2012. április 12., csütörtök

Rob Arnold & Andols Herrick - New roads

Let's start at the beginning. Last year Chimaira started to disband. Why?
Andols: A number of reasons were involved, and everyone had their own particular rationale for doing so. The music industry is tough these days, and after grinding it out for the better part of a decade, sometimes people just need to move on and pursue different things in life.

Is it possible to play on a tour with Chimaira as a guest or anything in the future?
I wouldn't say any such thing would never happen, but its safe to assume the answer is no. Chimaira has a great lineup right now, and Austin is a phenomenal drummer.

Andols why have you left the band again?
I was basically let go, I didn't anticipate not being in the band anymore at the time. Sometimes my personality or how I feel I work best can be mistaken for a lack of passion, but that isn't the case. Regardless, looking back over a year removed it seemed to be the best course of action for everyone.

New band, or concentration on personal life?
I started going back to school, pursuing session work, and teaching lessons. I've been fortunate to have the opportunity to record some really cool stuff, starting with I Will Break Thee from Orlando last January, through the Faceless Rapport project last October. The later project I consider to be some of my best drumming ever. I'm also currently recording some tracks for a Dubai-based band called Benevolent, and its pretty ridiculous! People are going to dig it for sure.

What kind of band you want?
Andols: I'm not sure that I necessarily want to be in a band full time anymore, but if I did the band would have to be both awesome and one that i can make a living doing it.

What about the project that you are making together?
Andols: The project with Rob I'm sure will be quite awesome! We've been playing together for literally half our lives, and the fans seem to like what we've done in the past. When I made mention of it in the first place, my twitter and facebook absolutely lit up with the people being excited about the idea!
Rob: We're in the early stages right now. We actually worked on a song today, and it was fast and brutal. First thing that comes to mind is that the tune reminded me of something like Tomb of the Mutilated meets Pass Out of Existence. But I don't think all of the songs will be that way. The album will be very dynamic in terms of style. We're just going to let it flow, and whatever happens, happens. Right now the plan is for the album to be completely instrumental, but that could always change. As I said, we're going to let it flow. I hope to have the album finished this year, and hopefully released this year as well.

Rob, Six feet under was your favourite band. Whats the feeling like, that you're in the band now?
Rob: Its kind of like the movie, "Rockstar". I was a 15 year old kid when I first heard SFU. I had just gotten into Cannibal a couple years earlier, and was a huge fan of Barnes. When I got my hands on Haunted, I thought, "holy shit... I had no idea Barnes's work could get any better!" Me and my friends would jam out to the cd, and marvel at the lyrics. And so now all these later, to have a band of my own whom toured with SFU, and then to have Barnes ask me to write him an album is just absolutely surreal. An opportunity one just never expects. 

How the new album recording is going?
Rob: The recording of Undead is complete. Tracked, mixed, and mastered. It will come out in May of this year. I am beyond proud of the material on this record. Some of my best work ever. The riffs are insane. And then of course there's everything else... The vocals are astonishingly awesome. Every song is a sing along. Talley murdered the drums, and everything is perfect. My two favorite albums that Barnes was a part of are The Bleeding, and Haunted. So I tried to go for a mix of those two albums while writing the tunes. I think I succeeded. But everyone has their own set of ears, and of course, their own opinions. 

Tell me about The Elite!
Rob: Current Chimaira drummer Austin D'Amond and I met a few years ago and clicked immediately. We knew we had to make music together. Our mutual friend TJ Frost was a bad-ass singer, and he and I had also discussed working together one day. So the three of us got together and did it! I brought in a friend named Mike Drury to lay down the bass lines. Mike had jammed with Andols and I in band called Sanctum before Chimaira. Anyone who hasn't yet checked out The Elite should do so now by downloading our WW3 EP from itunes or Amazon. We also plan to write, record, and release a new EP this year. Fingers crossed!

I think it must be an awesome feeling to see covers of your songs at the internet. Are there any interesting musicans who covered your songs?
Andols: One long time Chimaira fan from Los Angeles posted a video a few years back of his younger brother (probably 8 years old or so) doing a damn good job playing along to Destroy and Dominate. I thought that was pretty awesome!
Rob: Every musicians who takes a crack at covering some of our material is interesting. Its always awesome, whether the cover be good or bad, because you can always see the heart in people. I think that anyone who takes the time to learn someones music, film themselves performing it, and then post it up for the world to see, is special and deserves credit. Keep em' coming!

