a bassist in a power metal band. But I have always been a guitarist who loves death metal. Getting to finally release it with such amazing musicians who I can also call my friends – that’s amazing.
How did Stefan Buriez meet Joey Jordison?
Everyone met through me. Attila and Joey had met before though. I met all these people through touring. I met Joey back in 2008 when we were touring together. I asked Stefan first if he wanted to join in and then I received a text from Joey that he was interested. So Stefan and I went to London because he was doing a show with Scar The Martyr and that’s how they met. I met the others over the years at various festivals.
So is it technically your band?
Yes. At first I thought it would just be a project or a studio thing but as we rehearsed before doing the videos we realized that it couldn’t just be a studio project. We want to tour and are working on a new album but we are all so busy! Fans, if we have any, need to understand that it’s not easy. We have other duties in major bands! We want to call it a band though. It’s not that we play in other bands that we aren’t allowed. People think it’s a supergroup but we just want to call it a band because that’s how we feel.
I feel like people don’t understand how much everyone in the upper circles of metal know each other…
Exactly! If I wasn’t here I would think it was weird. But it’s actually very simple! We are all musicians and with some of them you really connect and decide to do something together – just like people who just want to do it on Saturday afternoon.
I love how diverse your backgrounds are!
Yeah! There’s no explanation – it’s just the people I felt were right.
What do you love so much about music?
I was actually asking myself this recently! I’ve always thought that music was the only thing I could do. I need it, I need to do it all the time. Maybe it’s a midlife crisis but is it maybe what I’ve always thought it was? I’ve always needed to do it but sometimes it’s difficult. It’s a hard question. I can’t go too deep. It’s just everything I do. It’s entertainment but there are other things in life that are important. If I didn’t have music I would go crazy!
Do you have any final words of wisdom?
Keep listening to metal and supporting the scene. Try to buy albums! I’m not begging for money, but it’s a difficult business. Support your artists, go to the shows and enjoy life.
Interview: Matt Bacon.