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For 99% of people, the period between the months of June and August is known as “summertime”. But for metalheads, it is instead “festival time”. All over the UK and Europe, rock n roll fans relish this magical quarter of the year, as it brings forth endless opportunity for them to see all of their favourite bands in the same place over the course of three or four days. And in 2016, there are no bigger festival veterans than those in DragonForce, the pioneering power metal six-piece from London. The band has spent the entire summer traversing Europe, playing to thousands of fans a night in open air and on muddy ground. “I think, as a performer, a festival is more stressful a lot of the time,” says DragonForce’s founder and lead guitarist Herman Li. “Just because of timing; we’ve got to get it done [and] do the show quick. But other than that, I do like playing festivals. It’s a cool thing to have your friends here. “Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to see my friends,” he laughs, sitting beside the press tent of Catton Park’s Bloodstock Festival. And this year, DragonForce has had some help in their conquest of Europe; Norwegian vocalist and YouTube star Per “PelleK” Åsly has been joining the band on-stage to sing as they close their shows. “It was great,” Li recalls. “He auditioned for DragonForce once. He didn’t get the job, but we kept in-touch. He’s a cool guy, I really have a good time hanging out with him. He did it with, pretty much, no practice and no rehearsal. He just came in and helped us out. It was a fun experience, and thanks to him for coming in, stepping up and helping us out.” PelleK is one of a handful of musicians that DragonForce has collaborated with over the past couple of years. In 2014, Trivium front-man Matt Heafy contributed backing vocals on the band’s Maximum Overload album and last year, Herman and fellow guitarist Sam Totman appeared on the track ‘Road of Resistance’ by Japanese idols Babymetal. “Babymetal is the only outside artist that we have worked with, with Matt Heafy obviously doing the backing vocals on the albums; they’ve both been great. We haven’t had any bad experience, but I’m pretty picky to be honest. We don’t really play on many albums, but the Babymetal experience was great, and Matt Heafy sent me these fucking incredible backing vocals. They sounded really cool! “[Babymetal] contacted us a couple months before [their 2015 debut album] actually came out. And I knew of them before because we tour a lot in Japan and we know about the scene out there, so they just asked and said ‘We’d love to have you playing the guitars on this song. But there’s no title yet,’ and I said ‘Yeah, hey, I know what you guys do. It’s different, it’s original, it’ll be fun.’ “It’s the kind of fun thing that DragonForce usually do. It was great; I enjoyed working with them, recording and also playing with them that one time at the  Golden Gods.” DragonForce has always maintained a very close relationship with Babymetal’s homeland of Japan, something which has come about because, in Li’s opinion, “they’re not really trend followers”: “Japan has liked us since the first album [2003’s Valley of the Damned]. They like a certain kind of music, which is melodic and technical; they love catchy songs and that works really well for us.
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