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Arkaea with Raymond Herrera & Jon Howard

Can you briefly summarize how the band formed and what you do in Arkaea?

[Raymond Herrera] christian had worked with jon howard in the past and when it came time to work on a new project, christian was pushing for jon howard to be the singer and pat is the bass player for jon’s band threat signal and it made sense to bring pat into the band since jon was very happy with jon and the work he has done with threat signal. My name is raymond herrera and I am the drummer in arkaea

Your lyrics are infused with heavy detail and raw emotion. What is it that normally gives you inspiration when writing lyrics and is there a concept behind the writing of Years Of Darkness?

[Jon] Inspiration for my writing comes from everyday life.  I have to be motivated by a certain event or topic, not just smash a bunch of words together to form a song. Years In The Darkness deals with personal and poitical issues and the way I see and understand them.  I really try to put a positive spin on my lyrics since the world is filled with so much hate already.

You just released Years Of Darkness, how has the reactions been thus far? What can fans expect when they pick up a copy?

[Raymond Herrera] the record will come out on july 14th, so far the response has been very positive and people have seemed to really enjoyed the record so far. Fans can expect about an hour long record with a lot of heaviness, epicness and melody

When it came to releasing Years Of Darkness how did that whole package come together? What was the recording process like, how long did you have, was their any pressure on you?

[Raymond Herrera] the record started with christian and myself writing the music and then jon coming into the fray and then the real picture starting to take shape. The recording process was amazing, we recorded the record at my studio (temple Studios) and we were not pressed for time, so the whole experience was great.

How do you think you will effect the Metal scene you are part of? What are your thoughts on the growing popularity in it as well?

[Raymond Herrera] well I have been effecting the metal scene for years, as my drumming has been noted as being a big factor in how drums are approached in metal and popularity has been good to me over the years as more people have portrayed me in a more positive light.

Do you think Arkaea will have challenges from the press world because of your previous/current bands (Fear Factory and Threat Signal)?

[Raymond Herrera] I doing think this will arise challenges and in the contrary I would say that is going to help immensely since there is an installed base of fans for both bands.

Fear Factory guitar and drum work, Threat Signal vocal and bass work, who thought up the idea and what made you go the path you took?

[Raymond Herrera] christian is the motivator behind making the band happen and bringing together the people involved

Who did the artwork and title for the album, when you look on the final project, is there anything you wish you could have done differently?

[Raymond Herrera] the artwork was done by Gustavo Sazes, who christian had been communicating with and he did an incredible job and has done some great work in the past.

The name of the band Arkaea, is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?

[Raymond Herrera] christian and jon were working on vocals one day and came up with the name. the idea was come to come up with a name or word that didn’t mean anything, so something new that was our own.

Many of your songs are so hard and intense that I am sure they translate well into a live setting taking on a whole new life in front of a live audience. How does it make you feel when the emotion and power that you envisioned in the recording studio, come to life while playing in front of a crowd?

[Raymond Herrera] playing the songs live is a great way to get the reaction from people as opposed to the studio when it is more about your song performance. I feel that people will enjoy the music in a live setting because the music drives very hard.

Different groups have unique ways of writing their songs. How do you guys go about writing your music? Is it a collective effort or is it more the efforts of one particular member of the band?

[Raymond Herrera] the music usually starts with guitars and drums for us and then develops from there.

What are the upcoming plans for Arkaea?

[Raymond Herrera] we have a music video for locust launching next week and then we are looking to start touring throughout the summer in the next year.

Going back to the music business, what do you think of everyone downloading music, possibly even your music? Do you think it helps or hurts bands in the long run?

[Raymond Herrera] it definitely hurts, there is no doubt about that, but the few good points about it is that you get to reach people that would otherwise not buy your music but would at least hear it or become familiar with it through downloading.

How has MYSPACE and the internet impacted your band and do you think downloading helps or hinders the artists?

[Raymond Herrera] it has allowed fans to be closer to the band and more well informed with up to the minute updates if bands choose to do so. I don’t think it hinders, because you can put as little or as much information as you want or want the fans to know about.

