is an industrial
groove metal band that was formed in 2008 by Christian Olde Wolbers
(Fear Factory) and Raymond
(Fear Factory) who had recorded a demo for a new band.
They sent the demo to Threat Signal vocalist Jon Howard who laid down
some vocals and ARKAEA was born. As for a Bass player they were
trying to obtain Sam Rivers who was all for it but decided to back down
due to location. Ryan Martinie of Mudvayne then offered his services for
the album but it was felt it would be too difficult for another bassist
to replicate his unique basslines live as he could not tour due to
Mudvayne commitments. After a while looking for the perfect bassist,
another Threat Signal member, Pat Kavanagh, was finally chosen.
Their debut entitled ‘Years in the Darkness’ will be released soon. The
album was produced by Christian Olde Wolbers and ARKAEA, mixed by
legendary producer Terry Date (Deftones, Slipknot, White Zombie,
Soundgarden, Pantera) and mastered by Ted Jensen of Sterling Sound, who
also mastered Fear Factory’ s gold album ‘Obsolete’ resulting in a
modern metal opus too good to be ignored.
It seems there is plenty to talk about and drummer Raymond Herrera
was available to answer some questions. Here you can read what he had to
say to the readers of Metal-Experience.com.
Congratulations on your new album ‘Years In The Darkness’
which will be released soon, of course we’d like to ask you a couple of
questions about it.
First of all, could you start this interview off with a
short introduction of band, the origin of its name and how you guys got
We wanted to come up with a name that was our own and didn’t really mean
anything, so essentially a made up word. We also thought that this would
be a good idea for searching information on the band, we knew that if we
created our own word, it would be easy to find online or anywhere else.
Christian and I had written some songs already and it was Christian’s
idea to bring in Jon from Threat Signal to do the vocals, and that was
the beginning of the band. Then we brought in Pat from Threat Signal as
well, Jon suggested this.
How did you launch into writing material for ‘Years In
The Darkness’ and how much time did you spend on creating the songs?
The music was originally written as the next Fear Factory
album, but it probably took about 1 ½ years to get this done from the
time we started to the time we finished recording.
What approach did you take to make this album, did you go
for a more raw exposition.. or something more reminiscent of your
previous other works, or something all together different?
definitely were going for something reminiscent of what we are known
for, only because that is naturally what we write to begin with. There
are new additions to that, since we have Jon on the vocals, it started
to steer some things in a different way. But overall it does have our
Did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them
down or was it more of a careful composing thing?
generally starts with us just jamming or writing in the studio and just
writing what feels natural. As the songs get more and more finalized, we
then have to purposely figure out what will work with what songs and
write those specific parts.
What comes first, lyrics or melodies?
I believe Jon had lyrics written first and then the
melodies came afterwards, but you may have to ask Jon about that
How was your experience with your previous band helpful
in your compositional skills? How does that affect the way you write now
we have done this so many times, it is very, very helpful. It is way
easier to write music with other people that you work well with.
What were the goals you had in mind when you started to
record ‘Years In The Darkness’, any elements you definitely wanted to
have on the album? Was it a conscious decision to do it this way?
Not from a philosophical standpoint, we mainly just want
to write great songs and that is the most important thing, from our
Could you please describe the implications of the title
‘Years In The Darkness’, what does it stand for and is there a special
meaning behind it?
It is a great barometer for what the times are like at
the moment, lots of bad things happening in the world and it seems
fitting for a title such as ours.
About the lyrics, of course some of the themes are clear,
but can you explain them to us in short?
Jon’s lyrics are very much in the now and relatable,
there are a lot of broad strokes of personal feelings, choices in life
along with regret etc.. I think they are topics which are very
understandable and relatable.
Can you give us a little background about the songs on
the album, is there a story behind them?
Well each song is a story in its own right, but there is no actual
How did the recording process for ‘Years In The Darkness’
proceed? How much time did you spend in the studio?
The recording process was great, we recorded the album in
my recording studio which is called temple studios
www.temple-studios.com. So we were not in a hurry to get this
recording done and were able to take our time to make the record sound,
the way we wanted it to. We spent about 6 months in the studio during
the record and pre-production process.
What do you think are the main differences between your
previous works and
‘Years In The Darkness’?
I think the biggest difference is having Jon Howard on
vocals. This is the first thing that stands out when people hear it,
since everyone is used to hearing Burt on vocals with our style of
What is the utmost important ingredient for a song?
The vocals are the most important thing.
Do you have any favourites on the album?
Yes, “Years In The Darkness”, and “War Within” are my two
favorites right now.
Have you received any feedback on the album yet?
Yes, we have received a lot of feedback and people are
very blown away and most people have a different favorite song, which is
usually a good sign.
Are third party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your
music important to you? Or are your music and band the only things that
Yes, other people’s opinions are good gauges for our
music, it is really because of those people that I am in this business
in the first place. If our fans didn’t like what we are doing, then I
would not be in the music business for too long.
Overall, are you pleased with the outcome of the songs or
would you have liked to have changed anything in retrospective? Which
element on the CD are you the most proud of?
Yes, I am definitely pleased and we are very excited that
we finally got to release this album. I am most proud of the fact that
I was able to record our album at my studio and not having to rush and
really being able to do things on our own terms. I am also very excited
to be working with Jon and Pat for the first time, they are very hard
working and very talented guys. I look forward to the future this new
band will have, with the permission of the fans by their response to the
work we have done.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of
things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics?
I am 36 years old and I have been playing drums since the
age of 15, I have been a professional musician for over 15 years now and
feel very blessed to have had this long of a run in the music industry
so far. My motivation for my work is my previous works, I like to try
and top what I have done in the past and find ways to make that happen.
With several albums under your belt, how far has you
career surpassed your original dreams and what would you say is the most
rewarding part of being in the band?
Well, you always want things to be bigger and better, and
overall things have been surpassed from my original milestones thoughts.
I think the most rewarding part of this is that I get to do what I love
for a living and that is something that I feel very fortunate for.
What is your opinion on the metal scene these days? What
do you think about the overload of bands at the moment and is there
anything missing in the scene?
There are a ton of bands out there, I believe that I read
somewhere that there are over 3 million bands on myspace, that is an
amazing number of bands. I think that it has become easier and easier to
make music because of the amazing software in the market that emulates
their expensive hardware counterparts. It is good to see that so many
people are inspired to write music and that they want to form bands,
which are easier to form as opposed to the past, but the industry as a
whole is taking a financial beating. What is missing is the amount of
attention that record labels pay to their bands and artists etc…so a lot
of people are taking things into their own hands and just put their own
music on myspace or other social networks or even digitally. This has
blurred the line between the real bands and musicians from the every day
band that is trying to strive to make it in the industry that is so
What can we expect from Arkaea in the near future, any
Yes, we are planning to do a lot of touring and when we
have tour dates confirmed, we will be announcing them on our website at
Where do you see Arkaea going within the next couple of
years, and where do you see your musical direction going for the next
We will be writing or recording the next record around
that time, it is too early to tell how much the music may change in the
future. I guess time will tell.
Anything left to say to our readers?
Just want to thank your readers for taking the time to read this
interview and look forward to touring in support of the album.
Thanks for your time,
Howard - Vocals (Threat Signal)
Christian Olde Wolbers - Guitar (Fear Factory)
Kavanagh - Bass (Threat Signal)
Raymond Herrera - Drums (Fear Factory)
(2009) - Years In The Darkness