Can you play other instruments too?
Andols: I took piano and guitar lessons when I was younger, but am not good at either. I wish I had stuck with piano, because after drums it is easily my favorite instrument.
Rob: I play some bass and drums. Really, any guitarist can play some bass, but not always well. I've been working at it now for a couple years and am trying to obtain a better feel, and how to better respect the instrument. I learned a lot during the recording of Chimaira's Age Of Hell... on which I played bass on all but one song. Recording alongside Ben Schigel, we mapped out each bass line according to what the riff or song called for. Like after the guitars were recorded, we'd sit there with the bass, and I'd experiment with different bass lines over the same part. We'd record each take, decide what sounded best, and then I'd track the part for real. It was a cool experience, and certainly a great learning experience. I then took that knowledge with me when I went to track the bass for the new Six Feet Under record. And I think the bass playing turned out even better on that recording, partly due to my new found knowledge and experience. 
I've always loved playing drums. I started out playing drums in Sanctum, only because we couldn't find a drummer. But then we found Andols, and I switched back to guitar. And then after Sanctum, but before Chimaira, I played drums in a band called Common Thread. In Common Thread, The Elite's Mike Drury sang, and original Chimaira bassist Andrew Ermlick played bass. Andrew ended up leaving Common Thread to join Chimaira, and I later followed. 
One day down the road, I'd like to make a record that features me on every instrument... Dave Grohl style. But we'll have to wait and see if that ever transpires. 

Andols, what you think, what makes a drummer to be awesome?
Andols: Originality, creativity, and great chops. These apply to my favorite drummers: Gene Hoglan, Derek Roddy, Mike Portnoy, and Charlie Benante.

You should make a  lesson dvd!
Andols: I did actually, two of them. The publishing company Hal Leonard is releasing it, with an accompanying book, later this year. We are wrapping up the editorial process as i write this, so hopefully it will be available sooner than later!

Rob, you have a released guitar lesson DVD. It was so cool, and helped me a lot. 
Rob: Great! I'm glad you were able to enjoy it and learn something from it. I'm not sure if I'll ever release another instructional DVD. Only time will tell. But I do plan to do some online instructional stuff one day. So keep an eye out. 

Analog or digital? Modelling or pedals & amps?
Rob: I'd say digital, just because it's what I've grown into, but I certainly respect the tonal differences of both worlds. Nothing beats an amazing analog recording, but the means and funds necessary for a truly analog recording are hard to come by these days. And no matter how analog you try to go, there's always going to be some digital aspect of the process somewhere. So I guess no matter what, there's really no avoiding digital processing these days. In terms of modeling, pedals, and amps, I use a little of everything. And that's actually a beautiful thing... to be able to have an unlimited arsenal of guitar amps and processors available.
With my recordings, I usually start out with an amp modeled tone for scratch or DI tracks, and then I'll re-track or re-amp with a great tube amp through a great cabinet. What's my combo of choice you ask? Well of course its a Peavey 6505+ thru a Mesa 4X12. 

You have custom ESP guitar. Tell me about your instrument please.
Rob: All of my ESP guitars are fantastic. I have no interest in any other brand. Sure there are other companies that make great guitars, but ESP gives me everything I need in an instrument, and then some. The quality and playability are unmatched. The look and feel are pristine, and yeah, they're just perfect. My signature RA-600 's were made for me, and to my exact specifications. So basically I could not have a better guitar. But everyone likes something different, and that's what makes the whole world of guitars so cool. They're like cars... everyone can have a car that represents them as an individual. And for the right price, they can have it customized however their hearts desire. And then like both guitars and cars, its how you drive them that determines whether or not you'll stand out in the world. That is, if that's what you want. 

You're so underrated with Matt... but you're great guitarists and songwriters... what you think why is it possible?
Rob: Well thank you. I believe it might be this way because we love and choose to play super heavy music. Heavy music is pretty much an underground thing, and definitely an acquired taste. That being said, we're rarely featured on the radio, on tv, or in the spotlight. Therefore we'll never receive exposure like an Eric Clapton, or a Jimmy Page, or a John Mayer. I'm certainly not putting us in the same class as the guitarists I just mentioned, but I hope you get my point. 

You're an experienced musician... what you think about "music industry"? 
Andols: The music industry is in a tough spot. Obviously album sales have collapsed, as everything is about 3 clicks away from being found for free online. Also, there is a malaise when it comes to getting people to go to shows. Outside of a big festival, like Rockstar Mayhem here in the States, concert attendance seems to be way down. Those two things combined have hurt us and a lot of other people in the industry as well.
Rob: Tough question. Well I've always believed that great music will never go unnoticed. So... maybe there's a surplus of mediocre music out there? Maybe its because cd's aren't selling anymore? Trent Reznor had a great quote that said something like, "We (as musicians) are in the business of selling typewriters. And who's still using a typewriter?" 
If something is truly great, and the right people that know what to do with it hear it, then that product will sell. So if you're someone who's struggling to sell your product, maybe your product just isn't that great? Maybe you need to work harder to improve your product or your craft? Or again, maybe its just because cd's aren't selling anymore, and no one has figured out a way around that yet. Something will eventually come along to offset or supplement that, because music will never go away. But until then, its survival of the fittest. 

And a stupid question... why you love Jean-Claude Van Damme so much?:D
Andols: Because he is the greatest actor of my generation, and has precision spin kicks!
Rob: Well really it's Mark who has the Van Damm fever, but I'm a huge fan as well. I mean come on... Bloodsport? Kickboxer? Double Impact? Cyborg? Lionheart? Enough said.