Tag Archives: heavy metal

An Interview with Raymond Herrera of Fear Factory

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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.

Raymond’s Gear:
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
Cymbals: Zildjian
Sticks: Pro-Mark
Heads: Attack

Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Raymond-Herrera-122079087830648/
Official Website: http://fearfactory.com/

Raymond Herrera of fear factory

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.

I Like To Rock (Part 1, The Metal Years)

cmi music mararthon 2005 graphic

It’s CMJ week here in New York City and that means…well not much to me, actually. I’m bypassing the convention/ panels/ parties/ endless-showcases-of-lame-bands -enjoying-their-five-seconds-of pre-fame this year in favor of attending just a few choice shows. Last night was my designated “Night of Rock,” despite the fact that my Quest for Rock Action meant I would miss the debut of Survivor: Guatemala. Sometimes we must make sacrifices in order to rock.

The first event on my evening’s agenda involved a pitstop at downtown hard rock landmark, Don Hill’s, where Munsey from Skateboard Marketing was holding his own version of a Metal Mania Party, featuring a performance by my favorite band of scary guys with facial hair, Fear Factory.

Burton Bell Fear Factory
Burton Bell of Fear Factory

This is a picture of Fear Factory singer Burton Bell. He is my very favorite heavy metal front man at the moment. Though Burton is not traditionally “hot” in the pop star sense — being kind of scary looking on stage — he is nevertheless unbelievable sexy, outrageously charismatic and has the best voice for the kind of somewhat melodic aggro metal Fear Factory does. I also love his tattoos. Burt, like me, is an Aquarius and that is probably why we get along. We had Mexican food together once, but that is another story.

It was so crazy to see Fear Factory in a teeny tiny club like Don Hill’s because they play huge venues like Roseland these days, and that ‘s part of the reason their set was so mind blowing. They were so tight and so loud and so fucking metal. My ears still hurt. Have you heard their new CD, Transgression? It just rules; a perfect mix of eat-your-face-off aggressive metal and heavy melodic rock. They remind me what Nine Inch Nails could be if Trent had any balls and wasn’t completely self-absorbed. Before their set, I had the chance to talk to Raymond Herrera, FF’s drummer, who I’ve interviewed a couple of times for Modern Drummer Magazine. He is amazing and completely hilarious to talk to.

Munsey’s party was a total blast because I also met up with some of my metal scene friends who I had not seen since winter, or in some cases over year or more, such as Jon Paris, Liz Ciavarella, Felix Sebacious, Rachel Martinez and Steve Prue. It was rad.

Next I jetted over to the Continental for the Liquor and Poker label showcase featuring two of my favorite bands in the Universe:

Crash Kelly Band
Crash Kelly

Black Halos Band

and The Black Halos

And I will get to that part the evening soon, but now I have to catch a train . . .more later involving much rocking, very cute rocker boys and lots of hugging and sweatiness.

50 Ways To Annoy A Metalhead

Metalhead Guy
1. Tell them every metal band worships the devil.
2. Ask if all black metal bands are trying to copy KISS or just most of them.
3. Hide their joint under their library card.
4. Ask if they know of any other cool bands like Slipknot.
5. If they’re listening to metal, tell them it sounds like some mainstream band. Doesn’t matter who.
6. Say it’s all a ripoff of Iron Butterfly anyway.
7. Ask if they’ve given their souls to Jesus yet.
8. Vaguely imply that you’re gay and would like their company for the evening.
9. Record over their Cannibal Corpse albums with other Cannibal Corpse albums and see if they ever notice the difference.
10. Refuse to accept their fake I.D.
11. Ask how much Dio got paid for his role as Stuart Little.
12. Use the phrase “cookie monster vocals” and act like it’s the funniest, most original thing you’ve ever come up with.
13. If they’re listening to metal, tell them “These guys don’t have talent. Now (insert any mainstream band here), those guys have talent!”
14. Say “What is vinyl?”
15. Point out how homosexual Manowar is. If they agree, tell them the only thing more homosexual is Black Sabbath with Dio.
16. Tell them it all sounds the same.
17. Admit that Cliff Burton was a dirty hippy who had already peaked musically.
18. If they say they love 80s metal, ask them what ever happened to Poison.
19. Tell them you like underground music too, like (insert the newest overhyped fashionable loud-ish band from the radio)
20. Point out that Tarja from Nightwish can’t sing.
21. Insist that Emperor videos would be better if they used a dance troupe.
22. Ask if Mayhem is Marilyn Manson’s band.
23. Divert their CD shipments to the local Jewish community center.
24. Write “God Loves You” on their Venom backpatch.
25. Point out that just about every genre of music has an underground with bands who have integrity, so metal really isn’t that unique.
26. Post under their nickname on a power metal board and say Ray Alder shits all over John Arch.
27. Take out the Iron Maiden disc and put in 50 Cent.
28. Give them a spiky pop-punk haircut while they sleep.
29. Pronounce “Celtic Frost” correctly.
30. If they’re over 25, say that people can still rock even if they have an unplanned child or two and drive a grocery getter. Then point and laugh.
31. Tell them you’re not hiring and to try the other Cinnabon down the street.
32. Sit quietly and applaud politely at a metal show.
33. Make them be sober for five whole seconds.
34. Ask if Randy Rhoads was on the same flight as John Denver.
35. Tell them Korn brought metal back to life in the 90s.
36. Turn the bass way up on their stereo.
37. Laugh at Slayer for stealing their name from the Buffy show.
38. Call Doro fat.
39. Call them on their horrible grammar and/or spelling.
40. Remind them that metal is partially derived from the blues. Then accuse them of being wiggers.
41. Use the phrase “balls in a vice” at least three times when talking about classic metal and/or power metal vocalists.
42. If it’s a guy with long hair, address him as if he were female. Don’t correct yourself about it.
43 .Be impressed with how much RoadRunner Records has improved over the past ten years.
44. Say you love Metallica’s debut, The Black Album.
45. Notice that Lemmy hasn’t moved his left hand in 30 years of playing bass.
46. Refer to metal as “that kill-your-father rape-your-mother stuff.”
47. Ask them if their favorite band is so good, how come nobody has ever heard of them.
48. Pine for the good old days when “Pour Some Sugar On Me” was a big hit.
49. Tell them you used to be a metalhead, but grew out of it when you started listening to more intellectual stuff like (insert any band at all here)
50. Post a list of “Ways To Annoy Metal Fans” knowing full well that so many of them internalize everything and can’t take a joke.