The reigning kings of Power Metal, UK’s DragonForce, return to Australia for Soundwave Festival. Jackyboy had a chat with front man Marc Hudson about international touring, weird food and what it was like replacing original vocalist ZP Theart.
Jackyboy: You guys are in Australia soon for Soundwave Festival, and you’ve played Soundwave before, what’s your experience been like touring Australia?
Marc Hudson: I had a really good time last time we were there in 2013. The memorable thing was all the bands had to travel back and forth. There was some funny times travelling in between cities, getting on flights with the other bands, some pretty cool parties. We had a really good time. Australian fans are pretty crazy so it was cool for me the first time ever in Australia being over there to play music, can’t wait.
Jackyboy: Over the next 5 months you’re playing over 50 shows in 17 countries, and tours of this size are nothing new to you and your band mates. What are your favourite cities to tour internationally?
Marc Hudson: That’s a difficult question. Everywhere you go some places can be so different and good in different ways. I’d have to admit my favourite experience would be in Japan, we’ve played twice there. I’ve been there three or four times, played two shows there, and both times we played a festival called Loud Park. It’s just nuts. You get there and there is 20,000 people and they’re crazy, that’s the most memorable for me but that’s probably just the size of the shows.
Jackyboy: Marc, a given reality of overseas travel is foreign custom and cuisine. What’s your favourite thing to eat on tour?
Marc Hudson: The food they give you in France is probably the best. The catering is really great there. People always big up French food, but it deserves it. When you go there it’s head and shoulders better than anywhere else. The worst, it’s difficult to say, depends on whether you want to try new things or stick to what you know. Last time, before we played Soundwave we went to the Philippines, I remember our bass player Fred trying the local delicacies. I’m not sure what you call it, it was a kind of, egg / foetus thing that’s half way between an egg and a chicken. Have you heard of that? I remember the look on his face when he ate it, it’s not like that’s what the venue was offering, it was his choice, this horrible half fertilised egg.
Jackyboy: In 2011 you started singing for Dragonforce, replacing ZP Theart. Was starting out with a band already established difficult for you?
Marc Hudson: Yeah definitely. Joining a band like Dragonforce, they’ve obviously been going for ten years or so. The fans have been listening to one guys voice for ten years and then there’s this new guy, it’s not easy. You have to do your fair share of winning fans over. Not only performing well, recording a good album, and making an effort to reach out to fans and do that whole bit. It’s not just about the music it’s about the person, filling in for someone else, it took a lot to get people on side but to be honest, the fans have been amazing to me. From the beginning, it’s been 90% positive, so I’ve been really happy with that.
Jackyboy: Dragonforce’s sixth album, Maximum Overload came out last August. It features a cover of Ring of Fire written by June Carter Cash made popular by Johnny Cash. Did you have any reservations covering that song?
Marc Hudson: We didn’t take it too seriously in the beginning. We thought this is going to be a love or hate thing. It doesn’t matter how good a job we do, they’re going to hate us for covering it or they’re going to love us. As far as reservations go, not really, we just thought we’re going to do it and see what happens. The funny thing is, after releasing the album at first people were a bit confused. But then when we did the live shows, people were asking for it every night. So we’ve come to the end of the set and people would start chanting ‘Ring of Fire’ and we’re like ‘fuck it, we’ll play it.’ It’s actually been a really cool thing, we have a lot of fun on stage playing it. And I think people find it a bit of a laugh. I don’t know if Australian fans will be into it, it’s different everywhere you go. I’m guessing Johnny Cash is a pretty big deal over there as well?
Jackyboy: Did you know Ring of Fire was originally performed and recorded by Anita Carter, June Carter Cash’s sister?
Marc Hudson: Wow. I had no idea. Maybe I should’ve Googled it first.
Jackyboy: We can catch you at Soundwave Festival, and some Sidewaves in Sydney and Brisbane with Judas Priest. I understand you’re a pretty big Rob Halford fan?
Marc Hudson: Yeah, he’s one of my main influences for vocals.
Jackyboy: How are you feeling about sharing a stage with him?
Marc Hudson: Yeah it’s going to be cool. The whole band have toured with them before, so for me being new I’ve never done that and it should be really cool, slowly but surely I’m ticking off the list of singers that I looked up to when I was younger. We played with Iron Maiden and various other bands and now Judas Priest. I’m seriously looking forward to it.