What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage?

[Raymond Herrera] physical preparedness is the name of the game for me, so I have learned to be physically prepared.

What bands would you like to tour with and who has been your favorite to tour with this far? Any particular reason?

[Raymond Herrera] faith no more, because they are awe inspiring, nine inch nails, because they are a huge influence. I have toured with a lot of bands and I could easily name 100 bands for this, but I will keep it purposely short, slayer because they are legends, pantera one of the best live acts ever, cannibal corpse they are the true legends of death metal.

What is currently playing on your iPod or CD Player?

[Raymond Herrera] static-x, devildriver, u2, Morrissey, soil work.

Describe Arkaea in three words.

[Raymond Herrera] epic, heavy, melodic

If you had a chance to go back in time, where, what, and why?

[Raymond Herrera] I actually wouldn’t go back in time, but I would go forward in time to see how all things in technology have progressed and regressed.

How do you think the recession is affecting musicians like yourself? Is it at all?

[Raymond Herrera] it isn’t affecting me as much since I do have lot of other things that I do besides music and so I am still able to do music full time along with my other businesses. But it has effected a lot of people who are not as lucky that are maybe relying on music as much as lots of record labels and music related companies have had major budgets drops that result in hurting musicians and their bands etc..

This is for Raymond and Christian, do you have any response to not sticking with the “new” Fear Factory? How did Burton’s reaction strike you “Fear Factory’s like a business and I’m just reorganizing…We won’t talk about their exclusion.”

[Raymond Herrera] Burt’s comments struck us as laughable being that Burt and dino don’t have the right to call their new band fear factory, and we are actually in the middle of a lawsuit because of their actions. Christian and I are still in fear factory.

Assuming the comment “Christian and I are still in fear factory,” I would assume you are referring to just holding the name and that Fear Factory is still “broken up” or can we expect a re-union, obviously without Burt for FF?

[Raymond Herrera] We are not “broken up” there is nothing to break up, right now the issue is that dino and burt started a new band and they decided to call it fear factory, so the trademark is the issue at the moment. There are no plans for a reunion because there hasn’t been a break up

What lessons have you learned from this entire ordeal? Obviously their are good and bad times in a band that stretches 15+ years, but what do think truly sparked all the problems since 2002?

[Raymond Herrera] I don’t think there is a lesson to be learned atleast not from my end, this band original had problems because of burt and dino and now it seems like they are trying to put something together, but using the name fear factory to do it with. So that may be a better questions posed for burt and dino and not myself.

This is for Jon and Pat, how do you think Arkaea will affect your playing and overall abilities while still being in a fully functional, new and growing band with Threat Signal? Are their any co-tour plans?

[Pat] So far it’s made me a better player. My picking speed has increased a lot since playing with Christian and Raymond and made me more precise too. There’s lots of things they’ve shown us that we can use for life. So It’ll help us out in both bands and whatever music projects we do in the future. Plus they’ve been awesome guys and friends. That makes everything easier and a lot of fun too!

[Jon] There are no co-tour plans yet, but you never know!  Ive learned a lot working with Chirstian especially about pushing my vocals to the next level. Hes very consious of how my vocals work and where I can take them. I also brought some guitar riffs into Arkaea as well, so we really connected and worked well writing together. We all pushed our abilities to the max.

Every band has its musical influences. What are some of the other bands and artists that have greatly influenced you guys and your music?

[Raymond Herrera] I do have a lot of influences from years back when I first started writing music, but this record for me was more of just trying to put some great songs together using our existing styles and abilities.

All of that passion that you play with must be tough on you physically. How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour?

[Raymond Herrera] it is tough physically if I don’t prepare for it, so as long as we get some rehearsals in and get some cardio work at the gym, it’s all good.

Anything else you’d like to add?

[Raymond Herrera] we have a new music video being world premiered by mtv on June 20th. and then we expect to start touring through the summer and into next year. For more information and all information you can just go to Google and type in Arkaea.

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