Dragonforce's Herman Li: "I'm not in the top thousand guitar players in this world."

Herman Li on stage
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dragonforce guitarist Herman Li has drastically downplayed his status as one of metal's greatest and most celebrated shredders in a new interview with Metal Hammer. Speaking to Hammer in their latest issue, starring Judas Priest icon Rob Halford on the cover, Li is asked where the creativity for his famously long guitar solos comes from. 

Taking a humble stance in his answer, Dragonforce's founding member replies: “I don’t think I’m the smartest guy in the room. I’m definitely not the best guitar player – I’m not in the top thousand in this world. But I want to get better. That’s how the creativity came around, because the amount of knowledge in the guitar world is unlimited – so I’m always learning.”

Elsewhere, Li suggests that he has "another 10, 15 years" of being able to play at the intense speed he currently manages, adding: "I’m being realistic. Playing a Dragonforce set is not easy, it asks a lot of you. It’s not like we can pace ourselves – you know, some bands can play forever, right? But if you want to see Dragonforce live, you better come now, I’m telling you. This is not forever."

Li is also asked how many scars he has on his fingers from playing too fast, and while he says he has none on his fingers, he does reveal a rather gnarly injury that happened during a recent tour. "I fell offstage on our last tour of America," he explains. "I really hurt my leg and my teeth. I’m having to go to physiotherapy for my left leg. I fucked it up mid-tour, and kept doing the shows like nothing was happening because the show must go on. Now I’m doing therapy to get this leg ready for the next tour – it’s been going on for months. But that’s the danger of a Dragonforce show – we don’t do boring shows!”

Dragonforce's new album, Warp Speed Warriors, is out on March 15; the power metal icons play UK dates later this month. To read Li's full interview, pick up the latest issue of Metal Hammer, out now. 

MHR385 Cover

(Image credit: Future)
Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.