The Guitar Spell Interview
(Guitar Madness - Japanese Guitar Fanzine)

with Herman 'Shred' Li of DEMONIAC by Akira Fuji for Japan
August 1999

Herman SHRED Li

Akira: First of all congratulations on a job well done with the new DEMONIAC album, I got totally hooked on it after first listen. How did you end up playing in DEMONIAC?

Herman: Well after the World Domination tour in Europe, Demoniac decided that one guitarist in the band isnít enough and put in an advert in Metal Hammer mag which I saw. I wasnít doing anything at that time, so I said fuck it give these dudes a call who ever they are. It didnít say Demoniac or anything it just said a melodic metal band blablabla. I wasnít gonna call first really, cos most bands in England that said they are metal and melodic ended up being shitty fuck up korn, coal chamber sounding crap.
Gave them a call, had a chat with Behemoth on the phone, I knew straight away these guys are metal as fuck. Before we actually meet up  for a jam I meet Heimdall down the Devils Church (Metal club in London) totally drunk, he was totally cool. Then the rest is history!

Akira: I am very impressed with the overall guitar work on the album, especially those guitar solos which reminded me of guitar heros like Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Tony MacAlpine. One of my favourite solo on the album must be the first one in ĎDaggers and Iceí, incredible stuff. So how long have you been playing and who are your favourite guitarists?

Herman and Jackson Custom USAHerman: Thanks! Well, been playing guitar for nearly 7 years now. I started when I was 16 and basically self-taught, learned from listening to albums and watching videos. Some of the my favourite guitarists right now includes: Steve Vai, Tony MacAlpine, Michael Romeo, Joe Satriani, Vinnie Moore, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, John Petrucci, Malmsteen, George Lynch, Brett Garsed, Rob JohnsonÖ

Akira: Can you tell me a little bit on how you do those solos on the album. What I meant by is do you work them out before recording them?

Herman: Bascially, I just told Mags the producer to run the tape and I just play the solo. Just improvised on the spot you can say, a couple of them I had a basic idea what I was gonna do already so I just improvised around the idea I had in my head. In the studio I like the solos not to be all worked out before, so you can have this really human sounding thing and not sound like you are just playing licks out. There are a little string noise in a solo or 2 but we left them because I am human and not a machine.

Akira: What guitars and amps are you mainly using right now?

Herman: Mainly Ibanez S470sol, Ibanez RG 7 strings, Rocktron Intellifex XL, Marshall JMP-1, 1960 4x12 cab, Marshall 9100 power amp and a couple more other Jackson and Ibanez guitars.

Akira: Obviously your playing and Heimdallís are very different but the way you guys play off each other in the songs really add the metal attitude in. The old Demoniac albums were much laid back in terms of solos, how did this turn around?

Demoniac Rehearsal 1999Herman: hahaha! Well I tell you whatís the story is. In England, they donít like guitar solos, me and Heimdall just said well fuck them letís do more. More and more bands are doing less and less solos and some bands even started to drop them even though they used to do loads, so we decided to do even more. For me lead is part of metal, you have to have it! Imagine Iron Maiden without lead guitar and solos, how lame would that be???

Akira: All those twin guitar harmonised, counterpoints melodies in songs like Demoniac Spell, Eagle Spreads Its Wings and Demons of the Night are really well played and catchy. Do you and Heimdall do the twin harmonies live? Must be hard to pull off?

Herman: YES! We do those live and I love it! With Diccon (ex-Voice of Destruction) on bass now in the band we can do those! Diccen is an incredible player, his sound is just awesome and back us up really well in those parts. I hope youíll be able to catch us live sometime soon, live those hamonies sings out right into your head.

Akira: As far as I am aware, you are really the only Metal Guitarist originally from Hong Kong and an incredible one. Do you feel like you are kinda representing them?

Herman: No hehe. I didnít discovered loud guitars until I left HK at the age of 11. Metal is dead there, no one gives a shit about me there hehehehe!

Akira: So, any tours coming up? Will you be bringing the DEMONIAC SPELL to Europe soon or JAPAN?!

Herman: Right now we only have 2 gigs! Pretty fucked up really, no one like us and are not interested in booking us on tours. There were some sparks of light of touring before the album came out but all just bullshit lies from people and never happened. The 2 gigs will be one in South Africa, one in London in around November or so for Terrorizer Magazine. Anyone in Japan wanna book us? Hehe

Akira: Thanks very much for your time.

Herman: No probs, anytime. FUCKING METALLL TO YOU!!!