Members of Dragonforce, Linkin Park, Chthonic, Discuss Racism Against Asians
Heavy Consequence has celebrated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by interviewing several notable hard rock and metal musicians of Asian and AAPI heritage about their experiences with racism. Interview subjects include Herman Li (Dragonforce), Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park), Freddy Lim (Chthonic/the Taiwanese legislature), Kimberly Goss (Sinergy), Saki (Amahiru, Mary’s Blood), and Wolf Red (Bamboo Star).
You can read excerpts from some of those interviews below, or just go here to read the entire thing.
Herman Li (Dragonforce)
“I remember doing a show with Atreyu, on an off day during Ozzfest, and someone threatened me and wanted to beat me up after the show was over. There was no real reason, it was just outside in the carpark.
“There aren’t that many Asian guitar players, Chinese [guitar players], it’s even less. Another experience, before Dragonforce got big, I used to get phone calls at my house almost every single day, sometimes at 4:00 a.m., sometimes at 7:00 p.m., of someone making a funny accent and insulting me and just prank calling me and it went on for months. I had to get the police involved, they couldn’t trace the number.
“All of these things that happened, but I was able to channel that energy to make a stronger self and to make Dragonforce more successful. I think the metal scene is in denial of racism in it. I have so many crazy stories but we don’t really talk about it and when I do interviews I’m not ever asked about it because they think it doesn’t exist.”
Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park)
“In general, just not having any Asian role models in music meant I didn’t have anyone to look up to in that way. But more specifically, our A&R once asked us to stop using a certain logo because it “looked like a sticker for an Asian car club.”
Freddie Lim (Chthonic)
“In 2013, when we toured the U.S., there were allegedly Chinese students who sent threatening letters to our booking agent and tour manager saying they will kill us when we’re onstage — that was a bad experience. But we decided to go on with the show and not give a shit about them. It could have been Chinese students studying in the U.S. or hired hands by the Chinese government – we’re not sure if it’s really Chinese students or not [who wrote the letters].”
Kimberly Goss (Sinergy)
“Recently I had someone tell me to, ‘Go back to North Korea you f**king gook’ in a direct message on Instagram. I remember one time on tour with another band I played in, some guys were harassing me outside the venue, mocking some Asian accent and laughing at me. Then they saw me onstage and asked for my autograph after the concert. I looked at them and did the same mock-Asian accent and said, ‘I no understand you.’ In person, it was rare, but online I definitely used to read comments from people referring to me with Asian slurs. They usually got shut down pretty fast by other fans, though, so that restored my faith in humanity.”