We had the chance to talk with DragonForce's bassist, Sinsaenum's leader, fan and also great friend of BABYMETAL, Newswire interviewed Frederic Leclercq! In order to celebrate our 2nd Anniversary online we are happy to share this great interview with all of you. We hope you like it! 日本語のインタビューは、こちらをお読みください。
Frederic Leclercq talk Sinsaenum, meeting & playing with BABYMETAL on Newswire!
Newswire had the great opportunity to stop Frederic Leclercq during his tight schedule in Japan. Our interview was via via email while he stayed in Japan and then when he returned to Europe to talk about his beginnings, his activities with DragonForce and his new project Sinsaenum which released their first Album in July! Frederic also speaks about the creating process of "Road Of Resistance", playing with BABYMETAL at Download Festival 2015, Metal Hammer Golden Gods 2015, Tokyo Dome, meeting the girls in France, and Japan many times, his favorite BABYMETAL song and his favorite BABYMETAL member!
We hope you like the interview, please share your impressions and greetings to Frederic aka FRED-METAL in the comments section, DEATH!!
Newswire: First and foremost thank you stopping by and talk with us!
On DragonForce's Website you are introduced as 'multi' man because you are very talented, and speak 3 languages plus a few dirty words in almost every language! We you know play bass, guitar, keyboard, you are also singer, producer and composer. How did you get into music and what artists inspired you?
Frederic Leclercq: "There's always been music around me, my parents are music lovers and (non professional) musicians. So yes, music has always been very important. My mother was playing piano while I was in her womb because she read an article about how babies can hear what surrounds them, and thought it would be great. I think she was right, as I have that particular relationship with music. then when I was around young I took piano lessons for a few years, and then I discovered metal and switched to electric guitar because thats the instrument that clearly caught my attention in this style of music.
As for artists, the first metal band I heard was Manowar, followed shortly by Iron Maiden. No in terms of inspiration, it depends.. in metal, I would mention Iron Maiden, Metallica, Morbid Angel, Pestilence, Slayer... but really, every piece of music is an inspiration. For example I love video games and animes, well their music inspired me a lot, too. Also classical music like Beethoven, Bartok.. or prog, for example UK (I woke up this morning with their song "Danger Money"in my head). Im also a huge Allan Holdsworth fan, I love 80s disco music...I listen to A LOT of different stuff."
Newswire: BABYMETAL girls started very young, they are very young yet.
But what about you? When was your first live performance? Do you remember how was that experience?
Frederic Leclercq: "The first time I had to play in front of some people was at the piano exam at the music school and I really did NOT enjoy that (Laughs). I was super stressed but mainly because the audience was there to judge, it was just teachers and parents and other students. so that wasn't fun. I also remember doing choirs at the church, still through music school. I remember doing a small theater appearance when I was around 10 maybe? I was a drunken cowboy and I had to mumble something pretending to be, well, drunk, and then fall on the floor. The audience was laughing and I enjoyed that (much more than the piano exam anyway).
As for the first metal concert I was 16, and it was great. I really enjoyed it, I wasnt stressed at all, like, not at all, I was in my element. I was ready, I knew the songs, I just had a great time!"
Newswire: You started to play with DragonForce a few shows in North America and Japan in 2005, how did you join Dragonforce?
Frederic Leclercq: "I was in a power metal band called Heavenly and back in 2000 we met Herman who came to one of our second show (well, he came to see Symphony X, and it was a festival and we were opening. still he saw us (Laughs)) and we became friends and always kept in touch.
When they had a problem with their bass player they asked me-its actually the manager who mentioned my name and apparently they said "well he is a good guitar player he will probably say no to bass" but Herman approached me and said "yo, we are doing 3 shows, Montreal, New York and Japan, and our bassplayer can't make it. would you like to do it?" and I thought "I've never been to those places and I especially always dreamt of going to Japan so YES, let's do this!" and it went well! Actually the NY show was a little special cos only 3 of us could make it to the US due to Visa issues, so we ended up doing only 1 ballad at CBGB with a drummer we found at the venue...it was....interesting.
Anyway in January 2006 Dragonforce had a European tour and since everything went well they asked me if I wanted to join them again on that, while they were still looking for a permanent replacement. I was totally ok with it. After a week, we were having dinner at the venue, and I kinda felt like they wanted to tell me something... they went "so, erm, youd like to join the band?", nothing super enthuiastic, just like "what time is it?" kinda. and so I answered with the same tone "well, yeah, why not". thats that! :) (Laughs)"
Newswire: DragonForce and Japan have a beautiful relationship, what is the difference of playing in Japan and why is so special for your band?
