In the world of heavy metal drumming, Fear Factory’s Raymond Herrera is an unstoppable machine, renown for his innovative, brutal rhythms and lightning fast double bass playing. On Fear Factory’s latest album, Transgression, Raymond continues to create the intricate, pounding cadences that define his band’s ground breaking, signature sound. Metal Edge caught up with Raymond for a brief chat on the last day of summer 2005’s Gigantour, which also featured metal juggernauts Megadeth and Anthrax, as well as modern prog rockers, Dream Theater.
Metal Edge: Did you and Christian (Olde Wolbers, guitarist) write all of the music for Transgression, as you generally do, building the songs around your rhythms?
Raymond Herrera: Well, it’s not all about me. Christian also comes up with really cool rhythms that I’ll end up following. As long as we get that tightness between the rhythm and the kick drums, that’s the signature Fear Factory sound. The biggest change on this record is that we wrote the majority of the music on the road, when we were on tour last year with Slipknot and Lamb of God. Most of this record was written on a drum machine.
Metal Edge: How does that work?
Raymond Herrera: It’s got sixteen pads with all of my different sounds programmed in there, such as my kick drum sounds from Obsolete, my snare sound from Demanufacture, my cymbals and everything. With all of my actual drum kit on these pads, I can start programming stuff and it really sounds like a drum kit. I don’t really know any drummers who write records on a drum machine and I think it’s next to impossible for a lot of bands to do it, but Fear Factory’s music revolves around rhythms and patterns. Most fans know that.
Metal Edge: Transgression features a terrific cover U2’s “I Will Follow.” How did you add your own feel while still being faithful to the original drum parts?
Raymond Herrera: I love that song, so I didn’t want to steer too far from the original. On a cover song, I usually start by doing what the original drummer did. As I get more comfortable with that, I get a little bit more experimental. When we started doing “I Will Follow,” I really liked the original drum parts and there wasn’t much I wanted to change. I added some parts in the middle of the song and I probably played a little bit behind the click. Otherwise, I just played it harder.
Metal Edge: The song “Supernova” is very progressive sounding. It seems like the band is confident with its ability to really experiment and step outside the accepted “What Fear Factory Does” box.
Raymond Herrera: We could easily have written more songs like “Spinal Compression” and “Moment of Impact” – we could do that all day long. But we started writing songs that were a little bit different. We realized our singer can belt it out with the best of them and we have the freedom to try new things. When Christian and I wrote the music to “Supernova,” I didn’t know exactly what Burton (Bell, vocalist) was going to do over it. The fact that he sang the whole way through and made it more of a pop track is very interesting. It was great to be able to follow through on that idea, because it’s cool and different. A lot our fans loved Archetype because it was very much Fear Factory, but at the same time many people didn’t like it because it sounded just like Fear Factory. So go figure.
Drums: TAMA StarClassic in Maple Brown Finish
Sizes: (2) 18X22 Bass Drums, 8×10, 10×12 & 11X13 Rack Toms; 16X16 & 16X18 Floor Toms, 4X14 Maple Snare
Hardware: Tama hardware; DW 5000 Pedal
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Raymond-Herrera-122079087830648/
Official Website: http://fearfactory.com/
This article was originally written for Metal Edge Magazine as part of a monthly column by Gail Worley (under the pen name Jayne Rollins). With the magazines’ dissolution, the article has been added to the content base of The Worley Gig for our readers’ enjoyment.