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An Interview with Kris Kohls of Adema

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Impacting the metal scene in 2001, Bakersfield’s Adema became one of the most popular bands of Nu Metal’s second wave. But Adema went through some unfortunate circumstances after the release of its second album, prophetically entitled Unstable. First the group’s label folded and, shortly thereafter, lead vocalist Mikey Chavez parted ways with the band. In early 2005 however, Adema found a new singer, Luke Caraccioli, signed to a new label (Earache) and released a stunning third album, Planets. Drummer Kris Kohls says the hardship has been worth it. “We were trying to break away from the ‘Nu Metal’ label, because we never considered ourselves part of that movement. We grew up on Led Zeppelin, Motley Crue, Guns ‘N’ Roses and rock bands. We have metal influences such as Metallica and Pantera, but we mainly come from the rock side and we were categorized as Nu Metal over and over. We wanted a new singer with his own voice – someone with an original sound – and that’s what we got with Luke.” Kris Kohls was happy to talk rock with Metal Edge while Adema toured with Brides of Destruction.

Metal Edge: Some fans have criticized Adema for keeping the name, claiming that the band’s sound has changed too radically to still be called Adema. How do you feel about that?

Kris Kohls: I just think this is the true sound of Adema. This is what we’ve evolved into and the direction in which we’ll continue to go. Musically, it’s exactly where we want to be and we respect each other, work well together and love each other as brothers. We’re having fun again and that’s what it’s all about. We just love playing together and we’re excited for the future.

Metal Edge: You’re in the middle of a tour with Brides of Destruction but most people may not know that you also played drums on the album, Here Come The Brides. How did that happen?

Kris Kohls: About ten years ago I was in a band called Cradle of Thorns and we toured with LA Guns, so I’ve known Tracii Guns since then. In 2002, Adema was finishing up an Ozzfest tour when I got a call from Tracii. He said, “I’m starting a band with Nikki Sixx, do you want to be in it?” That decision was a no brainer! Adema was taking a three-month break anyway, so I went home and started playing with Brides. We rehearsed every day for three months and then made the record. When Adema started recording Unstable I had to leave that project, but they kept my drum tracks for all those songs, even though the CD came out a year later. It was funny, because the purpose of that band was to write new songs but I’d come in every day and say, “Let’s play “Shout at The Devil” or “Too Fast For Love”! So Nikki would appease me and play those songs with me. Playing with those guys was a blast.

Metal Edge: Do you still practice Brazilian jujitsu?

Kris Kohls: Yes, that’s my hobby aside from drumming. I wanted to find an activity that would help me get in shape physically and I started [training] with the Gracies, a Brazilian family who brought [this practice] to America. If you learn to defend yourself with Brazilian jujitsu, size or strength does not matter once you have the techniques down. I also compete, which is fun and exciting. It gets the adrenaline going and gives you the same high that you get from playing drums. It’s been extremely beneficial to my drumming, both mentally – helping me with concentration and focus – and physically.

Metal Edge: I heard that you met Paul McCartney while recording one of Adema’s albums.

Kris Kohls: I did and it was pretty cool. We were recording our first record at A&M studio and he was recording there also. He was just totally nice, like a normal guy, but it was definitely one of those moments where you’re freaking out. The whole time we were talking, instead of paying attention I was just thinking, “I’m talking to Paul McCartney” (laughs).

Metal Edge: What drummers inspire you, as far as your current technique?

Kris Kohls: I listen to a broad scope of music. I do listen to players like Buddy Rich and Steve Gadd. Technically, I’m nowhere near their level, but their inspiration shows up in my playing. I also love guys who play with passion and feeling, like Tommy Lee, Josh Freese and Chad Smith. As far as technique, I’ve been watching Billy Ward’s instructional video, Big Time. His playing and philosophies on drums are amazing. My technique probably also got stronger from just playing constantly. When we were in pre-production for Planets, we ran those songs over and over. By the time I got in the studio to record them it was just second nature and I was able to let loose and be in the moment. I wasn’t thinking about anything other than just playing drums to the best of my ability.

Kris’s Gear:
Drums: TAMA StarClassic
Sizes: 24”Bass Drum, 12” & 13” Rack Toms; 16” Floor Tom, Bell Brass Snare
Hardware: TAMA hardware
Cymbals: Sabian
Sticks: Vater
Heads: Evans

Official Website: https://adema.band/
Official Website: https://kriskohls.com/

kris kohls photo by josie borisow

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.

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.