Dragonforce's Frédéric Leclercq wants you to travel the world

Frédéric Leclercq 2016
(Image: © Mark Rudolph)

When I decided that I wanted to be a musician, at the age of 12, a desire to tour the world was part of the equation. I started to do gigs outside of France in 2000. I was playing keyboards in a band called Heavenly. We had a tour that went to Germany and some other countries in Europe, and I discovered that going to new places and playing music was something I really enjoyed. I feel like I haven’t stopped travelling since then. In Dragonforce we’ve done many world tours and we’ve been everywhere – Hawaii, Russia, New Zealand and even Belgium, ha ha! We’ve done North America and South America, too, so it’s only the African continent that we’ve never touched.

It may sound like a cliché, but it’s true that music brings people together. When we travel, we can see that the music we play is an international language. When I started to tour my English was nowhere near as good as it is now – although it’s still not great! – and yes, music is a great way to help us to begin to understand each other. We all speak the language of the heart and the spirit. We all share the same passion and it transcends all political and economic problems. In Dragonforce, we’re there to entertain people and to welcome them. Wherever we go, the fans are always the same. They want to escape for 90 minutes, so we offer them escapism and we get to escape as well. For that hour and a half it doesn’t matter that I’m French, the drummer is Italian or the crowd is Japanese: we are all there for the same thing.

When we play at Hellfest, it doesn’t matter if you’re from the UK or Germany or wherever: everyone is the same and it’s a strong community. So people should consider travelling abroad and checking out other festivals, because you can learn so much from other people. Some UK people might even discover that Europe is not such a bad thing!

There are pros and cons to being in a multinational band, which is true of both Dragonforce and Sinsaenum. When you’re with people who speak the same language and that have the same culture, you instinctively understand each other better. Sometimes, being with people from other cultural backgrounds can be problematic, but the benefits are there, too – you’re learning new languages, for instance. One downside can be that sometimes I want to be extremely French, then I’m on my own! I used to live in Germany and I worked in a big business centre with people from all over Europe, so even before joining Dragonforce I was used to being with a diverse group of people. I noticed that Italian and Spanish people are nearly always late, while German, Swedish and English people seem to be on time! You pick this stuff up along the way and it helps you to relate to everyone better.

One thing that British people have really easy is that you guys speak the international language, English, so you have been able to travel pretty much anywhere and it’s easy. In Europe we all have to adapt to that. I try to learn a bit of the local language wherever I go. It’s a mark of respect, but it also means I come home with a bit of the culture. We have a saying in France, ‘Les voyages forment la jeunesse’, which means ‘Travelling is a source of experiences and helps you grow up.’ I know that I’m very lucky to do what I do, but travel also makes you wiser and, I think, happier.

I come from a small town in the middle of nowhere and music has enabled me to go to so many different places. I’ve seen the Great Wall Of China and I’ve spent Halloween in Hawaii, and those things enrich you and help you to learn more about the world and yourself, too. Through music I can communicate with people all over the world – that’s a special thing. If you ever get a chance to see the world, you must grab it while you can. The world is still there for you to discover.”

SINSAENUM’S DEBUT ALBUM, ECHOES OF THE TORTURED , IS OUT NOW VIA EARMUSIC. DRAGONFORCE PLAY BLOODSTOCK ON AUGUST 14

(Image: © Mark Rudolph)

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