Frederic Leclercq: "I can only speak for myself but this is no secret that I love Japan. I made that very clear each and every time I had the chance to say it :) Now as a musician, the fans are just really polite, generous, they are the simply the best. They wait for you, bring you a little present. They are super reactive during the show, they sing along. Its just...its always been amazing each time we played in Japan. Even when we had technical difficulties, its still a great memory each time. So therefore we LOVE to play here, and that makes me double happy of course."
Newswire: Talking about Japan, according to Herman Li, along with Sam Totman they started to collaborate with BABYMETAL in 2013. What was your reaction when Herman and Sam tell the rest of the band about the collaboration with BABYMETAL?
Frederic Leclercq: "I thought it was great!! I knew about BABYMETAL back then already, so I thought it was awesome to have a collaboration with them!"
Newswire: How was your reaction when you first heard "Road Of Resistance"?
Frederic Leclrecq: "Well I heard the demo version as I helped Herman and Sam a bit in terms of harmonies chords etc, so I already could hear the potential of the song! It turned out to sound awesome so my first reaction was a big smile on my face!"
Newswire: You guys played with BABYMETAL twice, first at Download Festival 2015, BABYMETAL was your special guest there, and then together played "Road Of Resistance" and "Gimme Chocolate" at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods 2015. How was the experience of playing with BABYMETAL?
Frederic Leclercq: "The first show, Download, we were kinda nervous because we didn't rehearse anything with the girls. We learned the song, we knew how to play it, no problem, but it was more like "what do we do/where do we stand" because BABYMETAL have their choregraphy, but also we didn't wanna stay in line behind. So we just prayed (to the Fox God I guess (Laughs)) that we wouldn't bump into each other. We watched some live videos to see what they were doing and I'm not sure if we talked about it with them before the show, that I can't remember for sure..I think we did.
Anyway it went very well, no accident! For the Metal Hammer Golden Gods we had time to rehearse the songs with them, as well as what to do on stage when etc, so it was even more relax. It was a fun experience! The girls are very professional, I think they had fun with us as well, we were all smiling and joking both on and off stage. So all in all, yes, a fun experience!"
Newswire: What was the reaction from your fans after playing with BABYMETAL?
Frederic Leclercq: "It's always the same, some will be happy, some will criticize.. I think most of our fans enjoyed the collaboration! It was just a one off, you know, but enough to get some people go "oh my god this is not real power metal anymore blablabla" but yeah, mostly it was very positive. At both shows it went really well anyway, no one booed or left-I think!
I respect die hard fans who don't see this collaboration as a good thing, I hear what they have to say but we personally did what we wanted-we always do- and I hope they can respect that too. We had a great time and yeah, most people who witnessed both shows did, too! So all in all yes, positive reaction!"
Newswire: You are probably flying back from Japan right now where you promoted your new project with Sinsaenum where you are playing guitar. Tell us about this new project, and what are your future plans with Sinsaenum and also with DragonForce.
Frederic Leclercq: "Well actually now I'm back home, I stayed in Japan for a little week only-unfortunately, it's always too short. Sinsaenum is something I've always wanted to do, it shows a darker side of my personality that not a lot of people might know because I have that smily, funny, social side of me, and I embrass it totally, you know, when people bring me Dr. Slump presents because I have an Unchi Kun tattooed on my leg (and a few more Akira Toriyama characters actually), it's great because it's me. But it's a only one side. I also have that very dark, sad, depressed side of me, I love extreme, violent music, I love horror movies, I have this nihilistic vision of life, and I guess I need a way to express this musically at least. Sinsaenum is that. And so I have the privilege to do this with my friends Joey Jordison, Attila Csihar, Stephane Buriez, Sean Zatorsky and Heimoth who are all extremely talented musicians and all play or played in respected and very well known bands in the metal genre. We all have this strong connection and when I presented them the songs (I wrote all the music and half of the lyrics) they totally got it and just made everything 10000 times better.
