Arkaea - 07/08/2009

ARKAEA is an industrial groove metal band that was formed in 2008 by Christian Olde Wolbers (Fear Factory)  and Raymond Herrera (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



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 together?


Raymond: 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?


Raymond: 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?


Raymond: We 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 musical signatures.


Did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them down or was it more of a careful composing thing?


Raymond: It 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?


Raymond: I believe Jon had lyrics written first and then the melodies came afterwards, but you may have to ask Jon about that directly.


How was your experience with your previous band helpful in your compositional skills? How does that affect the way you write now ?


Raymond: Because 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?


Raymond: Not from a philosophical standpoint, we mainly just want to write great songs and that is the most important thing, from our standpoint.


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?


Raymond: 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?


Raymond: 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?


Raymond: Well each song is a story in its own right, but there is no actual overall concept.

How did the recording process for ‘Years In The Darkness’ proceed? How much time did you spend in the studio?


Raymond: The recording process was great, we recorded the album in my recording studio which is called temple studios 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’?


Raymond: 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 music.


What is the utmost important ingredient for a song?


Raymond: The vocals are the most important thing.


Do you have any favourites on the album?


Raymond: Yes, “Years In The Darkness”, and “War Within” are my two favorites right now.


Have you received any feedback on the album yet?


Raymond: 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 matter?

Raymond: 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?


Raymond: 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?


Raymond: 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?


Raymond: 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?


Raymond: 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 over-saturated.


What can we expect from Arkaea in the near future, any touring plans?

Raymond: 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 album?


Raymond: 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?


Raymond: 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,

Eugene Straver




Jon Howard - Vocals (Threat Signal)

Christian Olde Wolbers - Guitar (Fear Factory)

Pat Kavanagh - Bass (Threat Signal)

Raymond Herrera - Drums (Fear Factory)



(2009) - Years In The Darkness