For most bands, losing your singer and founding member would be akin to the electric chair. Well, this is the situation that London based power metal band DragonForce found themselves in, when after ten years and four studio albums, they parted company with ZP Theart. The announcement in March 2010 was delivered with the usual explanation "insurmountable differences of musical opinion."
In the same short but sweet announcement DragonForce welcomed auditions for the role stating that they were looking for "a powerful, melodic singer to write a new chapter of DragonForce with us." This is the story of one man whose life has changed dramatically since this announcement. That man is Marc Hudson, the new lead vocalist of DragonForce.
"I was working for BMW in Oxford, doing electronics engineering and now I'm power metal singing" Hudson reminisces. "DragonForce were looking for a new singer and advertising for people to send auditions to them. I just sent the audition to see what would happen. I did 'Through The Fire And Flames' and the next thing I know Herman (Li, DragonForce guitarist and founding member) has got back and said he liked it."
"I remember I was sat at my desk at work and an email came in and I was like 'no way'. I know the audition was alright, it was pretty good, but I didn't expect anybody to get back to me." Hudson beams with pride as he talks about receiving that phone call from Li offering him the post. "When Herman rang me, I was actually in the pub, it caught me by surprise." He adds, "I didn't believe it for a second, but then it sunk in afterwards."
Prior to being offered this dream job, Hudson had limited experience playing in bands and had actually started life out as a guitarist. "I was playing guitar for all my previous bands, but the one before this I was just doing singing." There appears to be no chance of Hudson strapping on an axe in DragonForce however with Li and fellow founding member Sam Totman having that area covered. "I still like to play guitar now, which is never. There are enough guitarists in this band; you don't need to hear me play."
Asked whether he felt any pressure coming into an established act such as DragonForce and taking over from a founding member of the group in ZP Theart, Hudson explains, "Yeah, completely, I think there is definitely loads of pressure, because you can't just go in and be sh*t! You have to be able to do all the old stuff and new stuff, but luckily we rehearsed a lot before this tour, so I think the whole band is a lot better than previously and from all the rehearsals, to sing all the old stuff is now a natural thing for me."
A lot of bands would have taken a step back and started their new member off slowly, but not DragonForce. Some of Hudson's first live duties came supporting Iron Maiden in venues such as London's huge O2 Arena. "I was nervous for about six months before, because Herman told me way in advance we had to do it, so it was constantly on my mind." Hudson however took to the stage like a duck to water, "oddly enough the second I went on stage everything was fine, but up until that moment, I was like 'eurgh' can't concentrate; adrenaline kicks in and you just go into auto pilot."
Since then touring has been relentless, with DragonForce taking in shows all over the world. "We just did South America recently, we did Ecuador, Chile, Columbia, Mexico, Brazil, it was just mad everywhere." Hudson is clearly appreciative of the opportunity he has been given and talks with excitement as he continues, "It's cool to get to see countries where you would never go for a holiday. I would never say "I'm going to Chile", so it's really cool."
DragonForce still have plenty of dates left in their calendar and one that stands out in particular for Hudson is Soundwave in Australia, which will see the band touring the country with the likes of Metallica, Linkin Park and Blink 182. "I've never been before. I've actually got a friend living out there, so when we go there, I think we've got five gigs, maybe a few shows tagging on either side, and I was going to get a one way ticket and stay there for like a month and then come back after, but we'll see."
On joining the band, Hudson was thrust straight into his first professional recording session, with work on new album 'The Power Within' already well under way. So how did Hudson find the recording process? "It was fine actually; it was a lot of hard work! I was surprised how much effort it takes to sing something as good as you can, kind of thing. We demoed every song first and then we changed things around, the whole process was quite interesting to be part of."
Coming into this process at such a late stage didn't allow Hudson much chance to put his stamp of the record; however he is hopeful that this will change in the future. "When I joined, I think it was seven songs already done and then I basically got stuck on top of it. But there was times when they were doing lyrics and stuff and I'd help them out with lyrics, because they've been doing the writing for twelve years, so they got stuck for ideas. Occasionally there were a few vocal melodies that I did instead of the ones they said, that made it on there, like the intro to 'Holding On', that was just me doing that, they didn't ask for it. So yeah, little things, but maybe the next album will be more."
So how has Hudson found the reaction to 'The Power Within'? "So far it's all been pretty good. I have to admit I don't really read stuff, I don't read up on things, otherwise you'll drive yourself a bit mad! But yeah, so far the album has been received really, really well and every fan I speak to after the show is like "I love this album" and stuff, so yeah, I couldn't really ask for much more."
So the future looks bright for both Hudson and DragonForce, buts Hudson knows that things could easily have been very different. "I probably would be still working for the same company, but maybe working in Germany. Before I left they actually did offer me a placement over there, so I could be over there. I would have finished my degree by now, that's one thing, I'm still enrolled, I still haven't finished it yet. It was Computer Aided Mechanical Design! I've done electronics and then I was doing mechanical, so I'd do everything."
Instead Hudson will soon be heading to Germany with DragonForce as they continue their huge world tour. Hudson's journey from office job to power metal singer is an inspirational one and he has a simple message for the fans of DragonForce, "thank you for sticking with DragonForce, with me being the new singer and we look forward to seeing everyone on tour."
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article by: Paul Barnes
photos by: Denis Gorbatov
| published: 08/10/2012 10:50|