The album "Echoes of the Tortured" came out end of July and the reviews have been extremely positive. It's black death metal. It's not out there to please the masses, and ultimately we don't really care if people like it or not because we know we did it the way we wanted to-but it's great when people connect, when they get what we are trying to express. I am very proud of Sinsaenum. We are working on new songs and well, touring is difficult because we all have busy schedule with our other bands, but I promise you this, we will come to Japan one way or another! I got the opportunity to come here and meet Ward, our label in Japan, and I have nothing but good things to say about them so it's a great collaboration and yeah, we will come to Japan. Not now, people need to be patient and they have a lot of songs to listen to until then, but we WILL COME, I swear.
As for Dragonforce we are working on a new album, it's been written, we are recording right now. It will come out next year, not sure exactly when, first half of 2017 I'd say. And right now, as if I wasn't busy enough, I'm replacing Loudblast's bass player, so I'm rehearsing with the band and it's great cause I've always loved the band (which is why it's great that Stephane is in Sinsaenum-he became one of my best friend and we first met like 20 years ago) and I also worked on a Massacra tribute band. Massacra was a death metal band from France and they stopped in 1997 but were a big name within the genre back then, so we payed tribute to them, it was all the big names of death metal in France, plus me, I was really happy to be part of this, I think it's about time I explore that darker side I was talking about, so yeah Ive been doing quite a lot of death/black metal stuff at the moment and it feels right."
Newswire: During your stay in Japan you had the chance to attend to BABYMETAL performances at Tokyo Dome, what do you think about the biggest BABYMETAL shows to date? In addition, you met the girls, how was meeting them again?
Frederic Leclercq: "The show was phenomenal, perfectly on point, everything done with precision, intensity, really great sound, awesome lights, and wonderful performance-not
the mention the crowd which played a huge part in the final result. It personally it reminded me of X-Japan Tokyo Dome concert "The last Live"-I had the
goosebumps from the crowd's reaction!
Oh, I've met the girls a few times since the Golden Gods show: They came to say hi when we played LoudPark, we came to one of their Fan Club (THE ONE) show in Tokyo, I went to see them in Paris in June (I promised them I would bring them French cheese :)). It's always a pleasure to see them a crack a few jokes, they have a busy schedule and this time they were really exhausted after their excellent show, I saw them both nights and it was cool-and I brought them cheese again!"
Newswire: In your review of BABYMETAL at Tokyo Dome on Metal Hammer you praised Kami Band, what do you think about them?
Frederic Leclercq: "I think they are excellent musicians! As a guitar and bass player that's what I notice the most of course, so while the drummer is great I'm more paying attention the other 4 guys! But yeah, they all have amazing skills and they are the perfect backbone to the show. It's always great when they have these instrumental parts and they shred!!"
Newswire: You are a great BABYMETAL fan, and every fan has one favorite member and one favorite song. Who is your favorite BABYMETAL member and favorite BABYMETAL song?
Frederic Leclercq: "Like I always say, I consider myself more a friend rather than a fan, but yeah I totally dig what they are doing, the whole concept appeals to me!
Favorite song I would have to say "Gimme Chocolate" for a few good reasons: That's the first song we played with the girls, also I have a lot of respect for Takeshi Ueda and I think he did an awesome job here, I love the chorus, and I think overall the song represents the band well, like if someone asks what is BABYMETAL I would play that song, it's direct, violent, catchy, cute and funny!
As for the favorite member, while I love all 3, I think BABYMETAL fans already decided for me which one was my favorite, :) (Laughs!)"
Last question, as we said at the beginning on DragonForce's Website says that you speak 3 languages, French, English and German. Are you learning Japanese too?
Frederic Leclercq: "...chotto. Nihongo wakarimasen, gomen nasai. Muzukashi! I have tried to learn this beautiful language but I failed miserably. It's really not easy. Mind you I went to a karaoke (for the first time!!) during this stay in Japan, and with romanji I was able to sing a few songs (Hokuto no Ken, Ziggy, YMO) and apparently my pronounciation is not too bad, well I guess my friends are polite :)
But yeah, well, I know some words and phrases, I can read some Hiragana, Katakana just a few, Kanji forget it :)
Each time I come to Japan I try to at least learn a few new things. I really wish I could speak Japanese."
Newswire: Thank you very much for taking time to answer our questions during your tight schedule, we very appreciate your kindness!
Frederic Leclercq: "Dou itashimashite! Domou arigatou to you for the interview! Mata ne!!"
Make sure to support Frederic Leclercq who is a great BABYMETAL supporter and friend of the girls!
Get Sinsaenum's debut Album "Echoes of the Tortured" on Amazon, click here.